Sunday, December 25, 2016

Handmade Christmas 2016 - Crochet and Baking

Good morning! I hope you are enjoying the holiday today. I wanted to show what I made my friends and family for Christmas.

For my friends, Constance and Jim, I made a kitty doll for their baby girl, Arwen. I hope Arwen will like it when she gets old enough to play with it.

For Amanda, I made a short watermelon scarf. I found the pattern/video on YouTube and thought it would be a great way to brighten up a dreary winter day and light enough for weather in California. I love the added embellishment of black Pony beads to use as watermelon seeds.

For my uncle, I made orange brownies as part of his presents. They are his favorites.

In my mother's stash of containers, I found this cute reindeer plastic tub. Perfect for 'wrapping' his brownies.

For my friends, I made those kawaii cross stitch ornaments that I posted about last week :)

I hope you had fun crafting for friends and family too!

Until next time >___<

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A CA Christmas Package and a Crazy Kitten

Hi, everyone! As you know from my previous post, I received a package from Amanda on Thursday!! She sent me an assortment of goodies from her travels to Taiwan and Singapore along with some book memorabilia and candy. Not pictured is the fun Taiwanese keychain that she got me; it is currently on my craft bag :)

She was able to get a signed copy of Gail Carriger's novella, Poison or Protect along with a 'Be Polite' button from her Custard series which goes great with the cute Union Jack beanie.

She sent me a few Kit kats, a bag of yummy strawberry marshmallows, and Brazilian orange Pocky (she found it at her local Daiso!!!)

While in Singapore, she bought me the Starbucks 'You Are Here' ornament cup! I'll add it to the ones she has gotten me from Taiwan, England, and CA Disney. I'm convinced that my side of the country is devoid of these cups unless you are in New England or New York!

The Starbucks in Taiwan had these adorable bunny bowl/cup sets!!! I'm so glad she got them for me. Though I don't know whether I should actually use them or keep them as knick knacks. Decisions, decisions! (Don't judge me by my bookshelf full of Japanese themed books!)

While taking photos of my gifts, our kitten, Lily, decided to join me i.e. be nosy! Trying to take a photo of her is hard work. She was constantly trying to jump on me, claw me, or bite me. She isn't a mean cat, just a kitten who doesn't understand that she doesn't need to do all that to get my attention.


She finally settled down underneath the Christmas tree, but kept looking at me as if to say 'why do you get to play in the tree. You always yell at me if I get in the tree.' 

I'll be glad when Christmas is over. We have tree needles all over the place from Lily playing with them. We've had to take up all the ornaments, lights, and beads from the bottom branches because our adorable Lily can be an absolute kraken when she gets excited and rambunctious.

Ah, the joys of owning a kitten. Note to self: adopt an older cat with a peaceful disposition next time!!

Until next time >___<

Thursday, December 22, 2016

~ A Sweet Christmas Finish ~

Pattern: Sweet Christmas by Cuore e Batticuore
Fabric: 32ct lambswool by Wichelt-Permin
Threads: recommended DMC and B5200
Start/Finish: 9/18-12/22/2016

Hi, everyone! It's a happy dance day for three reasons.

1) I have tomorrow, the weekend, and Monday off for holidays!!!
2) I came home to see a package from Amanda waiting for me.
3) I finished my Sweet Christmas pattern!

Definitely worth a million happy dances if you ask me :)

I was hoping to get some more detail photos of my stitching, but our kitten, Lily, is too curious for her own good and she has claws. I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to my stitching. (O_o")

After stitching my first Cuore e Batticuore pattern, I am smitten with their designs. They are fun to stitch and I love their motifs! How can you go wrong with sweet desserts for Christmas?!

Until next time >___<

Friday, December 16, 2016

Kawaii Christmas Glass Ornaments 2016 - Friends Gifts

This year I was racking my brains trying to figure out what designs I wanted to stitch for my friends for our annual Christmas party. Looking through my stash of Christmas cross stitch magazines and patterns, I finally decided on Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Kawaii Winterland pattern, which is a collection of 25 small designs for Christmas.

I chose the yeti, Christmas pickle, snowman, and the hot chocolate cup to stitch up.

The great part about these designs are the fact that they are small enough to 'finish' on glass ornaments. I had bought some flat glass ornaments at Hobby Lobby.

