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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Thank You!

A year ago today, I landed on the Yellow Brick Road, and created my first post. It's been a wonderful experience and I want to thank you all, for your cheers, your kind words, your silly sayings and of course for sharing your stitching!
I'm sending out hugs to you all along with my heartfelt thanks. Let's keep the fun going! See you again on the weekend. (For the giveaway, please visit the previous post.)

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Dunderhead

I've been noticing some stitchers have been coming up with words like 'kerfuffled' for the title of their post. Last week I was emailing Terri and told her I was feeling like a dunderhead, not having a clue whether it's a word or not but feeling like it was appropriate. Well apparently it is a real word, and it was entirely appropriate to the way I was feeling! I also feel the word 'confusticated' would be appropriate but it's not a real word...yet. To me, the word conveys 'confused' and there is a lot of crazy fuss about nothing!

Well, that was a silly start to this post. Thank you so much for your kind words and support left in my last post. It meant a lot to me as it was another crazy week. (Ten more to go!)

I used to work with a wonderful gal pal and when things went crazy, we used to have a bitch session for about 5 minutes, then one of us would say to each other "suck it up Princess' and the other would reply 'suck it up Cinderella'. Then off we went back to work. It was a great way to break up the stress!

On the stitching front, I have finished this:
The Simple Things
by Blackbird Designs
Floss - used recommended ones
Linen - used 32 ct Vintage Buttercream by Lakeside Linens

You will notice a few changes I made from the original designs I left out the chain stitch around the flowers and leaves. I'd tried it but it felt too heavy to me. Also I left out the over 1 stars and words. What can I say about that? Dunderhead? Anyway, I really quite like this and am pondering whether I might make it into a pillow if I find the right fabric to go with it.

Next project? Let's see if you can guess this one. The design is about 10 years old.
Take a guess!

On Tuesday, the 22nd is the first day of Fall and my baby blog will be ONE year old. Hard to believe. So, to celebrate, of course some type of a giveaway. I didn't put "giveaway" in the blog post so it will be interesting if anyone sees this other than my regular visitors! I thought it would be appropriate to give away a set of Quaker Calendars by Plum Street Samplers to represent the first great year in Blog-land.


If you would like a chance to win this full set of calendars, here are the rules!
  1. please leave a comment on this post only that you would like to be in the draw. If your email is not in your blog profile, please provide it in the comments .
  2. to make you work for this a bit - tell me what is your favourite project stitched of all time?
  3. That's it. You are welcome to mention this in your blog but it's not a requirement.
The excitement for the new releases in the coming Market is building! There are quite a few things landing on my wish list! We'll see how well my resistance holds up! (If you are laughing hysterically I can't blame you!)

Traditional Stitches is having an anniversary sale so you might want to check them out.

Well, my friends, enjoy the rest of the weekend. Oh, the giveaway closes as of Friday Oct 2. I will announce the winner on Oct 3/4. Take care and have a great week!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Prescription for Stress

First of all, it was so nice to receive all your comments about the framing in the last post - thank you! I know I always love seeing other stitchers' choices in framing. A piece of stitching can change so dramatically with different frames. I have one more framed piece to show but I'll leave that for the end.

I've mentioned that work has been stressful. I might as well just accept that fact that it will be more or less like that for the next 3 months, until our project is completed at work. It's been awhile since work has taken up so much energy so I've had to revisit how best to deal with the stress.

What I mean is, when you're so busy at work with problems to solve and you come home and there's more things to do, what do you do? Initially I felt really pulled in many directions and not feeling I was getting anything done and not having any fun. So then I decided to just pick a couple of things to focus on.

Here's one thing I've been focusing on, a little every night - The Simple Things, by Blackbird Designs.
Progress as of last Saturday, Sept 5 (above)

Progress as of today, Sept 12

I wish the photos showed off the colours better. The linen used, in fact, is a gorgeous colour - Vintage Buttercream by Lakeside Linens. I am using all the recommended WDW floss. Just paint the colours brighter in your mind and that'll be how it looks in real life! (Oh now I see the difference in the two photos above. I just remembered the first one was taken without the Ott light, and the second with! As you can see while the Ott light is good for helping you stitch, it washes colours out of the photo! )

I was unsure about this design at first but now I'm enjoying it very much. The finish calls for doing a chainstitch around ALL the leaves and flowers. Not sure I'm going to bother!

I am really looking forward to seeing the new releases at Market this month. I think I won't be jumping on the buying bandwagon as I had a disappointing experience with the Nashville Market. I wasn't gaining anything by ordering the new releases right away because they took such a long time to come! Besides, I have taken the pledge (wink wink nudge nudge) of stitching from my own stash.

Hmmm, not sure how long that will last. Today, I was visiting Elegant Stitch online and found that Lois has posted the new releases from Paulette. Scroll down the new releases for Sept 11 and you'll see the new Plum Street Sampler charts. I love Paradise Lost!

As promised, here is the last (for awhile) framed piece - Sampler Sisters of the Thread by Primitive Needle.

Again, I wish the colours showed up better. The frame is quite simple but it's a burnished greeny, bronzy with some black which really suit the colours of the stitching! I just love this one!

Well, my pretties, I'm done for this week's post. I'm just trying to keep heads-down and stress level down! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave comments. Even if you don't leave comments, just leave some mental good thoughts for me, will ya? I need some good sparks to sprinkle on me.

