Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lots of December News

December went by too fast. My camera decided to take a vacation and I wasn't able to capture all the memories I wanted to, but we still had a wonderful holiday month.

I started the month by cleaning the pantry. I couldn't do any baking or cooking with the mess that was in there. Now I can do more cleaning and organizing in there as my MIL gave me a set of Click Clack storage cubes.
We put up Mr. E's tree on Thanksgiving, but he wouldn't let me decorate it until last Tuesday. Once we had it decorated, he started singing Jingle Bells to it.
We did a Secret Santa swap at work. I made my partner this little wallet to go with . . .
this crocheted project bag. She loves it! So does her daughter, so I'll be making one for her in a few weeks.
My SSCS partner, Jenny, made me this stunning yarn basket and filled it with scrumptious Australian wool.

My Secret Santa partner at work stitched this awesome candle mat for me. She knows I love embroidery and chocolate so she stitched me "chocolate."
Grampa gave me and Mr. E Sesame Street's Yummy Cookies cookbook. You can be assured we will be trying out a few recipes over the next few weeks.

How was your Christmas?

Sweet P

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Remains of My Weekend

My weekend is on Monday and Tuesday. I like having my weekends when everyone else is at work. I can be lazy, run errands or do whatever I need to do with little interruption. This past weekend was full of giggles, yarn and threads.

Mr. E and I made marshmallow snowmen for our afternoon snack. Mr. E got silly, put a pretzel stick in each end and called his snowman a bridge.
I finished a matching hat and cowl for me. I have a pair of gloves in the aqua yarn started as well.
Mr. E loves playing on my iPad ("apple ackpack", as he calls it). Yesterday I found a train game for him. He enjoyed the game while nibbling on cheese and crackers.
Our couch has a table in the middle. This is what the table looked like at the end my weekend last night. Amid the piles you will find my first aqua glove, a cross stitch project I'm working on, our family football pool sheet waiting to be finished for the week, a new book I received in the mail (Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders), a box of tissues and a cup of warm Wassail. And to make my time stitching on the couch more enjoyable, the TV remote and my phone.
What does your work space look like at the end of the day?

Sweet P

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

SSCS Package Arrived

My Secret Santa Christmas Swap Package arrived from Jenny in Australia this afternoon. Aren't the labels cool?
The big package has been placed under Mr. E's tree (the only tree we have right now) and the gorgeous ornament is hanging front and center.
My SSCS package is the first present under the tree. I wonder how many more will be there on Christmas morning?

Thank you, Jenny! The ornament is exquisite!

Sweet P
I wish I could show you what I've been making in the Coffee Time Stitches studio, but everything has been for Christmas gifts. Show and Tell will have to wait.

In the meantime, here's a little video of what Mr. E has been up to this fall.

How are your Christmas plans coming along?

Sweet P

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SSCS Has Left The Building

My SSCS Package to . . . is winging its way to . . .

I wonder when it will get there???

Sweet P

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Recipe Blogs

Back in August I wrote two posts about food and organizing my pantry. I haven't given up on organizing and stocking my pantry. I've worked my list and checked it twice. I've thought about it day and night. I've test shopped BJ's against my favorite grocery store (more on that another day). I've even stood and stared at my pantry trying to decide what to do.

One of the steps I have accomplished was to sort through the recipes I have collected in my Recipe Manager to see where our favorite recipes come from. I discovered there are three blogs that have contributed quite a few recipes to my collection. Here they are in no particular order.

A Fridge Full of Food...and Nothing to Eat by Glenna Muse
Glenna has lots of yummy recipes. Our favorite is her All Day Spaghetti 3-Meat Sauce. You don't need to have a back up jar of Prego or Ragu in your cupboard when you have a bag of this sauce in your freezer.
She recently posted a recipe for Slow Cooker Meat Sauce that is equally delicious. However, the sauce cooks overnight and the delicious smell of it permeated my dreams and woke me up. I had to get out of bed and turn off the sauce so I could sleep. Next time I'll make it and let it cook all day. A couple other favorites from her site are Quick & Easy Chicken Enchiladas and Guinness Irish Stew with Roasted Garlic/Rosemary Dumplings.

