Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Stitching

Hi y'all!

I had adventures in stitching this weekend.  Or maybe it should be adventures in frogging to be more truthful.  I was just finishing up the gold tree trunks when I realized that I had been using light gold, and not light gold brown.

Arrrrrrrgh!  So out it all had to come.

Much better.  And restitch with the correct color, and a bit of progress for the weekend.

Look! Look! I got to move my hoop down! Yaaaaaaaaaaay!  I'll soon get to move to the lower half of the pattern. Yaaaaaaaaay!

I got some good work in on the first of the three Wisemen.  He's actually listed as Wiseman 3 on the pattern, but I decided to start with him. There are tons of beads on him so far.  Too bad they don't show up very well in the picture.

I'm moving along on Crabby All Year now that I finished up the Candy Corn witches.  I might be able to complete one square a week if I'm good and stay off of the computer more than I have.  I'll take a picture later this week for an update.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wee Bit 'o Me Wednesday

1) Do you always wear your seatbelt in the car?
Yes.  Unless I’ve just picked up the mail and am rolling the 100 or so more feet down the road to my parking spot.

2) Do you crack your knuckles?
Nope.  Just the sound of it ick’s me out.

3) What is your favorite flavor of gum?
Wintergreen, although I’m loving the new desert line of flavors from Extra.

4) What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own?
A small (.25 carat) diamond ring I bought for my 21st birthday when I was in Amsterdam many years ago.

5) Who is your best friend?
Oooh golly.  I have three of them, and I am so not going to name names!

6) What is your favorite smell?
I can’t choose just one.  There are so many things that I like the smell of.  From lilac and roses to bacon cooking.

7) What is your favorite lunch meat?
Smoked turkey, but I’m not really a lunch meat sort of person.

8) Do you still have your tonsils?
Yup.  Nothing exciting there.

9) Do you untie your shoes before you take them off?
Yes.  The shoes won’t come off otherwise.

10) What color is your car?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All done with the Witches!

And here they are!
Eventually I'll have to sew them up into pillows/ornaments to give to my Sis-in-laws for Christmas.  I'm very excited to have a finish... Three finishes that is! Woot! Woot!  So that moves Crabby All Year up on the rotation.  Maybe if I work really hard at it I can get one block done a week.

I made another meal of the mac and cheese.  Thanks to Astrid's suggestion I improved tonights serving of the stuff with some left over seasoned ground beef for the nachos I made a few weeks ago.  That made it into spicy mac and cheese.  Pretty good. And while I was digging around in my fridge I found something wonderful.  Guess what I found!  Bacon! Tomorrow I'm tossing in some bacon.  Bacon makes everything better!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A random kitchen experiment

No too long ago I read a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese done in the slow cooker.  It looked reasonable, easy, and the reviews were good, so I printed it up and added it to my pile of things to try.  Last week I gathered up the ingredients and cooked it up on Sunday evening while I was having adventures with the sewing machine. (See yesterdays post.)

Anyway, when complete the Mac and Cheese was thick, but not terribly creamy.  It was way too oily over all, and the cheeses didn't melt so much as decompose into grainy bits.  The taste was fine, but I'm really a textural eater so the grainy cheese is really a put off.  After last nights dinner, I figure I still have five or six meals left of the stuff and heaven knows I can't throw food away.

Tonight as I was staring in my fridge, pondering what to do with the remaining Mac and Cheese, I spotted a small tub of pulled pork.  I didn't make it.  It'd be cool if I did, and one day maybe I'll try... But this was just a tub of Lloyd's pulled pork that I'd picked up at the store a few weeks ago in a moment of weakness.  "Hmmmm..." I thought "Stirring in the little port that remained into a portion of the mac and cheese certainly couldn't make it much worse."  And so I did just that.

