Friday, September 30, 2011

Christmas stitching and cookies!

My sister and I made a trip to our local bookstore this week to browse the shelves. I came away with the latest issue of Britain magazine, BH&G's Christmas Cookies magazine and the Just Cross Stitch annual Christmas ornament magazine.

While waiting to start work yesterday morning I wrote out a list of ornaments that I hope to stitch this season and thought I'd take a picture of my list :)

I made the mistake of bringing the Christmas cookie magazine with me to work and one of my co-workers saw it and was all excited about what I might be baking in the future! LOL It looks like I might be baking some cookies for my department during December.

Until next time ^___^

September Recap

September Recap:

1. Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
2. Heartless by Gail Carriger
3. The Merchant of Venice: Manga Shakespeare by Faye Yong
4. The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters
5. The Good Witch of the West: The Secret Flower Garden by Noriko Ogiwara
6. Hansel and Gretel, Tale #15 by the Brothers Grimm
7. Book Girl and the Captive Fool by Mizuki Nomura
8. Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
9. With the Light, Vol. 8, Finale by Keiko Tobe

1. Wonderland Rabbit by Shiny Room Designs
2. Hansel and Gretel by Shiny Room Designs

1. Wonderland Rabbit biscornu

It hasn't been a productive month for stitching, but I must admit that I loved stitching those biscornu patterns by Shiny Room Designs.

On another note, I've started reading the massive penny dreadful, Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer. As some of you might know, I've been reading books off of my 'to read' shelf in order to make time to read Varney the Vampire. It is a delightful example of sensational literature in the mid-Victorian period.

As the book is definitely a 'monster' in terms of page size and font type, it might take me a while to read this novel, but I'm up to the challenge >___<

Don't worry about a bunch of blog posts on the novel, I don't want to overload you with possibly boring posts on Victorian literature! I'll probably post only a few times on the novel if I can help it O_o"

With that in mind, I think I'll have to establish some sort of schedule for myself in order to get some stitching done next month. Maybe I can stitch for an hour or two per day (perhaps before work and during lunch) and then spend the rest of the time reading....hmmm......much to think about!

I hope you are enjoying the start of fall where ever you are in the world.

Until next time ^____^

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A taste of fall

Good afternoon! With cupcakes and the start of the fall season on my mind, I decided to try a new cupcake recipe that I found in Taste of Home's Ultimate Halloween magazine. Pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting is the name of these cupcakes and it doesn't really do them justice; I think perhaps they should be called something like 'taste of fall' cupcakes or 'pumpkin spice delight' cupcakes. The recipe for these cupcakes was submitted to the magazine from a lady in Colorado and combines all the flavors of fall spices and pumpkin.

Freshly baked cupcakes without the frosting

My family and I tried the cupcakes without the frosting to begin with since you have to wait until they completely cool before adding the frosting to them. They are quite delicious without the frosting. They remind me of tiny pumpkin breads.

Cupcakes with frosting

I decided to get creative with the decorating using my sister's star tip. I only got so many of the cupcakes decorated with the star tip as my hand was about to fall off from the pain of holding the pastry bag and nervousness. (My aunt says that my hand shouldn't have hurt at all and that I was holding the pastry bag incorrectly. Thanks for the tip!) I decorated the rest of the cupcakes with the star tip in a swirl pattern or the normal way by coating the top of the cupcake with frosting using a knife :)

Side view of cupcakes with Halloween themed cupcake liners

I went by Target earlier this morning to get the necessary ingredients and spices. Sadly, they only had two types of cupcake liners in their Halloween section, the polka dots and the skull pattern. I'm not sure how they think that polka dots are Halloween or fall-themed, but they'll do.

I hope you are enjoying the start of fall with baking, stitching, etc. ^___^

Until next time ^___^

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Snow Queen

Definitely one of those fairy tale stories that every kid remembers from Hans Christian Andersen. It was first published in 1845 and has been in print ever since in various children's books, full length and annotated. It has also seen quite a few adaptations in film, literature, animation, theatre, musicals, and dance.

I hadn't realized that it had been made into a movie by the BBC in 2005 until I ran across a blog post on the film on one of the fairy tale blogs that I read. I decided to look for the movie at my local library and was happy to see that they had a copy of this film.

The film is directed by Julian Gibbs and stars the talents of Syndey White as Gerda, Juliet Stevenson as the mother, Pax Baldwin as Kai, and Patrick Stewart as the voice of the raven. The film features CG elements throughout, which takes a bit of getting used to when you think of how the BBC normally does their films. I think I appreciated the CG part of the film more after watching the extra 'making of' section of the DVD.

Also featured in the film are the musical score and songs composed and written by Paul K. Joyce. The dialogue in the film is kept to a minimum while the music and songs carry the characters and TV viewer on the journey to the Snow Queen's palace. The songs are performed by Syndey White and really add an 'unearthly' fairy tale feel to the film.

All in all, I quite enjoyed the film. It makes me want to re-read the Snow Queen story.

Until next time ^___^

Cupcake Love

Yesterday my coworker and I were headed back to the office after running some errands. We decided to stop by a bakery and pick up some goodies for the other coworkers in our dept.