Big Red Kitchen
Next up is Big Red Kitchen. I found one of our decadent breakfast recipes: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. These are a yummy way to start a weekend breakfast.
Recently she posted a recipe for Homemade SpaghettiOs with Mini Meatballs. Mr. E loves his "balls" (his name for the meal). The recipe made 10 batches and I believe he's about ready for another batch to be made. Grampa Boo wants to try some this time.

We like her Crockpot Grinders on Football Sundays. I often make a batch of Garlic Ranch Pretzels to tuck into my lunch box. Her Wassail Punch has earned a spot on our holiday menus. And, once I get my freezer downstairs I intend to have a Freezer Meal Making Party, but for now her Ranch Chicken makes an appearance on our dinner plate frequently.

Cinnamon Girl Recipes
Cinnamon Girl Recipes has a couple of our favorite dinner recipes. Hubby and I love her Salisbury Steaks in French Onion Sauce. This is a great comfort meal.
My son, who is not a meatloaf fan, cannot pass up her Italian Meatloaf. When I make this for a family dinner I may have to start making two meatloaves just to have leftovers! This is the best meatloaf ever! My DIL and I are soup lovers and I often make her Loaded Baked Potato Soup for us. It's a great soup on a chilly night. We also like her Peanut Butter Cups for dessert. I haven't tried the Salted Caramel Cups yet, but I plan to do that soon.

So, there you have it. A few of my favorite recipe blogs and some yummy recipes for you to try. If you stop by any of these blogs, please tell them I sent you. I'm sure they would love to hear from you.

What are some of your favorite recipe blogs?

Sweet P

Friday, October 28, 2011

Seeing Red in the Kitchen

I've been seeing a lot of red in my kitchen lately. Red as in tomato sauce in my food. I've tried a three new recipes in the last two weeks and each of them was tomato-based.

First up was Pizza Supreme Soup from Elle's New England Kitchen. I accompanied it with Pizza Dough Breadsticks. Both were a big hit with the family.
I didn't take any photos, but I tried Slow Cooker Meat Sauce from A Fridge Full of Food. The recipe was easy and super delicious. The only drawback was I had to get up in the middle of the night and turnoff the crock pot because the yummy smell of the sauce was permeating my dreams and making me very hungry.

This past Tuesday I tried Homemade Spaghettios from the Big Red Kitchen. This recipe was easy to make and Mr. E loved the results.

There was plenty fill up nine more dishes for future lunches.
What's on the menu for tonight? Nothing with tomato sauce! Probably Espresso Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries.

Oh yeah, we are also getting ready for our first winter storm, in October! It snowed a little last night and Mr. E told me this morning, "It was snowmening at daddy's house!" Silly boy!

Have a great weekend!

Sweet P

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Birthday Shopping

I wasn't going to spend my birthday money, but a good sale and a discount card changed my mind.

First up, Joann's is having a sale on Kona Cottons. I'm low on solid colors so I stocked up on a few choices. Most of them are one yard cuts, a couple are one yard, plus the remnant piece.
My next stop was at my LYS, Spinning Yarns. I needed to buy yarn for a swap package and decided since I had a fully stamped discount card that gave me 20% off my purchase I would use the rest of my birthday money and treat myself to some fancy yarn. I bought two balls of Ritratto yarn by Stacy Charles. It is a mohair and rayon blend. It's super squishy and a lace weight. In the clearance bin was eight hanks of yellow Berocco Pure Pima. I figure it will make a nice tank top or shell for next summer.
I finished Mr. E's dinosaur sweater this morning. It will be part of his Halloween costume.
Aren't the buttons cute?
I'm working at another store for a few weeks. Because it is an hour drive one way to get there, I get a four day work week with three days off. I just finished my third day off and it was nice to have that much time off. I cleaned our bedroom closet, cleaned off my dresser, did the laundry and still have lots of time to play with fiber and threads and with Mr. E.

What are up to this fall?
Sweet P

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Amazing Color Update

September was a slow month for progress on Amazing Color. In fact, there was no progress on it in September. I stitched squares C2 - C4 (the bottom row) at the end of August. I started B5 in August and didn't finish it until yesterday. This morning I finished C5.

Here's the project so far.
The project continues to be fun. I average about 90-120 minutes per square. I'm always amazed at how a black and white stitch guide comes alive when the square is finished.

