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 >___<

Monday, October 24, 2016

October - Third week of stitching

Another week gone so it's time for a stitching update :)

I made some more progress on Sampler 4 Saisons....steadily making my way down the tree trunk.

On Sweet Christmas, I was able to finish another motif, the domed Christmas pudding! I don't know about you, but all these desserts make me wish we had a decent bakery in town. Lol I have an insatiable sweet tooth :)

In other news, I finished stitching my Christmas exchange. I thought I could 'finish' it, but the supplies I bought aren't big enough. I'll have to stop by the craft store this weekend and see if I can find something bigger or to use in my Sizzix machine :)

I hope your October crafting is going well!!!

Until next time >___<

Sunday Baking - Harvest Loaves

Hi, everyone! My aunt bought me an adorable fall themed bundt pan from Nordicware.

Yesterday, I tried the recipe for harvest loaves that was on the back of the wrapping. They turned out great. A hint of sweetness and a little rum flavoring.

I love how easy the pan was to use and clean. I thought I'd have trouble getting the bundts to come out, but I used Pam spray with flour so no problems there :)

I like the small batch that this pan makes. It is perfect for making a dessert for my family and my aunt's family! And oddly enough, it is perfect for work as well as I have six coworkers in my department :)

I think I might make another batch of these little cakes this weekend, but I will use muscovado sugar and forgo the rum. It should be interesting to see how it will taste.

Hope you are enjoying the fall by making yummy treats too!

Until next time >___<

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 >___<