Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Recap



1. Honor Among Thieves by James A. Corey
2. Out of the East by Lafcadio Hearn
3. Razor's Edge by Martha Wells
4. Glimpse of Unfamiliar Japan Volume 2 by Lafcadio Hearn
5. Exotics and Retrospectives by Lafcadio Hearn
6. Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore
7. Geomancer by Susan and Clay Griffith
8. The Lando Calrissian Adventures by L. Neil Smith

1. Whisper amigurumi
2. Super Mario Boo amigurumi

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sampler 4 Saisons Cross Stitch

Joining the Kitten Frolics cross stitch group has definitely helped me stay motivated about stitching on WIPs that are in my stash.

As my next WIP project, I pulled out my Sampler 4 Saisons by Anagram Diffusion. I hadn't stitched on it since the December of 2013. I was hoping to stitch on it more that month, but I ended up getting the flu that month and afterwards never got back to it. Shame on me, I know.....especially since two years have gone by.

So this is my progress this week after having weather days and the holiday off. Not bad progress for sure since last time I stopped at the second line of alphabet letters!!

I've always loved the color scheme on this pattern, DMC 498 and B5200. I think I will stitch on this design for the remainder of the year before moving on to other projects. No worries though! I plan on stitching on this pattern on Fridays after the New Year for the Kitten Frolics group.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!!

Until next time >___<

Sunday Baking - Strawberry Lemon Cake

Yesterday while at my local Target store, I ran across some yummy looking Duncan Hines Perfect Size cake mixes in their Valentine's section. I immediately picked up the strawberry lemon kiss flavor.

After taking all our Christmas decorations down and packing them up this morning, I decided to try baking the cake.

I preheated the oven to 275° and set my bunny timer. After 37 minutes, I was rewarded with a lovely fragrant strawberry cake.

I let it cool per the directions and added the lemon icing. I realized that when adding the icing I shouldn't have scraped the icing that had started to cool in the bowl as it started to clump up on the cake. So next time I'll know to pour the warm icing as much as possible and leave the leftover icing in the bowl so the cake will have a smoother look.

The cake was delicious! And the lemon icing paired well with the strawberry flavor of the cake.

I will definitely be buying a few more of these the next time I am at the store. They are perfect for small families to eat as desserts or even as a cute birthday cake!!!

Until next time >___<

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Stitching - Horn of Plenty Finish

Good morning! I joined Kitten Stitching and the Friday Frolics blog in October after seeing it on At Brigitte's Place blog. I have to say that I'm glad I found it as I was in some need of motivation to finish a project that I started in October of 2012.

I started off where I left off in October 2012.....

Pattern: Horn of Plenty by Sharon Pope in Just Cross Stitch October 2012 issue
Threads: recommended DMC
Fabric: 28 ct doubloon Cashel linen by Picture This Plus
Start/Finish: October 2012 - November 2015

And with the kind comments and motivation from all my fellow stitchers on Kitten Stitching's blog, I was able to finish the pattern.

I took my finished design to Hobby Lobby and got it framed as my Christmas gift for my aunt.

Thanks to all my fellow stitchers for helping stay motivated to finish this gift!!

Until next time ^___^

Package to Canada

I sent a small package to my friend Constance and her family. Since she is expecting, I included lots of chocolate and two packages of peppermint mug cake.

For her cross stitch gift, I included the mini Christmas pincushion that was decorated with a snowflake.

I hope you like your little package :)

Until next time ^____^

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Anime Christmas Party 2015

 My friends and I met up last night for our annual anime Christmas party, not that we watched anything last night. We sat around and talked for the most part since a lot of us haven't seen one another in a while because of work schedules, etc.

I received a lot of lovely gifts from my friends: lots of books (yay!), a Krispy Kreme donut candle, candy, magnetic bookmarks, a HB gift card, a cute Christmas pot holder, and a framed Sherlock poster!!!

I can't wait to read the books, especially the Fearless Ghost manga. Shambhala Publications has published Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan book as a graphic novel adaptation called The Fearless Ghost.

Ever since my sister had gotten me one of Lafcadio Hearn's books by Tuttle, I have read several of his books on 19th century Japan. I love the fact that his stories have been adapted in a new form by Sean Wilson and Michiru Morikawa.

Thank you for the lovely gifts!!!

Until next time ^____^

Christmas Package to CA

Here is my package to Amanda this year for Christmas. I had a gingerbread theme with the amigurumi, pincushion jar, and the Emily Fortune Cookie in gingerbread flavor.

