Monday, October 17, 2016

October - Second week of stitching

Good evening, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and a good start to the work week. Here is my post about my second week of stitching :)

On Sampler 4 Saisons, I was able to finish the second page of the middle section so now I'm down to two more patterns. I'll happy dance to that since the pattern has a total of 8 pages!!

This week I'll be on the bottom of the tree, sparse branches (compared to the amount in the rest of the tree), and falling leaves. I would love to finish this pattern by the end of the month, but we'll see how far I get.

On Sweet Christmas, I finished the second motif which was several cute little cakes and started the white border of the dome covered cake beside the strawberry cake. I should have taken a picture before I started today, but I already had my linen secured in a Q-snap and the linen's hard to iron after being in the Q-snap for a while ;)

Today I stitched a little bit on the inside of the dome. I thought I would get more done, but I got a strange case of the sneezes at work, which always makes me tired. Why do allergies make you tired? My sister joked that maybe it was because my head wasn't getting enough oxygen from my running nose. Thanks, sis. At least, I know I'm amusing to someone when I start sneezing all over the place!

I hope by Wednesday, I'll be able to start stitching for my Christmas exchange. I have a pattern picked out and over the weekend, I went and got the linen, threads, beads, and the finishing items I needed. I'm hoping that once I finish the pattern, it will work on the wood circles I got to finish the item! (fingers crossed!!!)

Until next time ^____^

Monday, October 10, 2016

October - First week of stitching

So my plan for October is cross stitching and I started on the 1st and have been rotating between Sampler 4 Saisons and Sweet Christmas. Here's my progress after one week! 

My stitching on the Sampler 4 Saisons is coming along quite nicely. It helps that it is a softer linen so that my tapestry needle goes through easily.

On the Sweet Christmas pattern, I have moved down below the strawberry cake motif and started working on the next motif which is a cute assortment of mini cakes.

It takes me more time to stitch on this linen despite it being the same count as the Sampler 4 Saisons linen due to the texture of the linen.

In other stitching news, I have joined Stephanie at bluestarstitcher and two other ladies in a Christmas cross stitch exchange. Hooked on Exchanging has been slack all year as I'm sure everyone is busy with crafting and life in general. I was so glad that Stephanie posted about doing an exchange.

I went by Barnes and Noble yesterday and found Just Cross Stitch's Christmas ornament issue (about time I found it)! I'll see if anything catches my eye for an exchange otherwise I'll pull out my old issues of various Christmas cross stitch magazines and 'browse' for ideas.

Until next time >___<

Autumn and Halloween Packages!

Good evening! I sent off my Halloween package to my friend Amanda quite early this year as I included some crafting items I thought she might like to use in her cardmaking, etc.

I found some adorable stamp/die cut sets at Michael's, glittery paper tape from Target and you know I had to throw in some sort of sweet so I sent some Butterfingers and Peeps. Of course, the chocolate melted in the CA heat, I have a feeling the Peeps probably made it through just fine....which is spooky!!

My homemade item for Amanda's package was a Halloween themed banner that I crocheted using a pattern I found on Red Heart's website. I finished crocheting all the pumpkins, etc. while watching the Olympics and finished adding the eyes, mouths and attaching everything together in September.

Amanda sent me a cute picture of the Halloween banner displayed on her staircase railing. Lol If I knew she was going to display it there, I would have made it longer :)

On Friday I received a mid-autumn festival package from Amanda. She sent me a signed copy of Imprudence by Gail Carriger, a cute kitty card, and a box full of goodies!!!

(drool O_o") Lots and lots of various red bean cakes and pineapple cakes, chocolate, and specialty Kit Kats!!! 

My favorite so far are the Harrod's tea flavored mooncakes that Amanda's aunt had gotten from the Harrod's location in Taiwan. They are flavored with earl grey tea! Absolutely delicious. For once I'm glad there are only two in my package because if I had more, I'd eat them all day.