The mac and cheese concoction had set up to a solid state in the fridge.  It took about a minute and a half in the microwave to get it warm enough so that I could mix in the pulled pork.  It then took another minute and a half to bring everything up to temperature.  The new combo did cut down on the graininess of the cheese, but over all I think I like my pulled pork on a bun with a slice of cheese instead of mixed in with noodles and cheese.  Lesson learned.

Now... What to do with the remaining mac and cheese?  Do you mix anything into yours?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Stitching

I attacked Christmas Eve Fun this weekend and I feel like I got a lot of it done.  Next weekend should get me down into the detail and lots of x's again instead of lots of /'s that I've been doing.

I finished up the sheep for the freestanding nativity.  I started in on one of the wise men, but only got half a dozen stitches in him, so no picture.

A while ago, last summer or so, I laid out the squares for a twin size quilt.  I then got side tracked and forgot about it.  Well, I discovered it again and worked a little bit on it this weekend.  I was going great guns until I broke the needle on my sewing machine.  I'll have to go in and get a packet of needles Monday sometime (and then call Mom and ask how to actually replace the needle.)  Here's how far I got sewing things together.

And for fun, here's the pin that broke the needle.  I can't say I've seen anything like this before.  Usually the pin just rolls a bit and becomes a little bent.  Nothing like this, though! (I can't seem to get it any larger with out it becoming too pixelated.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wee Bit 'o Me Wednesday

Here are the questions for this week.  Come play along!

1) What is your favorite breakfast food?
Pie. A slice of hot pecan pie with some vanilla ice cream.  It’s the breakfast of champions.

2) How many pairs of shoes do you currently own?
Oooh...  I think I have 20 or so pairs.  I’ll have to go count later today and report back.  It sounds like a lot, but I only buy two or three new pair a year, and I haven’t bought any new shoes over the past year or so.

3) City or country?
I’m a city girl all the way.  I don’t know what I’d do without a Target store nearby.

4) What is your favorite part of your job?
I loved the people I worked with.  We could talk politics, religion, and sports intelligently and with healthy debate.  I really miss that these days.

5) What is your favorite junk food to snack on?
Sugar. Cookies, candy, cakes, pie.  If it’s sweet and baked, I’m totally there.

6) Have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper?
Nope. At least, not to the best of my knowledge.

7) Do you use post-it notes?
Oh yes.  They are very valuable things at work. The dollar spot at Target has had some really cute ones with all sorts of holiday themes recently.  I love them sooooooo much.

8) Do you have freckles?

9) Is it okay for men to wear pink?
You bet. I wear blue all the time and never get razzed for it.  Why should they get teased for wearing pink?

10) When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Good golly.  I don’t even remember the last time I wrote an honest to goodness letter to anyone.  I still write out thank you notes, though.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weekend Stitching

You know I've been spacing it when it takes three days to get the weekend stitching report up.

Christmas Eve Fun got the most of my focus this weekend.  More night sky fill in and a few more trees added to the mix.  It's nice to see this from a step back perspective.  I sometimes think that it's not looking like much of anything when I'm stitching on it.  Progress is going to slow down a lot as I move down the piece.  More and more color changes and more full cross stitches instead of the half cross stitches that most of this fill work has been.

Since I finished Mr. Donkey last week, I made a start on Sheep #2.  I got quite a lot done on him in the hour or so that I had to work on him.  Every other stitch is a bead.  Lots and lots of beads.  I managed to knock over my little bead container while stitching too.  I'm afraid I didn't catch too much of the Sunday School lesson as I was trying to get all the beads back in the container and off of the pew.

I decided to try to photograph in natural light this week.  Everything I've read says that it's a good idea.  The colors are more true to what they really are.  I took my pictures in the late afternoon, and thus the deep shadows. I'll just pretend that it makes the pictures more arty.