I got her some candy, reindeer socks, stamps, coffee/cocoa stencils, an octopus shaped tea infuser, a Hanabi card game, and a Spectrum Noir marker holder.

I hope you liked your gifts :)

Until next time ^____^

Super Mario Boo Amigurumi

Pattern: Boo by WolfDreamer
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft White
Notions: black, red, and white felt
Start/Finish: 12/12-13/2015

For one of my coworkers for Christmas this year, I made a Super Mario Boo ghost amigurumi as his gift.

The pattern is quite easy. I noticed in the comments on the post for this pattern that people complained of the shape they got after stitching. So if you do stitch this pattern, remember to stuff it firmly and shape the amigurumi with your hands to get the round shape that you need for the ghost.

Until next time ^____^

Gingerbread Amigurumi

Pattern: Gingerbread amigurumi by Frosty Sheep
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft limelight, maize, red, and white
Hook: size C
Notions: 6mm safety eyes and white yarn
Start/Finish: 11/26-27/2015

I made this little gingerbread man amigurumi for my friend Amanda as part of her Christmas package this year

I took strands of yarn and glued them to the arms and legs as white frosting. Green yarn for gum drop buttons and red for a tiny candy bow.

Until next time ^___^

Mini Cross Stitch Christmas Pincushion Jars

I stitched up these mini Christmas designs in October and finished them up at the end of November.

I found the containers at Michael's in their dollar section during October. I knew I could make them into something fun as Christmas gifts.

I used metallic cording and ribbon to embellish the edges of the lid and around the cross stitch design on each container.

I opened one of the containers (in lower right of picture). All of them have a shiny silver finish in the inside.

I filled each jar with Hershey kisses for my friends as part of their Christmas gifts.

Until next time ^____^

Christmas Cards for Cross Stitch Friends :)

I wanted to send Christmas cards to the ladies I've stitched for or received gifts from the Hooked on Exchanging blog. I found some adorable buttons at Joann's Fabrics and added those to each card.

I hope everyone in the HoE group is having a wonderful holiday season :)

Until next time ^___^

Yokai Watch Whisper Amigurumi

Whisper Amigurumi
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft White
Hook: size H
Notions: black, dark pink, purple, and white felt
Start/Finish: 12/5-6/2015

I had a customer on Etsy who bought the Yokai Watch Jibunyan amigurumi from my shop and asked if I had any other amigurumi characters from the anime/game. I didn't have any made, but she said she would love to purchase a Yokai Watch Whisper amigurumi for her daughter.

So after fiddling a bit, I was able to stitch up a Whisper amigurumi. I think he came out great for a first try.

I really hope my customer loved the amigurumis for her daughter :)

Until next time ^____^

Several Monthly Recaps

I've been neglectful about keeping up with my monthly recaps. Yikes!!!

1. For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose
2. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
4. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
5. Ladies of the Field by Amanda Adams
6. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna

1. Jibunyan amigurumi
2. Bunny sundae amigurumi

1. Itazura No Kiss volume 3 by Kaoru Tada
2. Heart of the World by Henry Rider Haggard
3. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
4. The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper
5. Colorworld by Rachel Kelly
6. Peace of Evon by Dorothy Tinker

1. Neapolitan Ice Cream Girl by Soda Stitch

1. The Dragon Men by Steven Harpet
2. The Good Shufu by Tracy Slater
3. The Obelisk and the Englishman by Dorothy U. Seyler
4. The Shadow Revolution by Clay and Susan Griffith
5. The Undying Legion by Clay and Susan Griffith
6. The Conquering Dark by Clay and Susan Griffith
7. Jess by Henry Rider Haggard
8. Teleworld by Rachel Kelly

1. Green Tea Ice Cream Girl by Soda Stitch
2. Halloween Ornaments by JBW Designs
3. Strawberry Ice Cream Girl by Soda Stitch
4. Fingerless Crochet Gloves

1. His Precious Inheritance by Dorothy Clark
2. Lumaworld by Rachel Kelly

1. Halloween House by Les Grilles de Maryse and no sew cube finish
2. Halloween Sampler by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery
3. French Country Witch by JBW Designs and pinkeep finish
4. Squirrel biscornu by Frimousse
5. Ghost Coasters crochet

1. The Shadows by J.R. Ward
2. Imagined London by Anna Quindlen
3. Sisters of Blood and Sister by Kady Cross
4. Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge
6. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
7. Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
8. Mycroft Holmes by Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

1. Death Star by Michael Reeves and Steve Perry
2. Survivor's Quest by Timothy Zahn
3. Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn
4. Warheart by Terry Goodkind
5. Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
6. Japan by Burton Holmes
7. Choices of One by Timothy Zahn

1. Cross stitch mini jar pincushions

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Terry's Orange Chocolate Cookies

Good evening! One of the goodies that I look forward to in the holiday season is Terry's orange chocolate balls. I first tried them when I was in England and have been hooked ever since. I am grateful that my local Target sells them.

