Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Come Back?

If you are inclined, you can download this one here.
You know how I enjoy the ironies of cross stitch--the old lady craft being undertaken by young people. The stories that show how the super-feminine craft is being used in ways not usually associated with femininity (porn, protest, feminist messaging). The highly educated woman taking up cross-stitch which was once the limit of a girl's education.

The candidate who famously decided not to "stay home and bake cookies" has a cross-stitch pattern available on her website. The Atlantic covered it recently. But instead of enjoying the ironies, they've decided that cross-stitch is making a comeback. Fine by me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Continued Thanksgiving Preparations

I'm afraid stitching has taken a back seat to Thanksgiving preparations. Today I made a cheese ball. If you were going to make one, if you used this recipe yours would be very similar to mine. (I can't give you our actual recipe because it is my aunt's closely guarded secret, which is actually all over the internet.) (And frankly, I use way more blue cheese than even she calls for!)

Then I cracked open a box of Jiffy mix to make corn muffins. This is step one for Triple Corn Stuffing, out of the Black Family Reunion Cookbook. This stuffing is delicious and decadent, and I only eat it once a year.

BTW, we finally ate the little pumpkin from Farm Share Friday. We had the hazelnut, pumpkin, and feta salad. It was amazing! The dressing totally made it. Be sure to try it. (The pumpkin skin was edible, which was a surprise.) Also, the dude has seen the veggieducken recipe and now he is all gung-ho. If we thought we could get away with it, we'd serve it for Thanksgiving dinner. As it is, it's probably a project for Saturday. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your comments. They keep me going as I near the end of NaBloPoMo. And I am sorry that I still owe a few of you replies. I'll get there!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Turkey Day Countdown

Action shot of tonight's Thanksgiving related task: cranberry sauce.

I was also supposed to clean out the refrigerator but I had to work a little late and it threw off my schedule as well as my desire to do much besides sit on the couch.

I was motivated to work on the cranberries because 1) it takes 10 minutes and 2) I love cranberry sauce. (I hate gravy, but I am dedicated to the sauce.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Home Preservation

Around Halloween, our neighbor was throwing out pears from his tree. He asked if we wanted any, and when we agreed he gave us two giant sacks full. (We foisted off one to our farm share friend.) Then everything went pear-shaped and we didn't get around to preserving them until this weekend. Fortunately, just enough were this side of rotten so we could make pear salsa. We used this recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. (It's not that complete because we were looking for pear chutney, oh well.) The rest of the day was filled with bringing in the garden supplies/decor, grocery shopping, making an ill-informed trip to Home Goods for some holiday napkins, and finishing up the seasonal clothing switch. So, yeah, the pear salsa was the highlight of my day! (It's only eight more days. Hold out hope!)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Frosted Snowman

I worked on these cards last night. I came up with the design last month, but only managed to make one card. Last night I finished these, but I think they may need a little more...something. Not sure what. Maybe a sentiment on the outside?

The snowman is from Stampin' Up! Snow Place stamp set, cut out with the Snow Friends framelits. I stamped the scarf tone on tone in wisteria wonder and used the framelits on that too. Then I cut out the top hat from black glitter paper using the framelits again. The snowman is also edged in diamond dust glitter and popped off the background, which features whisper white, soft sky (I think) and wisteria wonder. The strips are all embossed with the softly falling embossing folder. Everything is layered on basic grey before being mounted on the white card. (They are prescored cards and I'm not even sure the SU!) (shhhhh)

You can see that I used the same inspiration for both my holiday cards this year. (See the other one here.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Farm Share Friday: Fall is Squash Season

My friend Nicole is loving the farm share selfies which is totally keeping this goofiness alive.

The farm share told me that this is either a buttercup squash, a kikuza squash, or a Thelma Sanders squash. I needed to do some googling. I was kind of hoping for the Thelma Sanders squash because...what do you have to do to end up with squash named for you? (Well, probably just cross-breed it, right?) (It's an heirloom acorn squash, but I'm still not sure who Thelma Sanders is.) You can't tell but it doesn't have a pointy bottom like an acorn squash. And it's the wrong color for a buttercup.

That leaves us with the kikuza. (Although it does look like a miniature French Cinderella pumpkin.) Kikuza is a Japanese heirloom squash. The information I've been able to find about this squash indicates that it is nutty and sweet and dry. Some reports that it's also "spicy." It's good for baking and roasting.