The other favorite is the red bean with walnut mooncake (in the lower left of box). The pairing of red bean and walnut is yummy. And I love the crust on the pastry. It reminds me of Japanese red bean cakes which can have a pancake like texture :)

My sister and I tried the Shinshu Apple Kit kat (I want a bag of those!!!) and the other limited edition flavor, wasabi. Lol We didn't know it was wasabi, it tasted more like a pepper or grass than wasabi. 

As I know I can't eat all of these mooncakes by myself, I plan on taking them to work to share with the coworkers in my department. My coworker Jeff loves trying Oriental foods and sweets and is a willing guinea pig when I bring things in to try. You can't go wrong with sweets!!

Thanks for the fantastic box of goodies and the book (adding it to my collection)!!!

Until next time >___<

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Recap


1. The Wandering Ghost: The Odyssey of Lafcadio Hearn by Jonathan Cott
2. Unbeaten Tracks of Japan by Isabella L. Bird

1. Pikachu amigurumi
2. Bulbasaur amigurumi
3. Eevee amigurumi
4. Nine tail fox amigurumi
5. Squirtle amigurumi
6. Flareon amigurumi
7. Holiday crafting

1. Frogged Sampler 4 Saisons (boo!!!!)
2. Started Sweet Christmas by Cuore e Batticuore

Hi, everyone! I hope you had a great September. It seems like the year is flying by with October starting tomorrow.

I spent the month crocheting quite a bit on amigurumi for next year's convention and holiday gifts.

Reading was mostly spent in the world of 19th century America and Japan with Lafcadio Hearn and Isabella Bird.

I have had Isabella Bird's Unbeaten Tracks of Japan on my Kindle for quite a while and finally got around to reading it last week. She traveled from Yokohama to Yezo (what now is called Hokkaido), an area of Japan that wasn't well known at the time. Her observations on the Ainu people is quite interesting from a historical and anthropological standpoint.

On the stitching front, I had a frustrating time frogging my Sampler 4 Saisons pattern, but I made it and started to stitch over in the areas I had to frog. At least it taught me a valuable lesson: buy plenty of thread when you start a project because you never know if the dye lot will change.

Up side, I started Sweet Christmas by Cuore e Batticuore, which I am loving so far despite the coarse linen I am working on.

My goals for October are purely cross stitch related. I would like to spend the entire month on my stitching. No crochet, just cross stitch.

I should be getting the fabric and threads I ordered for the Potions pattern in the mail soon. I would like to add it to my rotation of cross stitch with Sampler 4 Saisons and Sweet Christmas.

It should be interesting to see how far I can get in my stitching with an entire month. to consult a calender and figure out a rotation plan :)

Until next time >___<

P.S. The fall weather has finally made it to AL this morning with lows in the 50s/highs in the 80s. I hope it continues to progress into fall. It's my favorite time of year next to spring. I could really skip summer and winter altogether :)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lafcadio Hearn - 112 years of captivation

Do you ever feel bereft after reading a book? You come to end and think, ‘Surely, there’s more, right? It can’t end here.’ For me, Lafcadio Hearn is one of those amazing authors who has the power to hold you captive until the end.  With each of Lafcadio Hearn’s books that I read, I am spellbound.

Born in 1850 to a Greek mother and Irish father, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn would continuously seek his place in the world throughout his life. He came to America in 1869 after he was shipped off from England by a distant cousin who did not want the responsibility of caring for Hearn, who was nineteen at the time.

Cincinnati, Ohio would be his home for nearly a decade. There he made a name for himself as a reporter for the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer with articles ranging from your normal literary critics and city news to lurid accounts of Victorian murders. Despite his fame as a reporter, he was fired from the Daily Enquirer newspaper due to his illegal marriage to an African American woman named Alethea "Mattie" Foley. She worked at the boarding house where he was staying at the time. Ever interested in learning about new people and cultures, Lafcadio would often frequent the kitchen where Mattie worked in order to hear her life stories. They were married in 1874. His marriage suffered by the actions of both Hearn and Mattie and despite trying to reconcile their differences, they ended up divorcing in 1877.  