Hope you are having a great weekend. We had tons of rain last weekend but this one is full of heat and sunshine and that means garden clean-up time!


Monday, 7 September 2009

Eye Candy - No calories!

This weekend really felt like Fall has arrived. We've had loads of rain and it's cooled down a lot. I actually got a lot of house-cleaning / tidying done inside which, believe me, has been needed for awhile! I feel very accomplished, if a little tired! But you don't want to hear about that. You want to see the framed pieces, so here they are!

First, a bit of explanation. You know it's tricky taking photos of a framed piece when you use glass. This weekend, I discovered the "display easel" and you'll see it in my photos. When I put it on my mantel piece, where we have an overhead light, I can take a fairly decent photo with flash off. The only drawback is that you see the bottom of the easel. See what you think. As usual you can click on the photo to view in more detail.

This is to show you the setup I'd just mentioned.

The Dainty Housewren
by Carriage House Samplings
This is such a pretty 'dainty' piece and well deserves its title.

Friendship Gathering
by Blackbird Designs
Of all my framed pieces I wasn't sure about this one initially. That is, until I found the perfect spot to hang it. When I found the spot, I breathed a sigh of relief!

Ellen Birdseye
by The Goode Huswife
I just love this frame. The colour complements the stitching so well!

Tulip for my Love
by Examplar from the Heart
The original design by Wilma had a wider frame. I really wrestled with which frame to use and in the end went with this black with gold beading. I now love it! Thanks to my framer for her suggestion!

Free to Be
by Wyanne Thompson
I bought this print from Wyanne a few months ago and finally got it framed. I love the frame with the tulip design. The colour of it is picked up from the colour of the tree.


Friendship Sampler
by Birds of a Feather
This has to be my favourite piece of all! I didn't go in with a black frame in mind but I love this one. It's a soft black with some orangey-brown in it. Reminds me of an old soft leather jacket!

Well, that's it my pretties! I will have more to show next weekend. Right now life is busy and will stay so for at least a couple of more weeks. I've tried to reply to emails this morning but if you are waiting for an email from me, just prod me gently!

Thank you for stopping by and your comments really make me feel like blogging is all worth the effort! BTW, my blog's one year birthday is coming up on the 22nd. Watch this space!

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

September - Shortbread Pie Recipe

I'm so thankful for this long (Labour Day) weekend. The return to work week was stressful although I knew it would be because I knew I would be covering for 2 others on vacation. On top of that traffic was a nightmare going home, hitting a peak mid-week with both bridges having accidents and basically at stand-still for hours. It was a test of 'grace under pressure'! Whining aside, I survived!

I realized that last Sunday I was remiss in showing you a lovely Shortbread Pie, but no recipe! Thanks Jan for asking for its whereabouts!

This recipe is over 25 years ago, coming out around the time when food processors became popular. I think it's from a Gourmet magazine but I'm not sure. I will show you what the recipe says first, then I'll walk you through the instructions, MY way!


Shortbread Apple Pie

CRUST
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 egg yolks, beaten

FILLING
1 1/4 lb apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Now comes the fun part, the instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Get out an 8" springform pan and put that on top of a baking sheet (to catch any oozing fruit juices). I sometimes use a larger springform pan which means you get a thinner crust and you'll have to adjust the baking times accordinly. And it would be good to make sure your oven rack is about the middle of the oven, and not the lowest position.

2. Put the flour, sugar, salt in a food processor and whirl to mix. Scatter butter pieces all over and pulse a few times about the mixture is crumbly. With the food processor running, drizzle the egg yolks over the surface and mix just until crumbs form. Do not form into a bill. Here's my bit - if you don't want to use a food processor, you can just as well put everything in a big bowl and use the old fashion pastry cutter and cut the butter into the flour. Pretty basic technique. And over the years, sometimes I couldn't be bothered with just using 2 egg yolks, saving the egg whites which I might end up throwing away anyway, so I have used 1 whole egg. Maybe it's not as rich this way but I've done it!

3. Put aside 1/4 of the mixture and save for topping. Pat the remaining 3/4 over the bottom of the springform pan. Here's my bit - you want to gently pat the mixture so it's more solid. You don't have to put a lot of pressure on it. The 'pastry' will do its thing in the oven and it will solidify into a nice soft cookie bottom.

4. For the filling, mix all the ingredients listed above and pile on top of the cookie base. Then cover the fruit with the 1/4 mixture you had saved for the topping. Here's my bit - try different fruits according to season. I've tried plums, berries, strawberry/rhubarb, apple/strawberries, apple/blueberries - you get the idea. You might want to adjust the baking time and/or amount of fruit if you are using all soft fruits like berries, for instance.

5. Put the pie in for 15 minutes to bake at 400 F. Then turn down the oven to 350 F and bake another 20 minutes or so. Cool 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream!

This is a very easy and forgiving dessert. While I was off work, we had visitors from out of town who phoned and said they were popping round for a quick visit in the afternoon. I whipped this baby up and they were duly impressed!

I have picked up loads of beautiful framed pieces today. Hooray! I am so happy with them. Now I will have to wait for more light tomorrow and start taking photos to show you next time. I've been offline most of the week, so lots of catching up to do!

Thank you for all your lovely complements on Sampler Sisters. I just dropped her off for framing today so hopefully she'll be here for next weekend. "See" you soon!