My favorite Chili recipe

This is the chilli that I make and love.  My personal trainer loves it too.  Come to think of it, that's about all the people who have tried it.  I need to take this out more.  The original recipe came from the Gabby Gourmet of Channel 2 News here in Utah, and I think I had to send in a self-addressed stamped return envelope.  Late 80's or early 90's. Back in the day type of old.  Over the years I've added, subtracted, cut in half, doubled and generally mucked about with the recipe.  Here is how it stood the last time I cooked it.

Gabby's Chili, Modified

1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean stew meat
1/2 lb Italian style sausage (sweet or hot, I use hot.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 or 2 dried Anaheim pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cumin Seeds
2 1/2 Tbsp chili Powder
1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 3/4 C water
2 15 oz cans red kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 15 oz can great northern beans, drained
1 15 oz can corn kernels, drained
1 20 oz can Chili beans, drained
1 28 oz can fire roasted chopped tomatoes, drained
2 4 oz cans green chiles, chopped (I sometimes do 1 can green chiles, 1 can jalapenos. Spicy!)
1 1 oz block of unsweetened bakers chocolate... or maybe two.

Over medium-high heat, brown meat and then drain off the fat.  Add onion, pepper, garlic and cook until onion is limp.  Next add the Anaheim pepper, cumin, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, tomato sauce and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add beans, tomatoes, corn, chiles, chocolate.  Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve with shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, green and white chipped onions, and sour cream as garnishes.

A few notes:  I have a 6 qt. heavy stock pot, and this over flows that quite handily.  I bought a 12 qt stock pot and have room to spare.  The original recipe served 20, the base of this recipe is about 1/3rd of that recipe before I added various beans, corn and chocolate.  This will probably serve 10 comfortably. I buy my meat in 1 pound portions and brown it all up at the same time (in batches), then freeze half of it for the next time I cook the chili.  I've also just thrown everything in after I have the onions all nice and limp and simmer for two to three hours.  As with most chili recipes this is really good the second day after all the flavors have had time to meld.

I hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

Tidy Mom

Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Candy Corn Witches

One more round of carrot to do!  Yaaaaaay!  I'm almost done sitching up these three ladies and then I can not worry about the finishing of them until closer to Christmas.  I think I could get them done next week if I'd just buckle down and concentrate on stitching while grandma-sitting.

I know I haven't posted any exercise or calorie reports for a while.  I was trying to figure out a better way to do it than having a post everyday.  If I can figure out how to import an excel spreadsheet or some thing similar to that, I might go with that.  (I'm having a bad binge night tonight.  I found the old halloween candy and have been polishing off reese's peanut butter cups and kit kat bars left and right.  One step forward, two steps back it seems.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Now where did I put that pattern? ...

My mom has admired Inspiration by Rosewood Manor for many years and is always asking if I would stitch it up for her.  We do a little bit of trading, you see.  She quilts (and blogs), and I stitch.  So I get quilts from her and I try hard to make pretty things for her.  Anyway, I bought the pattern so I could stitch Inspiration up for her for Christmas before she bought all the supplies for Crabby All Year.  I periodically get my patterns out and dream over them for a while before putting them away again.  This week I had Inspiration out, and then it disappeared.

I searched every where for that thing!  I looked in the craft room/spare bedroom on all the shelves of the bookcase and in the storage bins where I keep my patterns and supplies.  I looked on and under the sofa and occasional chair in front of the TV.  I looked upstairs in the office disaster.  I looked in my bedroom, on the kitchen table, in the kitchen, on top of the fridge, inside all my cupboards in the kitchen and bathrooms.  I even looked in the utility closet and in the Christmas stuff that is stored under the stairs.  No pattern.

So I sat on the sofa to think about things a little bit.  As I sat and though, I started going through a stack of magazines and catalogs that had collected on the occasional chair.  Some got put away in their respective spots in the craft room, others got thrown away.  Then it dawned on me... I was doing the same thing a few days ago when I last saw the pattern.  I was putting a pile of 'to trash' magazines on top of it.  I remember thinking at the time, "I'd better be careful to not throw the pattern out."  So I got up with my pile of stuff to throw away and went over to the kitchen trash and started to dig.  Sure enough, there was my Inspiration pattern, tucked between a catalog and a magazine that I had deemed I didn't need any more.  And thus protected it hadn't gotten anything on it.