After ironing the linen, I adhered fabric interfacing paper on the back of each stitched design, which helped to keep glue from ruining the stitching when I glued them to the glass ornaments. I used my Sizzix machine to cut a circle around each design.

I used cording around the edges of each design. For the inside of each ornament, I took Christmas wrapping ribbons, cut them into small pieces, and ran my scissors across them to make curls before putting them in the ornaments. I forgot to take a photo of the backs of the ornaments, but I used red, green, silver, and red/white striped ribbons.

To make sure that the ornament tops stayed on, I put a small bit of glue on the inside of the cap before putting them on the ornament.

I hope my friends like them! (I was tempted to keep them for myself!!!)

Until next time >___<

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sweet Christmas Progress ♡

Here is my progress on Sweet Christmas so far. I apologize for my less than stellar photograph; the lighting in our house is low.

I'm hoping I can work more on it this week and maybe get a better photograph of it :)

Until next time >____<

Monday, December 12, 2016

Literary Irony and a Kitten

Good morning, everyone! It's been a busy last couple of days with the usual buying and wrapping of gifts, 'finishing' of gifts, not to mention cross stitching and reading thrown into the mix.

While at the library on Saturday, I noticed a bit of librarian humor. Can you see the connection between those three books?

I immediately took a photo and sent it to my sister who brought up Roosevelt being in the same 'boat' as I only noticed Casanova and Bill Clinton since American history wasn't something I studied in depth in college.

Now, it is possible that the librarians weren't trying to be ironic with their book placement and were just trying to put as many new titles out on the table as possible. Personally, I'd like to think that a snarky librarian was giggling to themselves as he or she placed those books!

Onto to other news, I'm still working on Sweet Christmas. I'm at the top of the design stitching on the border. Hopefully by the end of the week, I'll be around the corner and on the right side of the design :)

As you know our kitty Bella passed away in the summer. For a while my sister and mom have been pestering me about getting another kitty. (As if I was the deciding factor! *snort*) So on Saturday afternoon, we went by Pet Smart and adopted a three month old kitten which we named Lily.

She is a short haired black kitten. On one hand she is cute, cuddly, and a purr-box, while on the other hand she is a terror of the high seas. We were so used to our kitty Bella who was 6 years old when we got her......we didn't take into account that a kitten would be completely different.

Since our household is almost always a calm environment, we are hoping it will influence Lily to be a calm kitty as she grows up.

If I ever get Lily to sit still for a minute, I'll be sure to take a photo of her for you!

This is the first day that Lily will be home alone..................please pray for our Christmas tree and other trinkets around the house!

Until next time ^___^

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday - Antique Brooch Finds!

Good evening everyone! My family and I went by the Mobile Rock and Gem show today. I came away with a few brooches to add to my collection.....okay, seven isn't a few, but you know what I mean, right?

I found several Edwardian filigree brooches. The trumpet flower brooch might be Czech made as it has a safety pin backing. (I need to research that a bit though.)

I wish the photo came out better, but my camera didn't pick up the details as the brooches are made in darker metals.

I found a lovely floral brooch with a trombone clasp. That sort of clasp dates anywhere between 1850s to the 1940s. I think perhaps the brooch is from the 1940s as the back looks new compared to the others.

The faux pearl brooch has a modern safety clasp. I thought it was an interesting piece. The main part is in a crescent moon shape from which the five 'arrows' of pearls hang.

Another modern brooch with a beautiful lady carrying fruit. Definitely a fun brooch to wear in the spring and summer, very cheery.

I lucked out on this one! It's a Kirks Folly brooch. You know my love of fairy tales. This brooch is from the Frog Prince. I am adding it to my Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel brooches! (^_^)

I was asked by Stephanie at Blue Star Stitcher about my thoughts on the Fantastic Beasts movie. I thought it was wonderful. They captured 1920s America well and did a great job in blending the wizarding world into it.

If you are a history buff, you'll like the darker elements of the film and how they tie into America's Puritan era. And if you love magical creatures, there is no shortage of them in the film.

I will say unlike the other HP films, Fantastic Beasts isn't necessarily for children. I'm not sure if children will relate to the characters as they are all adults or the themes which are also exclusively adult.

If you go and see it, let me know what you thought of who they chose to cast as Grindelwald. I thought it was a poor choice. England isn't lacking in actors and I'm not sure why they felt the role needed to go to a Hollywood actor. When I envision Grindelwald, it isn't who they cast especially after seeing who played the younger version of him in the HP films.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!

