Love

I imagine there are people out there who may visit my blog, hoping to see stitching-related posts. And I know I don't post about stitching very often, despite my business name being splashed across the banner. And I also know that those who happen to read my blog may be awfully tired of seeing photos of my daughters show up (again), but I just can't help myself. I'm in love with my girls, and I'm so very proud of them!

Warning: I've got a few photos of Bre I'd love to share, so if you want to exit now, I won't be offended. 😉

Bre visited a friend recently (Hi, Katrina!) who made her this adorable headband. Truth be told, the fact that Bre is so willing to wear it for her friend is causing me mild vexation, bc I fought with her constantly when she was little to get her to wear cute headbands… but she always won, and by the time we were finished duking it out, I was ready to burn all the headbands in the universe. (But don't worry, Katrina, I won't burn yours, bc it's so cute.) Anyway, before Bre left for school, I forced her to stay put while I took some pictures of her. 🙂

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Heehee, I love it when she feels ridiculous.

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I love you, Bre. Even though you vex me.

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An Early Celebration

I have a friend who has been getting me into trouble lately, and her initials are Miss Katrina. She's got me hooked on these:

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They're Cadbury Mini Eggs, and I've eaten them for breakfast and dessert for the past three days. (What, you don't have dessert after breakfast?) I've never been a big chocolate addict, but for some reason I can't stop eating them.

Katrina, you are a very bad influence, but I think you already knew that.

Which brings me to my next topic: Easter. I found myself humming an old hymn today, called He Lives, and I thought that a few of the lyrics would fit perfectly into a little Easter sampler. Feel free to download this by clicking on the link below, and not the actual image. (Keep in mind that the image colors you see on your monitor are not true to the actual DMC colors used.. they're similar, but not exact.)

Download Rejoice

Rejoice color

If this is something you plan on stitching for Easter, then I so hope you enjoy your time spent with it. But whatever you choose to work on, don't forget to have these by your stitching spot:

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ETA: For the lyrics to He Lives and to read a bit about the composer, Alfred Ackley, please visit http://www.popularhymns.com/he_lives.php. And Happy early Easter!

Mule Zone

Since Bre was in high school, she's been telling me I need to go to one of the many concerts she attends at various music venues. She's invited me several times, and I've always given her an emphatic NO, for no reason other than I thought it would make her really nervous if I said yes.

And because I figured any concert she went to would be filled with teenaged hooligans who might mug me in the bathroom.

And because I could get jostled about and spill my coffee travel mug.

And because it would be noisy, and I don't like to be away from my stitching for too long.

And mostly someone might get their sweat on my arm, or worse yet, in my coffee travel mug.

It turns out that Bre wasn't going to accept NO for an answer any more, so she invited both myself and her dad to one of these hoodlum-fests recently, and laid it all on the line by saying to us: "I will even buy your tickets."

Through skeptical eyes, Mike and I looked at each other… and agreed. Railroad Earth, here we come. (That was the band's name, btw.)

Hours before the concert, my Bible was open and I was asking the Lord to help me navigate through this night that was sure to end in my husband saying to me, "I always knew the girls would end up taking after your side of the family." And when it was time to leave, I was filled with trepidation, thinking I'd better not go into the concert hall's bathroom alone.

The night certainly did not go as expected. When we got there, Bre introduced us to any friend she happened to run into (and there were plenty), and each friend of hers was nicer than the next. When the show started, Bre spent her time bw watching the band from the balcony with Mike and I, to weaving and dancing her way to the front-and-center of the stage, where most of her friends were.

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Railroad Earth is, for lack of a better way to describe them, sort of a hybrid bw electric and bluegrass, and Mike and I really enjoyed listening to them! We were quite content to be up in the balcony, people-watching and waving back at Bre when she would turn to look up at us with her friends.