What long term projects are you working on these days?

Sweet P

Thursday, October 06, 2011

What Would You Do?

On Saturday I celebrate my 50th birthday. Yup, that's right. The big 5-0. And I am ready. On Saturday I am going with Mr. E to his music lessons and then an afternoon with family. Dinner is not planned yet. On Sunday I am having a Craft and Swap Open House with a few of my friends and football on TV. I'm off on Monday and Tuesday too and plan to rest on those days.

Anyway, while daydreaming about possible birthday gifts I came up with a game for myself.

What would I do if someone gifted me $1,000? I tried to think of three different ways to spend the money:
The Practical Option: a new pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses with leftover money being used to fill my pantry.
The Somewhat Practical Option: I would turn our bed into a "hotel bed" with crisp sheets and wonderful duvet. Leftover money would pay the carpenter to build out our closet.
The Luxury Option: Since I am out of vacation time until February, I would take two weeks off from work and spend the time creating and playing all day long. I admit to missing the summer I had off from work three years ago and would love to be able to spend more time at home again.

I suppose you're wondering why I wouldn't buy any fabric, yarn or threads. Well, with my latest studio reorganizing I have found enough supplies and refreshed my memory with enough projects that I could stay busy for quite awhile before I need to go shopping.

What would you do with $1,000?

Sweet P

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Baking With Mr. E

It's been awhile since Mr E and I have had a baking morning. With the cooler temps I decided it was time to make pumpkin muffins.

Mr. E is now tall enough to stand on his chair and help me make the dough. We counted each egg and each cupful or spoonful of ingredient as we made the dough. Then he stirred . . .
And stirred . . .
And taste tested the dough (after the muffin tins were filled)
And then taste tested a finished muffin.
Actually he is tall enough to get a muffin off the counter and has snuck two of them while I'm typing this.
Earlier he heard me taking a photo and ran into the room, said "cheese" and posed for me.
Then he came running to me, holding his Lego creation to his eyes saying, "cheese". He made himself a camera! Silly, smart boy!I hope you're having a wonderful week. It has been rainy here for the last several days. The leaves are starting turn and the cool temps have definitely arrived.

Sweet P

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. It's the first one since he died last August. He was a wonderful man. Here is he and my mom on their wedding day, January 11, 1947.

Happy Birthday Dad! I miss you and love you!

Sweet P

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two FInishes On My Weekend

I was a busy girl on my weekend.

Yesterday morning I finished my Corcra Cloak. These photos are not the best. We had to keep an eye on Mr. E while taking them. This photo shows me wearing the cloak with the hood up.
Here is a photo of just the back of the cloak.
I've also been working on PJ pants for Mr. E. So far I have finished one plaid pair. I love this fabric. It was a line of fashion fabrics called British Frenzy we had at the store. The fabric washed up great with no wrinkles and very little shredding of the exposed edges.
I have two more pairs of PJs that need the hems and waists sewn in and one pair of pants that only need a hem. The pattern is from Sewing for Boys. I love this book. I've read quite a few good reviews of the book and I agree with all of them. If you have little boys in your life, and you sew, you need this book.

I haven't forgotten about my pantry organization. My studio closet reorganizing just took over for awhile. I'll be working on the pantry again soon.

Until next time,
Happy Stitching!
Sweet P

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mr. E was confused on Monday night because Grampa wasn't here. We took him outside and this is what he started doing:

I'll be back later with sewing and crochet finishes. I have been busy the last few days.

Sweet P

Friday, September 16, 2011

More Studio Organizing

I made more progress on my studio re-organizing this morning.

The closet is close to getting full.
I found the top of the work table.
And the day bed is made.
I sorted through my yarn bags under the day bed this morning. I have filled the four Skubb shoe bags I bought two weeks ago and put all of them in the closet. One bag holds baby yarn, two bags hold yarn I received in swaps and the last one holds my stash of Sunflower Yarns. The Lingo bags are under the bed. They have acrylic and other miscellaneous yarn purchases stashed in them. I pulled out about 5 or 6 crochet bags that are oh, so close to being finished and put them in the pine cart. Some of them only need an hour or two to finish.