Until next time >___<

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sweet Christmas Progress

In stitching news, I worked on Sweet Christmas last week and by the end of Sunday I had finished the domed cake on the left and started the last cake.

Last night, I finished the last cake in the pattern. The decorative base took longer than anticipated because I kept stitching the wrong sections and had to frog and stitch again. I finally got it done! I blame tired eyes and a complicated section.

Today I plan on stitching the border around the cakes, lots of cookies, candy, and leaves. I would love to finish this design by the end of the year :)

Later today, my family and I are going to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie and have dinner! Can't wait to enter the world of HP again :)

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!!! Until next time >___<

Baking - Pecan Pie Bundt Cake and Pecan Cookies Version 2!

On Sunday I tried a recipe from the Bake From Scratch magazine, a pecan pie bundt cake. I was at Williams-Sonoma the weekend before last and found the bundt pan that the recipe called for, the elegant party 10 cup pan by Nordicware.

The cake came out well, though I had to wrestle it out of the pan! I don't think it's the fault of the pan. The recipe called for greasing the pan with vegetable shortening. I think next time I bake this recipe, I will use Pam with flour spray and see if it makes a difference. It should work as I had no trouble with my fall Nordicware pan when using it :)

I bought a few slices of the cake for my aunt's family to try. She loved it so much she requested it for her birthday next year. Lol

My mom had a piece a few moments ago and said the cake was still moist. I think it might be due to the brown sugar drizzle on the cake.

This morning I baked some pecan cookies. Do you remember me trying this recipe earlier? Well, the recipe says that if you let the dough sit overnight in the fridge, the taste of the dough takes on a more toffee taste.

I'm not saying it doesn't taste different. I should have baked a few yesterday to compare with today's bake. Lol Either way, they are yummy!!

Luckily I don't have to bake for Thanksgiving. My sister always makes pumpkin pies for the holiday. I can't wait!!! I look forward to them every year. If I could skip dinner and just eat the pie, I would......though it wouldn't help family relations if I polished off the entire pie. Lol

Until next time >___<

Friendship Package from CA ♡

Good morning everyone :) I received a fun package from my friend Amanda last week.

She got to attend San Diego Comic-Con this year so she included a bunch of freebies like reading samples from different publishing companies, buttons, and postcards.

Her friends Tom and Angel were recently in Japan and they brought back different flavors of Kit kats. I am waiting until I go back to work next week so I can share them with my coworkers. She sent wasabi, red bean, Hokkaido melon, sakura matcha, and sake flavors!!! (I already opened a pack of the sakura matcha since there were more than one.....delicious!!)

She sent me a Caron Cakes macaron skein of yarn. I couldn't find the color here at our local Michael's store. She was kind enough to buy one for me :)

At her local Daiso store, she found a cute pair of bunny tabi socks and an adorable kitty book page holder. You can't have too many socks especially when you are always cold when sitting and cross stitching :)

I can't wait to try the page holder. It will be perfect for when I'm baking.

Thanks for the awesome package!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Conde Charlotte House and Port City Craftsmen Show

Today my friends and I met up this morning to tour the Conde Charlotte House beside Fort Conde in downtown Mobile.

We were going to tour it earlier in the fall, but when we stopped by that time, it was closed for a wedding. Luckily we were able to tour it today.

Sadly, photography is not allowed, but it is a beautiful house built in 1850. Each room is decorated according to different styles of the countries that occupied Mobile during its history (except for the Spanish which is illustrated by the courtyard) and different time periods.

The lady who gave our tour was quite nice. We spoke more of the styles, furniture, antiques, etc. than anything else.

The back of house had a courtyard with fountains and a cistern. The family who lived in the house added on to the back of house with a kitchen and other rooms.

Overall, it was a great way to spend an hour especially if you like period houses. My only complaint would be the lack of history. Surely the owners of the house could be researched more in depth and added to the tour information.....but that's just my history degree coming out to grumble! LOL

Earlier this morning I stopped by the Port City Craftsmen Show at the Abba Temple. They hold it every year on the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. One of my favorite vendors was there, Mrs. Daphne Larsen. She is a wonderful lady in her 90s who has been hand painting porcelain for a number of years.

I usually buy something from her and this year I decided to buy one of her small Christmas brooches for my collection. I chose one of her candy cane designs as it is one of my favorite flavors during the holiday season.