While enjoying some orange chocolate last weekend, I decided to see what sorts of recipes you could make with the chocolate and someone had a recipe for orange chocolate cookies.

This morning with the aid of my trusty bunny timer, I made several batches of orange chocolate cookies. I used the standard Toll House recipe, but used the orange chocolate instead of the chocolate chip morsels.

They were received with mixed reviews. My mom and I love them because we like orange chocolate. My sister said they were good, but she was hoping for normal chocolate chip cookies. She's never been a fan of odd chocolate flavors, she's more of a caramel and chocolate person.

So if you love orange chocolate, you'll love using them as a substitute for morsels in your usual chocolate chip cookie recipe. I bought two balls of the chocolate, roughly chopped them up, and added it to the recipe.

If you make this recipe, let me know what you think of it!!

Until next time >___<

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Package from Amanda

I received a Halloween package in the mail yesterday from Amanda. It included a lot of goodies and snacks from Daiso, handmade cards, Halloween socks, masking tape, and a set of Clover Amour crochet hooks.

I have added the Halloween wax paper and cupcake liners to my stash of holiday baking goods. I'll have to look out for nice recipes to use in them next year.

The package of almond cookies (orange bag in middle of picture) taste like the Danish cookies you buy in tins during the holidays, but they are light, crispy, and thin. It has taken all my willpower not to eat all of them. I think tomorrow I will try them with a cup of chai tea.

I was extremely surprised to see the set of Clover Amour crochet hooks in my package. I have been eyeing them in my local Joann's Fabrics store for a while, but never picked them up since I have a lot of hooks, aluminum ones and soft grip ones. I can't wait to try these hooks. I have a few of their tan colored soft grip hooks, but none of the Amour hooks. I think they will help with stopping wrist pain when I have to stitch with smaller hooks.

Amanda also included some exquisite cards for me to use when mailing out packages or when giving gifts to my friends.

Her cardmaking is always beautiful. She has surpassed herself this time by utilizing her origami skills to embellish her cards.

I have been trying to persuade her to sell cards in our Etsy shop. I love buying cards when sending gifts, etc. and I know if I saw these cards somewhere in town, I'd buy them.

So if you like them too, please let me know and perhaps we can persuade Amanda to start selling her beautiful cards online!!

Until next time >___<

Surprise Autumn Cross Stitch - from Lee of Stitchy Fish

I received a package from Lee of Stitchy Fish in the mail earlier this week. It turns out that she had accidentally sent her exchange project to me instead of her partner because she thought I was supposed to receive it since I sent her something. I offered to mail it to her exchange partner, but she insisted that I keep it and that she'd work on another pattern for her partner.

She had stitched up this adorable little bag and included some candy and a beaded scissor fob inside.

Thank you Lee for the 'surprise' accidental gift. It is lovely. I have the bag displayed by my Halloween tree.

I can't wait to see what you up for your partner. I'm sure it will equally as beautiful.

Until next time >___<

HoE Autumn Exchange - from Erin of Fairy Tales and French Knots

I received my HoE Autumn Exchange piece in the mail from Erin of Fairy Tales and French Knots. It is called Autumn is Here by Helga Mendl. I had actually stitched up this design years ago and made it into a pillow, but I have to say that Erin's finishing is way cuter.

Who would have thought to use a little wooden fence to finish a cross stitch pattern?!?!

I have it displayed on my Halloween tree right now.

Thank you Erin for such a beautiful piece of stitching!!

Until next time >___<

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Halloween Package to Canada

My Halloween package to Constance in Canada arrived today. As her cross stitch gift, I sent the JBW French Country Witch pinkeep. I had crocheted a maple leaf to decorate the packaging of the pinkeep like I did for my other Halloween packages this year.

I also sent a bunch of Halloween candy including a bag of M&M's fall flavor, pumpkin spice latte.