After contemplating what to do about my fabric WIPs I have created a plan:
  1. If I absolutely love the project, I am keeping it.
  2. If the WIP is from a swap, I am keeping it.
  3. If most of the blocks are sewn together or the top is nearly done, it has gone into the donate pile.
  4. If the fabric is stashed together for a specific project, but not cut, the fabric is going into my general stash pile.
I used this plan to sort through the picnic basket of WIPS and it works. Now I only have one large tub of WIPs to work through.

There are six more organizing/decluttering projects I want to do in the studio:
  1. Our artwork that had been in the basement needs to get hung in the basement or stored down there.
  2. There is still one more closet to clean and perhaps have Rick build out.
  3. My bookcase is overflowing. I will probably be getting rid of my quilting books, just have to decide how.
  4. I need to figure out where/how to store my embroidery kits and tools.
  5. I have a small stand that will be leaving the room and the pine cart is taking its place.
  6. I need to revamp my studio wall where I hang tote bags, scarves and other hanging objects.
Not sure on the timeline for these projects. At least the room is presentable and usable for now.

BTW, thanks for the encouragement to draw the cauldron and the swirls. I am thinking about it.

Sweet P

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Want To Make This . . .

Do you see the gorgeous piece on the right? The boiling cauldron with all the colorful swirls? I want to stitch it. I want to stitch it using counted canvas stitches.
I do not want to pay $16.95 for the magazine! Even when I can use a 40% or 50% coupon I'm not sure I want to buy the magazine. Anyone know where I can find a similar pattern?

Sweet P

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Studio Closet Update

Well, I just spent about two hours putting items into my new closet space. Not quite done, but I'll share my progress.

For starters, here is what the closet looked like before it was emptied. The two plastic carts at the bottom will find a new use storing Mr. E's toys. One at his house and one here. The white pine cart is going elsewhere in the studio and will also be used for Mr. E stuff. We are keeping the shelving for now in case we want to use it in one of the other closets.
Here it is with the new shelves installed and ready to be filled.
From left to right on the floor: a tub of fabric WIPs, a table top easel, my sewing machine in its travel case and a picnic basket full of Christmas fabric. On the next shelf, (L to R), there is a small basket of WIPs, a container of batting and interfacing scraps, a pattern box and two baskets of yarn.
Next are the remaining shelves top to bottom. On the top are photo boxes, family mementos and a couple of fabric WIPs. The next shelf is currently holding all non-cotton fabric. Next shelf has all cotton fabric on the left and WIPs on the right. The next shelf has eight boxes of fat quarters and charms, a container of polka dot fabric, a box of buttons and trims, a box of assorted bindings and another small stack of interfacing. The two purple shoe bags on the right contain more yarn. On the left bottom shelf you find my floss and embroidery thread containers. On the right is a container of crochet WIPs and one more basket of yarn.
I still have a stack of home dec fabrics to sort through that will end up on the non-cotton shelf. I have three or four bags of yarn under the bed that may find a home in the closet as I still have two purple shoe bags to use. I need a basket for fabric pieces smaller than a yard, but larger than a fat quarter. I have one the perfect size and I'm going to ask my carpenter to cut off the handles as it's too tall for the shelves. It will probably go on the shelf with my floss and threads.

In the process of sorting and sifting I had the opportunity to clean out the cupboard space in my work island. It now holds all my paper crafting and scrapbooking supplies. On the top left shelf is a stack of scrapbook papers and a container of items for Mr. E's scrapbook. On the right are scrapbooks and boxes of cards. The bottom shelf has a basket of embellishments, a basket of stamps and ink, a box of decorative scissors, my Prismacolor pencils and a box of clay.
There is still a lot of organizing and rearranging to be done. A little bit each day will get the room into a place that will be shared by me and Mr. E.

How do you decide how to get rid of WIPs? I couldn't make the decision to throw away or donate many of my WIPs. I know I will never make them. I just don't know what to with them. Thoughts or comments?

Sweet P

Monday, September 12, 2011

If You Need Me . . .

I'm working with this pile today. . .

Our carpenter is coming over tonight to build out one of my studio closets with wood shelves tonight. When he is done I will have five shelves that will be 57" by 22", one high shelf: 57" by 12" and floor space will be 18" high.

This is what the space looked like before I emptied it out on Saturday

Hopefully I'll have an update on it later this week.

Sweet P