There were a lot of great vendors there this year. Surprisingly, there was a knitting vendor there this time. I know that sounds weird, but most of the time it is always crochet vendors so it was a pleasant surprise to see a knitter.

I really wanted to take a photo of her booth and her creations, but I know sometimes vendors can be hesitant about it so I didn't take a photo.....though I regret it now.

She had some lovely sweaters and longer coats in various cable patterns along with scarfs, mittens, and hats. I wish I could have afforded one of the sweaters, but they were about $120, which really it a great deal considering you can spend that much on a catalog sweater that isn't handmade. Sadly, bills come things later. Isn't that always the way?

I hope you guys are enjoying your weekend! If I don't write later, I hope everyone in the US has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Until next time ^___^

Christmas Exchange from Dawn and Stephanie

I received my exchange from Dawn last Saturday. We weren't expecting any mail, but it came late so it had been sitting in the mailbox all day!

She stitched up a lovely ornament using a Prairie Schooler pattern called Snowy Night. I love that she used neutral colored twine for the edges. 

I can't wait until after Thanksgiving as I'll be definitely displaying it on our Christmas tree. Maybe it will bring us winter luck and we'll get snow (a Southern girl can hope, right?! lol).

Do you guys remember the beautiful autumn/Halloween exchange that I received last year from Stephanie? Well, she's the wonderful lady who organized this Christmas exchange for us since the HoE has been dormant all year.

I received a Christmas card in the mail this week from Stephanie with a fun surprise, a Lizzie Kate pattern and two skeins of Weeks Dye Works thread in Christmas colors!! I wasn't expecting anything so it was a great surprise.

Thank you, Stephanie, for organizing this exchange and fun 'extras'.

Thank you, Dawn, for the beautiful ornament :)

Until next time ^___^

HoE Christmas Exchange 2016

Pattern: Yuletide Memories by Blackwork Journey
Fabric: 28 ct Jobelan antique white linen by Wichelt
Threads: DMC 666 and 699 and Artiste yellow gold metallic
Notions: gold seed beads and sparkly cording
Start/Finish: 10/22-29/2016

I mailed out my Hooked on Exchanging Christmas ornament last Saturday and my partner, Dawn, received it on Monday.

I stitched up an ornament from the Just Cross Stitch 2016 Christmas issue. It is called Yuletide Memories by Blackwork Journey. I've always liked blackwork designs, but the last time I stitched one was a while ago from a booklet that a friend got me while she was in New Zealand.

When looking through the JCS magazine, this one and another (Mistletoe by Giulia Punti Antichi) caught my eye and I eventually chose Yuletide Memories.

I finished it as a hanging ornament using my trusty Sizzix machine and circle die cuts. It struggled a bit with cutting the chipboard (even though it was the thinnest chipboard I could find), but worked fine with cutting the backing fabric and even the quilt batting. 

Before sending off my exchange, I found some cute Christmas buttons and notepad at Michael's that I thought were perfect as 'extras' even though they weren't necessary......they were too cute to past up :)

I found the little drawstring bag at Target in their dollar section. It was the perfect size for my ornament.

Hopefully we will get to do some more exchanges next year. They are quite fun  and always a pleasure to make because you know the person on the other end will appreciate them as fellow cross stitchers/crafters.

Until next time ^____^

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sampler 4 Saisons finish ~ Happy Dance!

On Monday night, I finished stitching Sampler 4 Saisons. I ran out of thread in the winter quadrant and decided to not stitch the rest of the branches with the DMC 498 threads as they were too different in color compared to the rest of the threads.

As I told my friend Kristina, if it bugs me enough, I'll go back in and stitch the branches with the new color. Otherwise, it's a happy dance for now!

Have a good weekend!! Until next time >___<

Sweet Christmas Progress ♡

It's been a strange, strange week in America. What better way to avoid thinking about it than sitting down and doing some crafting.

Today after coming back from getting my car fixed (fingers crossed that it lasts), I put laundry in, packed up my Christmas exchange piece for the post office tomorrow, and settled down to finish the cherry house cake on Sweet Christmas.

Tonight I plan on going through my stash for some threads and fabric for Christmas stitching. Hopefully I have everything so I don't have to run everywhere tomorrow.