Oy vey.  I'd loose my head if it weren't attached.

I've spent a good deal of time working on Crabby All Year this week.  About four hours during the Super Bowl and another two hours on each of Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  I suspect that I'm a slow stitcher.  I've also come to the conclusion that I need to spend more time on this so that I can get it done in time for Christmas!  It's February and I haven't got the January block done.  I figure to be in good shape for Christmas I should have the March block done by the end of the month.  Eeeeeeeeeeee!  I'm so far behind.  But hey, here's a pic of the progress so far.

I wonder how much it would cost to ask Raise the Roof to chart "Quilt 2 Survive" for me to put at the bottom of the chart.  It's Mom's slogan, of sorts, and a little bit appropriate.  I don't dare try to chart something like that myself as I'm a bit of a disaster for it.  And it would make it truly one of a kind for my Mom.

Wee Bit 'o Me Wednesday

Hey y’all it’s time for another Wee Bit ‘o Me Wednesday with Leigh Ashley.  Wander over to her blog pick up the button, answer the questions and have a good time.

1)  ice: crushed or cubed?
I like cubed, right out of the ice dispenser.

2)  what is your worst traffic pet peeve?
I have to choose just one?  People who don’t understand how polite merging would speed things along.  If you slow down and let every other car into traffic, in the long run you get where you are going much faster.  Having to stop in traffic is bad people! Seriously bad!

3) what room in your house best represents your personality?
Um… I guess my bedroom, it has the most purple in it.

4) do you save old birthday cards?
Yes.  They are all tucked into a bill sorter that I have on the wall next to my door.  The bills are supposed to go there, but the cards have taken over.

5) when was the last time you went on a picnic?
Um… I don’t actually remember ever going on a picnic.  No pack up the food and go sit in a park somewhere sort of thing.  I’m sure it’s happened, I just don’t recall it in the recent past.

6) do you regularly check your horoscope?
Nope.  I don’t go looking for it, but if one crosses my path I’ll pause and read it.  Then laugh and discard it from my mind.

7) when you’re home, what do you wear on your feet?
Shoes and socks (or slippers) during the cold month, flip flops during the warm months.

8) what’s your favorite gambling game?
I don’t have one.  I don’t really like gambling.  There’s too much thinking and math doing for it to even be fun.

9) have you ever written (or started writing) a book?
Sort of?  I used to write a lot when I was younger: Romance novels, comic book stories, the occasional spy/intrigue story.  When I got out of school and went to work full time I just quit writing.  Work took all the creativity out of me.

10) what is your favorite musical?
The first one I ever saw was a High School production of Guys and Dolls.  I’ve loved it ever since.  I’ve seen many more musicals at the local community theatre but Guys and Dolls sticks with me.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Spread

Okay, so I went a little crazy and cooked too much.  But sometimes I just want to party, even if I'm the only invited attendee.  So here is what I made to watch that silly little football game that is on today.
Clockwise from the top: Baked Potato Poppers, Empty Plate, Marinara sauce, Pizza Roll-ups, sour cream, sliced black olives, guacamole, Nacho cheese sauce, tortilla chips, Chili, and over next to the guacamole is seasoned ground beef.  I think I'll post the recipe for my chili in a few days for an event that Tidy Mom is going to be hosting later in February.  I like it, my trainer begs for me to bring him bowls of it, so that's good enough to share.

I feel pretty successful with my cooking attempts this week.  I will say that I cut the pizza roll-ups too thick and thus didn't get the crust cooked all the way through.  No worries, I just threw them back into the oven for a few more minutes.  As for the baked potato poppers, next time I think I'll leave them in the oven for a few more minutes as well.  A bit more of a crunch to the top would have been nice, but they taste yummy all the same.  I told my trainer what I was cooking for the game, and he nearly invited himself over.  I'll save some of the potato poppers for him.