Canada doesn't have Target stores....apparently they failed in Canada, which is amusing because they do have Walmart stores. I think most American towns would take a Target over a Walmart......but what can I say, it's Canada!

Anywho, I sent the M&M bag because it is Target's exclusive flavor this year. I'm assuming they have the pecan pie flavor since it is Walmart's exclusive flavor :)

I hope you liked all the goodies, Constance :)

Until next time >___<

JBW French Country Witch Pinkeep

This is how I finished my JBW French Country Witch design.

I used spiderweb themed ribbon and white pearlized pins around the edges. On the back, I used two different types of fabric. While at Hobby Lobby, I found some beautiful spiderweb tulle, but wasn't sure how that was going to work because of the see through aspect.....then I remembered I could use a solid color underneath so I bought some black calico fabric. And viola!

Until next time >___<

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Halloween 2015 Package to Amanda

Pattern: Ghost Coasters by Red Heart Yarn
Yarn: Crafter's Secret alpine snow
Hook: Size H
Start/Finish: 9/26/2015

Pattern: Maple Leaf by Happy Berry
Yarn: Lion Brand Bonbon Celebrate orange
Hook: size C
Start/Finish: 10/6/2015

Good morning again! I had also sent off my Halloween package to Amanda on Saturday morning. I know it is a bit early, but I was sending out Constance's package as well and thought I'd take the opportunity to send Amanda's just in case I was busy later this month at work.

For her Halloween package, I sent her the Make It magazine with winter/Christmas projects, card making supplies (stickers, washi tape, and flat back buttons), two sets of DIY Japanese candy kits, two chocolate bars (one is Lindt's Sweet Popcorn bar......ugh.....possibly my favorite flavor of chocolate by Lindt's!!), a cupcake liner/pick set, two pairs of socks for Halloween and Thanksgiving, a set of crocheted ghost coasters, and a crocheted leaf that I made to decorate her packaging.

This year I wanted to crochet something different for Amanda's Halloween package and found a great pattern for ghost coasters on Ravelry via Red Heart Yarn. The best part of this pattern is the fact that it has a video tutorial that accompanies it on YouTube by The Crochet Crowd. The video is easy to follow and perfect for those of us who need visual instructions for crochet. As I'm not the best crocheter when it comes to normal crochet projects (i.e. not amigurumi), I was glad to see that these ghost coasters have a video tutorial.

In addition to the ghost coasters, I stitched up a small maple leaf using Happy Berry's pattern again, but this time instead of using regular worsted weight yarn, I broke open a pack of Lion Brand Bonbon yarn that Amanda had given me quite a while ago and used the sparkly orange color to make the maple leaf.

I hope you enjoyed your early Halloween package! I think a nice hot mug of hot chocolate would be perfect for those coasters :) (Assuming it's cool enough in CA already for hot chocolate!)

Until next time ^____^

HoE Autumn Exchange - to Lee of Stitchy Fish

Pattern: Autumn Biscornu freebie
Fabric: 32ct cream Belfast linen by Wichelt
Threads: DMC 310, 420, 801, 922, and 3051
Notions: Le Bouton 5/8" brown buttons
Start/Finish: 9/20-24/2015

Good morning everyone! I sent out my exchange piece for the HoE Autumn Exchange on Saturday. I was given Lee of Stitchy Fish as my stitching partner.

Looking online for cute autumn themed biscornus, I ran across a squirrel and acorn biscornu and knew I had to stitch it up. I had found some brown buttons to finish it with.

I wanted to 'dress' up the packaging of my biscornu and found a lovely crochet pattern for a maple leaf by Happy Berry. I used the leaf I crocheted and some orange/white baker's twine for the outside of my package.

I hope you liked your exchange piece, Lee!!

Until next time ^_____^

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Book Nook - Mobile, AL

Good afternoon. This morning I ran by the post office to send off my Halloween packages to Constance in Canada, Amanda in California, and then my HoE piece for our autumn exchange. Afterwards I spent some time at the library until I could drive over to the Book Nook on Spring Hill College's campus.

I rarely visit The Book Nook and come away with nothing. This morning I found some lovely additions to my collection.

I found a paperback version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Cherish Classic which was published in 1994. While I have read these stories before, I bought it to add to my collection of Doyle books because I love the cover art.

Keeping my eyes open for any sort of Japan related books, I came away with a book of haiku poems from 1962. The type of illustration on the front cover is repeated throughout the book.