Near the end of 1877, Lafcadio Hearn decided he needed a change of pace and moved to New Orleans. He worked various odd jobs trying to scrape together enough money before landing a job as a reporter again. After a decade in New Orleans, Lafcadio became once again disenchanted.

Luckily, he was given the opportunity to go the West Indies as a special correspondent for Harper’s Magazine. He would spend two years there, writing articles and publishing a book about life in that area. By the end of two years, realizing that he needed to make money and elevate his art, he left Martinique for New York.

Having always been fascinated by the Orient, Lafcadio pitched an idea of writing a travel book about Japan to Harper and Brothers. They agreed to publish a book, but gave him no contract or advance, but Lafcadio would not be deterred. He wrote several articles for Harper’s Magazine in order to finance his trip.

By March 8, 1890, Lafcadio had set off for a new adventure in Japan, in what he called ‘Fairyland’. He would spend the rest of his life in Japan. He married a Japanese woman, Setsu Koizumi, and had four children. He even became a Japanese citizen and changed his name to Yakumo Koizumi.

Years before in New Orleans, he had written to a friend, Henry Krehbiel that he felt out of place in the world. ‘I ought never to have been in this century, I think sometimes, because I live forever in dreams of other centuries and other faiths and other ethics, - dreams rudely broken by the sound of cursing in the street below.’

I think perhaps Lafcadio found his place in the world when he landed in Yokohama on April 12, 1890. A world where spirits, legends, and myths still roamed despite the advancements of modernity.

During his years in Japan, Lafcadio would write articles for various newspapers and publish several books on Japanese travel and life. He would become a teacher in the city of Matsue before moving with his increasing family to Tokyo. He was offered a job as an English professor at the Imperial University in Tokyo and as a lecturer for Tokyo and Waseda universities.

Lafcadio passed away on September 26, 1904 from heart failure. He left behind his wife and four children and his wife’s family. After his death, the influence of his books continued to captivate the western world. Friends within the literary world would publish books on his life and their interaction with him. Elizabeth Bisland’s The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn and Milton Bronner’s Letters from the Raven are two such examples.

112 years later, Hearn still manages to captivate his audience describing not only Japan, but America and the West Indies at the end of the nineteenth century.

From one fellow lover of Japan to another, thank you for keeping the world of old Japan alive and well and continuing to inspire us in the twentieth-first century.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sweet Christmas stitching progress

After doing some baking this morning, I pulled out Sweet Christmas by Cuore e Batticuore. I was planning on doing a rotation with my Sampler 4 Saisons pattern, but I ended up stitching all day on Sweet Christmas.

I blame my stitching needle. I bought some size 28 tapestry needles earlier. I forgot how tiny they are.....I am so used to using size 24 or 26 because I normally can't find size 28 in the stores.

Maybe I should switch back to 24 or 26?! It seems like I stitch faster with those sizes.

Do they make longer needles in the 28 size or are they always that tiny? Hmm...

I am loving the dessert I am stitching on, a strawberry cake! It's an adorable motif so far :)

Hopefully next Sunday, I can work on a rotation and not just this pattern O_o"

Have a great week, everyone!

Until next time >___<

Sunday Baking - Boo-tterscotch and Chocolate Chip Blondies

What do you do when you have a bag of overpowering M&Ms? Make blondies, of course!

I picked up M&Ms' new fall flavor, boo-tterscotch, last month, but after tasting a few, I wasn't sure what to do with them.

Surfing the web for a good recipe using them, I ran across a recipe that was based off of this one for cinnamon toffee blondies that I thought would be a great base for my M&Ms.

I used a whole bag of boo-tterscotch M&Ms and about half of a bag of leftover semi-sweet morsels.

The blondies came out dense, moist, and full of flavor. I love the combination of the butterscotch, cinnamon, and chocolate! Delicious.