I knew that there used to be a cookie shop on Hillcrest Rd so we went in search of that; unfortunately and fortunately we couldn’t find it (it might be closed), but we found Flour Girls Bakery instead.

It is a tiny little bakery with only bake case, but it was full of scrumptious brownies and cupcakes. The young lady that greeted us was quite friendly and told us what cupcakes were on display and which ones she recommended. We ended up trying the German chocolate cupcake, the Italian creme cupcake, and one of the brownies.

When we got back to work, I couldn't resist taking a photograph of our goodies!

We split everything into fourths so people could try a bite if they wanted. The advice that the cashier had given us was spot on; these desserts were absolutely heavenly.

I definitely recommend this little bakery if you have a craving for something sweet and delicious. You can’t beat the prices either; each cupcake is about $1.25, which is great price when you consider that some bakeries charge as much as $3 or $4 for a cupcake.

Be sure to ask about the specials of the day. The bakery has a few flavors that they serve everyday, but with an added bonus. On each day they add two new flavors, which makes it fun. Yesterday just happened to be German chocolate and Italian creme! I would love to stop by on the day they serve peanut butter cupcakes or even key lime cupcakes; it sounds yummy!

Until next time ^___^

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A finish and a thank you!

Hi, everyone! I finished up stitching the border on the Hansel and Gretel design this morning before work.

Design: Hansel and Gretel by Shiny Room Designs
Fabric: 28ct tea Monaco linen by Charles Craft
Threads: DMC
Start/Finish: 9/15-20/2011

I made a few changes to the design. I omitted the various sweets on the side with Hansel and Gretel and on the other side the corners were suppose to have ice cream cones in them. I didn't really think that the ice cream cones went with the fairy tale so I decided not to stitch them. So now I'm not too sure of what to put in the lonely corners. Maybe some small buttons....I'll have to think about it.

In other news, my ankle aches a little bit, but I had it in a compression wrap over the weekend so it feels a lot better. I'm lucky that it was a slight sprain and nothing worse than that.

A big thank you to everyone who posted about my stitching and my ankle mishap. I'm such a klutz.

Until next time ^____^

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hansel and Gretel

Design: Hansel and Gretel by Shiny Room Designs
Fabric: 28ct tea Monaco linen by Charles Craft
Threads: DMC
Start: 9/15/2011

I started stitching this design on Thursday after I finished reading my book by Elizabeth Peters. I stitched a bit yesterday morning and was hoping to stitch more after working on the yard later in the evening.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a mishap yesterday evening. I was using the riding mower to mow the front yard and was getting off the mower to open the backyard gate to start back there. As I was getting off the mower, I misstepped and slightly twisted my ankle. I can't remember the last time I had fallen...maybe in undergrad while working at an archaeology lab. During that time, I had tripped while carrying a large bucket of shell midden debris and fell down on a concrete floor and bruised my knees quite badly.

So I had misstepped off the mower, fell back on my bum and hands. Thank goodness for blue jeans which meant I came away with no scrapes from the gravel pavement. I clutched my foot for a bit before getting up and hobbling over to open the gate. I got back on the mower with the idea of mowing the backyard. I didn't get very far as the vibrations from the mower were making my ankle worse every time I turned the mower. I ended up back inside with a ice pack and a cushion. Luckily, it was only a slight sprain.

With all that in mind, whatever plans I had the weekend were interrupted and I spent this morning sitting in a chair stitching on this design and watching the Food Network. I got to watch an episode of The Pioneer Woman, which I hadn't been able to catch since it came out on TV and a great episode of the Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics on one of my favorite subjects: baking cookies.

I hope my sprain will be better by Monday when I have to go to work. I was joking with my family that I needed to special order a Lucius Malfoy cane from online to use on Monday >___<

Until next time ^___^

A little ranting: Target and the 2012 Olympics

Hi, everyone! I thought I'd rant a bit today in addition to another post later on. My sister and I always look forward to the Halloween holiday as it's one of our favorites. We love going to Target during the fall to see what cute things they have out for the holiday. Yet again this year we were sadly disappointed. It is another of what my sister and I term a 'recession year' for merchandise with the Halloween section full of large bags of candy and a small amount of other goodies for sale.

We both realize that people are saving their money and being frugal with their purchases. The essentials come first before spending hard earned cash on frivolous items. But I miss the opportunity to spend my money on Halloween decorations for the house, baking goodies, and small gifts for my annual gift package to friends. When the holidays come around I always set aside money to spend on goodies and candy. My letter to Target: please give us more items besides a hundred choices of bagged candy. Have faith in customers that money will be spent on other things besides candy and costumes for their kids, etc. Adults have fun during Halloween too. Sincerely a loyal and faithful Target shopper.

My other rant for the day is regarding the 2012 Olympics. As you know the Summer Olympics are being hosted in London next year. With this in mind, I went to their shop website earlier this week to see the various merchandise on sale in celebration of the event. I wrote out a list of items that I wanted to purchase with the idea of saving some money up to buy things and have them shipped to the U.S. (since British pounds are £1 = $2, which means the something that costs £10 = $20).