Since I'm just a bit crazy, and believe in truth in advertising... Here's the mess in my kitchen that needs to be washed and put away.
I guess I'll start running loads in the dishwasher now! And then it's stitching time. Wooooo!

Take care, y'all.

Weekend Stitching

I worked and worked and worked on Christmas Eve Fun yesterday and got a bit more of the sky done.  I actually managed to fill in a lot of area.  I kind of like all the half stitch fill in, it moves pretty good (so long as I don't get distracted by Farmville or some-such.)
I finished up my little donkey for the free standing nativity today in (ahem...) sunday school.  I'm trying to decide if I'll do the sheep next, or maybe one of the three wise men.  I'm saving Mary Joseph and Jesus for last.  The sheep is the smallest one but almost all beaded with peteit beads, but those wise men have oodles of color changes.  I'll have to think on it.  Here's Mr. Donkey:
I'm going to get home about an hour later than I had originally planned, so all my Super Bowl food will be about an hour behind.  Guess I'm just going to have to go off line so I don't get any spoilers as I'm watching.  Good thing I set up my DVR last week to record the show.

Take care, y'all, and have a good day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

TUSAL - Feb 3, 2011

Here's my little jar.  I decided to have some fun pulled out a bit of scrapbook paper to put behind the vase.  The light reflected oddly on the vase, but all-in-all it's a cute little vignette.
Thanks to Daffycat who is running the whole TUSAL this year.  Go to her blog and say "Hi!".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Some progress on Candy Corn

I worked on the three little witches today while Grandma-sitting. I got quite a bit done on the carrot (orange) bottom of the candy corn.  I was right when I guessed that each bottom part would take a skein of the Weeks Dye Works floss.  I will admit that I'm a bit of a wasteful stitcher when it comes to working with overdyes.  I don't know what it is, but they just don't go as far as when I'm not having to cross every stitch as I go along.  Maybe I'll get these done in February.  Maybe not.  Just so long as they're done by Christmas.
A few weeks ago I entered a contest to guess the combined score of the Packers/Bears game, and you had to be a Packers fan.  Long story short, I came in second place, but I won a prize anyway.  I choose three leaflets and was surprised to receive five!  Here's my little prize.  I'm really excited for the Lizzie*Kate pattern and the stocking with the santas. The contest runner doesn't have a blog, so nothing to link to.  Sorry!
Okay.  I think that's it from me for today.  I can't believe I came up with four whole things to write about.  Now to take a picture of my TUSAL jar to post tomorrow.

Back in the kitchen again

Sometimes I get silly ideas in my head and just have to run with it or it'll drive me crazy.  The latest idea, Super Bowl Party.  The crazy bit, it's just me.  But whatever.  Here is my menu: Gabby's Chili for 20, Cheesy Nachos (which is a bit of a redundant statement, Nachos are, by definition, cheesy.), Pizza Roll ups (recipe from Tidy Mom) and Baked Potato Poppers (recipe from Joelen's Culinary Adventures). I think I'll be eating the left overs on this for the rest of the week.

Anyway, since I won't get to my house until just before the game starts, I figured tonight was as good a night as any to do some prep.  So I started with boiling some Yukon Gold potatoes and browning up some ground beef.
Then it was time to cook up some bacon. Mmmmmmmmm.... Baaaaaaaaacon. (I love splatter screens!)
Once the potatoes were cool it was time to cut them in half and scoop them out.  Basically making little potato boats.
I mixed up the filling for these potatoes and everything went into the fridge.
I then worked on a little bit on a project that's on and off.  Since it's not a critical project, it do a little here and there.  I'm making lemon flavored sugar.  I read how to do in the book Cooking By Flavor that I checked out of the library sometime during the summer. I started off with three lemons, juiced them, cut the remaining rinds into quarters and let those dry out until they were like leather.  Next up, layer regular sugar with your dried lemon rinds in an air tight container and let sit for awhile.  Supposedly when you're ready to use the stuff, you just fish out the rinds and you're good to go.  In my case, I suspect that I didn't wait long enough for the lemon rinds to get all dried out.  I've got some granulated lemon sugar, but I've also got chunks of lemon sugar... you know, like when brown sugar becomes dried out and rock hard.  So I spent some time sifting through the lemon sugar.
And check it out! (Not that you can see it...) But I scrubbed off my range between cooking and sifting!