Until next time >___<

Monday, October 31, 2016

October Recap


1. Imprudence by Gail Carriger
2. Lord of the Darkwood by Lian Hearn
3. The Tengu's Game of Go by Lian Hearn
4. The Burglar Caught by a Skeleton by Jeremy Clay

Lots and lots of stitching!!!

Other crafts:
None....stitching overruled everything :)

As you can see, it's been an uneventful month in terms of anything, but stitching. But I can't complain as my WIPs are coming along nicely.

Work is hectic. I had a mini breakdown last week and started crying. I know I'm not the only woman who feels ashamed about crying at work. As an independent woman, you want to think you can be in control of yourself at all times. Enter the crying lag....professionalism down the drain!

I'm okay now. Work just seems to be extremely hectic lately. I'm seriously thinking of taking the entire Thanksgiving week as a vacation. Give myself a mental recharge for a little while.

Bright side, November means more stitching and amigurumi work. I need to finish my ornament exchange and work on Christmas gifts :)

Just got to remember the fun things that await me outside of work!!

Until next time >___<

Oakleigh House - Victorian Mourning

Kristina and I went to Oakleigh the Friday before last for their Mourning in Victorian period event. It focused on Corinne Irwin, one of the previous inhabitants of the house. She passed away from typhoid fever two weeks before her wedding in 1856.

The tour focused on the topic of mourning during the Victorian period. Mourning became an art form during the Victorian period in part due to Queen Victoria who continued to mourn her husband decades after his death. While funeral houses existed, the Victorian period saw the rise of funeral 'warehouses' where you could order mourning attire, wreaths, stationery, etc. 

Sunken Garden

Lion outside entrance of Oakleigh

Staircase to second story

Handmade lace doily

Downstairs they had a small exhibition of mourning attire, announcements, articles, jewelry, and a mourning wreath.

Mourning wreath made of human hair of two families

Mourning fan

Once we got upstairs we were greeted by one of the Oakleigh docents dressed up in mourning attire. She spoke of how a household would be during the mourning period. 

Doorbells would be muffled, the door of the house would be left ajar to let guests inside without disturbing the family. A wreath would be put on the door, mirrors would be covered, and portraits of the recently deceased and those who have already passed away were covered.

This was due to a superstition that if the deceased saw their portrait or looked in the mirror, they would become trapped and possess the mirror or portrait.

Interior of Corrine Irwin's bedroom

In the parlor, chairs were set out for the 'funeral' around a fabric covered coffin.

Our guide told us that during a funeral, guests were seated according to their relationship to the deceased. The family would be seated in a room adjacent to the parlor so guests would not witness their grief.

In the case of Corinne Irwin's fiance, he would have been in a separate room from the guests as well.

The mourning period would last up to two and half years for women depending on the relationship to the deceased. The period for men was extremely short, three months.

Keep in mind that this was mourning for the middle and upper classes. I would think the mourning period would be different for the lower class. Time and circumstances would not allow the family to grieve for long. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that!!)

After the ' funeral', we were allowed to wander the house. Kristina and I saw this lovely writing desk that was inlayed with mother of pearl and other shells. It belonged to Madame Le Vert (Octavia Walton Le Vert), a Mobile socialite and writer.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and an interesting way to view Oakleigh house. The docents were lovely and eager to talk about the house and other sites around Mobile.

Kristina and I might have to plan a trip to Oakleigh during December for their Christmas events!!

Until next time >___<

October - Last week of stitching

Hi, everyone! Are you giving out candy for Halloween, having a party, or relaxing with a bag of your favorite candy? We are being lazy and eating candy instead of giving it out :P

My last week of stitching sees a tree trunk taking form on my Sampler 4 Saisons pattern. Bad news, I'm running out of my DMC 498....I might have to start the new dye lot!!! Horrors!!

On Sweet Christmas, I didn't make as much progress, but I have a good excuse. I was working on my Christmas exchange ornament. I need to go by the craft store this weekend to look for cording for the ornament. As I told Amanda, with three craft stores in town I should be able to find what I'm looking for.

On Sunday morning I tried the harvest loaves again using muscovado sugar. While they turned out well, the taste wasn't much different from regular brown sugar. I think it might have to do with how much butter and eggs are in the recipe and the absent of any spices to compliment the muscovado sugar.

I think I'll try this again, but I'll switch gears and look for a pumpkin recipe!

The month of November will still be devoted to stitching, but I'll be working on amigurumi too.

Until next time >___<