In addition to using the M&Ms and the morsels, the only other change I made to the recipe was an extra teaspoon of cinnamon. My goal was to mask the butterscotch somewhat since the M&Ms packed a punch.

Overall, absolutely delicious and perfect for the fall season :)

I think I might have to try the original recipe that I used as my basis for these blondies. It sounds yummy :)

Until next time >___<

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday Antiquing

Hi! My mom, sister, and I went to Pensacola today for an antique show that was being held at the fairgrounds. 

There was so much to see! Old furniture, Civil War items, books, glass, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry.

One of booths had this gorgeous chatelaine for sale. My sister and I were admiring it and the dealer said she had the price at a thousand, but would take $700.

Sorry, I'll never have that type of money to shell out on my salary. But I will admit it was beautiful.

I came across a curious collection of ceramic bunnies so you know I'd stop and take a picture of them.

My favorite seller was selling her brooches at the show! I ended up buying a few for my collection and to wear to work.

The two brooches on the top row date to the Edwardian period. They have the older 'C' clasp on the back with a round hinge.

My sister and I came across this lovely modern zodiac brooch. It is the symbol for Capricorn. It isn't my sign, but it was too pretty and just plain fun so I couldn't not buy it.

My mom is a Capricorn so I told her she could wear it to work if she wanted :) I think it would be perfect for Mardi Grad as it has that sort of feel to it.

I wish I could find a lovely Gemini brooch! That would be neat >__<

Until next time >___ <

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Stitching - WIP and a New Start

Good evening, everyone. I spent the weekend crafting and stitching. I was hoping to go antiquing, but our weather has been rainy and dreary, definitely not fun conditions for antique shopping.

Instead I stopped by my local craft shops for some yarn, Polyfil, linen, and threads.

Yesterday I finished crocheting some gifts for the holidays and today I stitched on two patterns. I usually try not to start a new project while I have a WIP going, especially when it is another 'large' pattern, but I actually enjoyed the change in my stitching routine.

This morning I stitched on Sampler 4 Saisons. Here is where I left off after 'frogging' and stitching last time.

(Sidenote: Did I tell you what I noticed when I was 'frogging'? Some of white 'leaves' weren't correct?! I had two different dye lots of B5200?!?! Luckily it wasn't a lot of stitching so I was able to 'frog' it without much trouble. Who would have thought I would have two DMC colors that weren't matching?!)

Here was my progress by lunch time. Not bad for a couple of hours of stitching. Last weekend, I went to Michael's and Joann's to check my DMC 498 thread. Sadly, nothing matched it so my plan is to stitch as much as possible with my remaining three skeins and then finish the rest of the tree with new skeins.

This is my progress after lunch and this evening on Sweet Christmas by Cuore e Batticuore. The only fabric I could find in a big enough size was Wichelt-Permin in 32ct lambswool. Some of you know that I HATE this linen. It is stiff and coarse and I swore I would never use it again, but beggars can't be choosers when you live in town nowhere near a cross stitch store.

Don't worry though, I plan on sticking with this project :)

Until next time >___<

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sampler 4 Saisons disaster!

Is it polite to curse on blog posts? Because I feel like it right now. So I got out my Sampler 4 Saisons pattern, removed it from the Q-snaps, and ironed it so I could move to a new section.

And guess what?

Even though all the skeins I had were DMC 498, they are different colors........which you can tell from the tree branch on the right and the section of branches at the lower left....

Part of me wants to let loose an unholy scream of cross stitcher frustration and the other part is so tempted to throw this bloody project in my closet where it will stay for decades!!!! the rational part me says go to Hobby Lobby with a piece of the correct color of 498 and see if it matches. If it is darker and matches the newer tree section....I'll just have to suck it up and frog 90% of the tree. I will pray to the craft gods that the thread matches the correct i.e. lighter color.

So much for a nice lazy day of stitching.......

Until next time :**(