Wee Bit 'o Wednesday

I stumbled across this little bit of a link-up a few weeks ago and like the idea quite a bit.  Now if I can figure out how to do the linky-doo's on the other side of the thing.  Every Wednesday Leigh Ashley puts up a series of 10 questions for everyone to answer about themselves.  Fun and random.  Here are this weeks questions and my answers.

1) What was your favorite sitcom growing up?
I would have to say it is either the A-Team or maybe The Dukes of Hazard or even CHiPs! I don't really remember much tv from growing up.
2) What song always makes you happy when you hear it?
Right now it's "Pork and Beans" by Weezer or almost anything by the Barenaked Ladies. But there are so many songs that get turned up full blast so I can sing along.
3) Do you still have your wisdom teeth?
I do.  What I don't have is the molars that are next to my wisdom teeth.  My wisdom teeth grew in close to/under the molars. So it was easier to pull the molars to make room for the wisdom teeth.  Apparently it's not something that's often done because I've confused many a dentist at initial consultations.
4) What is your go to way to relax?
Either sitting and stitching with some random tv noise on in the background or reading a good book.
5) Do you play any instruments?
Not really.  I had piano lessons when growing up, and played flute in band in jr. high.  But that was so long ago I don't really recall much of anything... Except "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" on piano (both hands!). Does being a master of the bass on Rock Band count?
6) Nude beaches: yes or no?
Ha ha ha. No.  Heck no!
7) Do you chew your pens/pencils?
No, not really. I used to chew on pen caps in school, but being out of school and not using pen technology very often, the opportunity doesn't often present itself.
8) Can you change the oil in your car?
Nope.  There are professionals at the dealership that do it for me.  I can rotate my own tires and replace the bulbs in my headlights/taillights all by myself, though.
9) Can you curl your tongue?
Yes! Up in a u and down in an n.
10) Can you knit or crochet?
I can sort of crochet.  I can do the single, half, double, and triple crochets.  Where I get in trouble is when it comes to counting where I am in the pattern.  I'd much rather cross stitch anyway. 

So there you go.  Random questions, and nearly as random answers.

Holy Frosty Pops, Batman! It's cold out side!!

My poor heater just couldn't keep up with it last night.  The thing just ran, and ran, and ran, and never did get up to the temperature that the thermostat is programed for.  I hate to see what the gas bill is going to be.  The main problem is that my house is a sieve.  I have a fond dream of buying new windows for the place, but right now, it isn't feasible.

Anyway, I was stitching away on the sofa, thinking "I'm cold!!" so I turned to look at the thermometer that I have next to me.

 At first I thought it was wrong.  No way was it 90 degrees outside!  But I looked again.  That's 9 degrees.  Brrrrr....  But inside it's only 58 degrees.  Brrrrrrr... (I do have in mind to get Christmas all put away by Valentines day... ... Or maybe this will be another year when I leave it up all year...  We'll see...)  I put down my stitching and decided to go upstairs where it's usually a few degrees warmer.
A few degrees warmer, but it's still 'evil' cold. (Hey look! The temp went up .1 of a degree outside!!)  I turned on the electric blanket, cranked it up to high, and climbed into bed.  It was just too cold to do anything.  I hate cold.  It's this time of year I get to wishing I could be a snowbird and head to warmer climbs.