I've found a few recipes for this. Pie, which you might expect, muffins, but I think what we'll try with this one is this savory roasted dish--pumpkin, roasted hazelnuts, and feta salad. (I know it says pumpkin, but trust me it was the kikuza search that got me there.) I'm running off to go stamping, so I'll have to tell you more about it later.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Recovering Your Crafting Mojo

The other day Brigitte said that she usually loses her blogging mojo when she loses her crafting mojo. How does a person get that back?
  1. Browse Pinterest or your pattern stash or some craft magazines or...Sometimes seeing what is out there will get me interested in something I've been working on, and I'll get back to work. Looking at the colors or thinking about how happy an item I've run across would make a recipient turns on the right switch.
  2. Do an Easy Craft or a Small One Maybe when you're on Pinterest you can find a teeny tiny thing to make. Or something that will be done quickly. Or something that involves gluing one thing to another. The easy peasy stuff that looks good can get the ball rolling. Something like this where you are rubbing on a vinyl cling and filling a frame with something. Quick and cute.
  3. Make a Whole New Craft Maybe your stitchy mojo is gone--try knitting! Or jewelry making. Or card stamping. You get the idea. Don't force your one hobby to carry all your creativity.
  4. Start Something New As a serial starter, this is very appealing. I just seem to get momentum from new beginnings. 
  5. Finish Something What's that you say? Having too many projects causes you anxiety? Well, then, look for the project that is closest to being done and just work on it until you finish. That finish will give you a boost and you'll be on to finishing the next thing.
  6. Schedule Time to Craft Unless you're retired (and even then) you're too busy. I know you are. We all are. My father used to tell my mother "you can't stuff 10 pounds of stuff in a five pound bag," which is the physical corollary to this. You can't do 28 hours of things in a day. If you have a million other things to do, you are not going to be able to stitch. Put it on your calendar. Seriously. Tomorrow, I'm heading to a stamp party. It's on my calendar!
  7. Do It First If you come home from work and then do the dishes and clean up the house and do the myriad other things that need doing, you are going to be too tired to stitch. So skip the dishes. Unless you have some kind of infestation, the dishes can wait. Do those when you don't have the energy to go on. 
  8. Go to a Museum I think this is the 3-D version of No. 1. You can be inspired by other people's craft. I once took my six year old niece to the Brandywine River Museum. She raced through it in about 45 minutes. I thought I had failed miserably bringing her there, but when we got home she asked if she could draw. And I took out her paper and crayons and she drew for hours. Literally hours. If a six year old can be inspired by the Wyeth family, your local museum might work for you.
  9. Fondle Your Threads Pretty pictures are one thing to get you inspired, but sometimes you need textures too. Looking at the rainbow of colors you've amassed in silk and cotton and petting the angora and very velvet (oh, that sounds dirty) may stimulate (I'm not doing it on purpose, I swear) your creativity. (oh, is that what we're calling it now?)
  10. Take a Class Letting someone else make some of the decisions, and in fact tell you what to do, may be the jump start you're looking for. That's one of the things I love most about my jewelry making classes--I'm more the conduit than the creator. I'm putting someone else's idea into action (with my own colors, natch). It takes some of the thinkiness out of the equation.
  11. Revisit Successes Look at the things you've made. If you've given a lot of them away, reread old blog posts to see your record. Sometimes looking at one piece, or a series of pieces, will motivate you to finish one that is similar or part of the series. 
  12. Turn Off the TV The tv is just a symbol here. Maybe you are spending too much time on Facebook or Pinterest (irony). Turn off the electronics and pick up the analog needle and thread. 
  13. Turn On the TV I stitch more when the television is on. Much more. But the dude reads a lot so we don't have the tv on very often (seriously we go weeks without turning it on) (sometimes I just turn it on so that it won't stop working completely). Maybe you're like me and you'd stitch if the idiot box was on. Seriously there is something about my hands that can't keep still if I am just sitting there.
  14. Live Through It Maybe you've got big heavy stuff going on in your life or even small annoying things. This too shall pass. You'll get back to it when you are ready.
  15. Get Help My health system requires my doctors to ask during regular exams if I feel safe at home or if I'm falling down a lot or if I've lost interest in things I used to enjoy. Pay attention to that last one. It's a sign of depression. And if you need help, go get it. You're worth it.