In their older books section, I found a beautiful book from 1927 of travel stories throughout Japan, Korea, and Formosa by Burton Holmes. The book is illustrated with black and white photographs. For its age, the book is in great condition, especially the frontispiece.

They had several of Augusta Evans Wilson novels on the shelves so I picked up Beulah and Macaria. There were no publication dates on these novels, but from the handwritten notes on the inside covers, they date circa 1900-15.

If you've never visited the Book Nook, you really should. Their prices are fantastic and they have a great selections of books. You never know what treasures you'll find. The staff are always friendly and happy to help if you have any questions.

They are located on the bottom floor of the Burke Memorial Library on Spring Hill College campus.

Until next time ^____^

Thursday, October 1, 2015

HoE Halloween Exchange - to Rosa of Working with my Hands

Pattern: Halloween 2008 freebie by Les Grilles de Maryse
Fabric: 28 ct Jobelan Lambswool linen by Wichelt
Threads: recommended DMC
Notions: pumpkin fabric, orange fabric, 1 1/2 inch wire ribbon, and white pearlized pins
Start/Finish: 8/23-24/2015
Finished: as a no-sew cube on 9/12/2015

Hi, everyone! My HOE Halloween exchange project finally made it to its destination in Nova Scotia, Canada today.

I was quite worried for a while after I mailed it because after it got to Canada and cleared customs, the tracking number kept on insisting that it was on its way from Miami all over again (the original departure city in the US)!!! For a while I thought maybe the package failed at customs and was being sent back to me! I was so glad when this morning it said it had been delivered.

While searching for a cute Halloween design to stitch for my partner, Rosa of Working with my Hands, I found a lovely design by Les Grilles de Maryse.

I decided to finish it as a no-sew cube. I had help choosing the backing fabric. I had two types of fabrics in my stash and after asking for Amanda's advice, I went with the darker pumpkin fabric.

I used an orange fabric and mulitcolored ribbon for the side and top of the cube.

I had a lot of fun making this project and I hope my partner liked her exchange :)

Until next time >___<

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Honey Cookies

Good morning! I've been looking online for a baking recipe to use up some of the local honey I bought this summer. I ran across this recipe for honey cookies.

The only modifications I made to the recipe were the time and temperature. We live below sea level so I put the temperature down to 325° and instead of 8 minutes, I put them in for 10 minutes.

The recipe only yields 14 cookies since it calls for 2 tablespoon scoops of dough for each cookie. I will definitely keep this recipe for future use. The cookies are sweet, but not too sweet.

Until next time >___<

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Little Witch Stitching

Pattern: French Country Witch by JBW Designs
Fabric: 32ct cream Belfast linen by Wichelt
Threads: DMC 3371
Start/Finish: 9/18-20/2015

I got around to stitching the JBW pattern that bought while out in CA. I love the color of thread used. It's a black brown, which reminds me of dark chocolate.

I need to dig through my fabrics and see if I have anything that goes with the design to finish it up.

I've started on another cross stitch project, which I hope to have finished soon.

Is anyone else wishing for fall temperatures? I thought maybe we'd have a decent fall like last year, but Mother Nature has decided to be mischievous and give us highs in the 90s this week leading up to the Autumn Equinox.

Well, we will keep our fingers crossed that cool temperatures are on their way!

Until next time >___<

Pecan Pie M&M cookies

This morning I made some M&M cookies using their other fall flavor, pecan pie. While the cookies are good, I think I like the pumpkin spice latte flavored ones I made earlier this month.

Perhaps the pecan pie candies would taste better as a topping for brownies/blondies or maybe cupcakes. Hmmm......

Well, I'm off to finish some laundry before sitting down to cross stitch.

Until next time >___<

Saturday, September 19, 2015

HoE Halloween Exchange - from Blue Star Stitcher

This morning I had gotten a few autumn decorations and my Halloween tree out of storage. When I got home I found a lovely package in the mail from Stephanie of Blue Star Stitcher. She stamped the envelope with cute pumpkins and bats which matched the handwritten note inside.

She made a gorgeous hanging pillow using one of Prairie Schooler's patterns, Witching Hour. The fabric is hand-dyed (absolutely beautiful color!!) and she used over-dyed threads for the moon and stars.

I need a bigger Halloween tree to display it on!! Right now, I have it on display with all my other fall/Halloween cross stitch pillows.

Thank you so much, Stephanie!!! I love it!

Until next time >___<