I went to the delivery section of the website to see how much I was looking to save up in order to have it shipped and couldn't find the U.S. listed. I went to the FAQ section and read this:

Q: I live in the USA and would like to buy from the London 2012 online shop.

A: As the United States Olympic Committee runs its own Olympic website we are unable to deliver to the USA but you can buy a great range of London 2012 merchandise from their online shop

I thought 'okay, I'll just go to the U.S. website and see what they have for sale' and with a click of my mouse off I went to see what was out there. I was utterly disappointed! I realize it's a bit early for merchandise and maybe it will get better, but there were only forty-eight items for sale for the 2012 Olympics; all the other merchandise on the website were items on clearance from previous Olympic years.

None of the cute London items are for sale and I have to wonder if the U.S. shop will only have a few of the things that are in the London shops with a majority of the merchandise being U.S. items in support of our country in the Games. I was hoping to buy a few bags, a plushie of the Wenlock mascot, and a couple of the coins and pins. Now I can't even do that with a majority of those items. Yes, eBay would be an option, but even they do not have the selection that is on the London website.

Now I had the thought that maybe I could get my friend in New Zealand to help me out, but shipping to New Zealand is £35 which equals $70. Ouch!! I was thinking of asking one of the UK bloggers that I read to help with my problem, but I don't know if anyone would help with this issue.

So another letter: Dear U.S. Olympics Committe, please let U.S. citizens purchase from other countries. Loyal fans of the Olympics love to purchase merchandise from the hosting country along with the U.S. during the Games. If you think it is a loss of profit, make some kind of deal with the hosting country's website where a portion of the shipping costs goes to the U.S. Olympics website or some sort of charity in exchange with the hosting country for engaging in commerce with U.S. citizens. Thank you for your time.

Enough ranting for the day!

Until next time ^___^

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yum ~

Is yum the right word to describe the weather this week? Absolutely. We are having a lovely cold front on the Gulf Coast (temps in the upper 50s in the mornings) and I am relishing every minute of it. Hopefully it decides to stay for a while and invites the fall season to follow in its footsteps.

The picture was taken at our local park in town in 2009. The South isn't known for fall folliage, but maple trees still show off their colors during the autumn.

Until next time ^____^

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wonderland Rabbit biscornu and BIG NEWS!

Hi, everyone! I was able to whip stitch my biscornu together this morning before work. I don't have many 'cute' buttons in my stash so I opted for lime green ones from a mixed bag of Halloween buttons.

Design: Wonderland Rabbit by Shiny Room Designs
Fabric: 28ct antique white Monaco linen by Charles Craft Co.
Threads: recommended DMC
Start/Finish: 9/3-5/2011
Finished as biscornu: 9/6/2011

Cute, huh? I'm not sure what I'll stitch next.

By the way, I have BIG NEWS!! While posting about my friend's birthday gifts, I noticed that it was my 500th post on my blog. How awesome is that? I would say awesome!

Most blogs would host a giveaway of some sort, but I'm just not one of those blogs. I love reading people's blogs for the sheer fun of it and don't need giveaways to 'read' them. Even though I'm not doing anything fun in celebration of 500 posts, I would like to thank all my readers.....I may only have a handful of readers, but I do appreciate all your comments :)

Until next time ^___^

B-day Gifts to CA

Hi, there! My friend Amanda's birthday was over the weekend. I've been buying things for her package all year long.

1) A Poof-Woof 'Sugar Plum fairy' doll - Ballet and fairies, a perfect combination!
2) Birthstone soap - It smells lovely and I thought my friend would love her own 'sapphire'!
3) A Curator's Game book - A neat book on how we look at art :)
4) Van Gogh 'Go Fish' cards - My friend collects playing cards whenever she travels. I thought this set was a cute idea. I would definitely play some 'Go Fish' with these cards :)
5) Shanghai cross stitch book - My friend had a French cross stitch book on Japanese designs on her Amazon Wishlist, but it would have taken up to a month to get it from Amazon France so I opted for this cross stitch book of Chinese designs.
6) Plum blossom and butterfly card set - My friend and I are avid letter writers so I thought this card set was perfect for her!

I found this book lovers' kit at my local bookstore. Isn't it gorgeous? I was so tempted to keep it for myself, but I resisted! It comes with a journal for recording books and other details, book plates, magnetic bookmarks, and book markers in a large decorated box!! *drool* I'll have to see what other designs the company has for their book lovers' kits!

Until next time ^____^

Monday, September 5, 2011

What you do when there is a tropical storm....

Lots of stitching and reading of course :) I finished reading Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters and started Heartless by Gail Carriger. In terms of stitching, I finished this design. I hope to make it into biscornu for my collection. It is another Korean pattern. I couldn't resist the bunnies and the Alice in Wonderland theme!

Design: Wonderland Rabbit by Shiny Room Designs
Fabric: 28ct antique white Monaco linen by Charles Craft Co.
Threads: recommended DMC
Start/Finish: 9/3-5/2011

Until next time ^____^