When the second set started, Mike and I moved to the lower floor, off to the side. This was where the majority of  the "more mature" people stood, and this was our view:

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Just when I was wondering where Bre had gone to, she suddenly appeared next to me and pulled on my arm. "You're coming with me!"  she shouted. I felt my inner mule immediately rise to the surface, and I stood firm to the ground. "No, I don't think so!" I shouted back, trying to be heard above the musicians and crowd. "Yes, you're going to come with me and you're going to have fun!" Bre yelled back. I felt Mike's unyielding palm in the middle of my back, pushing me toward Bre, while she had my arm in her evil grasp, tugging me through the blurry din of middle-aged ruffians.

I had no choice but to leave my comfort zone behind… the zone that filled me with blissful, sunshiny days of baking muffins in my Vera Bradley apron; of quiet afternoons on my stitching couch, drinking Starbucks Verona; of peaceful nights, listening to the strains of a Jane Austen movie wafting through our gingerbread-candle-scented home…

I had no choice but to enter The Crazy Zone:

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There I stood in the middle of the throng, with Breanna pointing at me with both of her beloved index fingers, shouting for all to hear, "MY MOM! IT'S MY MOM!" To my right and to my left I was getting high-fived, and a few even congratulated me on "my first concert." (As if *NSync doesn't count. Pshaw.)

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My new view of the show:

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After what seemed like an eternity, I decided to copy a few of Bre's dance moves, but since that was an epic fail, I eventually made my exit from the floor and beat a path through the mob to find Mike again (even though he was a concert-Judas and pushed me into what could have been my doom).

The music lasted about another hour or so, and then it was time to head out into the frigid air and make our way back to our gingerbread home, where all was good and right in the world.

Since that night, I've thought many times of my few brief moments on that crazy dance floor with Bre. And each time, I laugh and am so happy I did it. It's something I never in a million gabillion trazillion years would have done on my own., bc it's just not who I am. But I have to say, I wouldn't trade that fun, silly experience for anything.  When I'm old one day (Lord-willing) and look back on my life, I will no doubt see all the loveliness I had. And that night will be a blip on my mind's screen that takes me out of my peaceful bliss, and makes me laugh again.

But in the meantime, if I ever attend a concert with Bre again and have to go to the bathroom, hopefully Bre will be there to shout at my would-be muggers, "MY MOM! IT'S MY MOM!!" and they'll leave me and my coffee travel mug alone.

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ETA: Bre tells me I have been shunned by the jam-band world for describing Railroad Earth's music as "electric bluegrass." According to the text she just sent to me, it is technically described as follows: Jamgrass, bluegrass, Americano/improvisational with rock and roll, jazz, celtic, and cajun influences.

I stand corrected.

Gingerbread Muffins

I had several emails about this recipe, so I'm posting it here and over at Four Seasons Cafe. The original recipe didn't call for gluten-free flour, so if you're not gluten-intolerant and can have the pleasure of using regular flour, then you'll be just fine not changing a thing in the recipe. If you do choose to use gluten-free flour, I've had great luck with Domata Living Flour (which already has xantham gum included).

If you're not a fan of gingerbread, this isn't the muffin for you! 🙂 But I happen to love the taste, and these muffins are just as rich as a home-baked gingerbread cookie. I like them served warm with a bit of real, unsalted butter cut into the middle. And if you want to sprinkle more sugar on top, then go for it! You won't be sorry!

Download Gingerbread Muffins

You can click the link above to print it out onto either paper or cardstock, and then you may wish to cut it down to size.

Gingerbread Muffins

I hope you enjoy the way your house smells! And these taste even better if there's snow outside your kitchen window. 😉

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Brother’s Keeper

This one has already made its rounds on the internet, but I'll go ahead and post it anyway. 🙂

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Stitch Count: 378 x 150

The model was stitched on 36 ct. Vintage Light Examplar by Lakeside Linens, and the threads used are by The Gentle Art and Crescent Colours:

Gentle Art:
Sarsaparilla
Nutmeg
Raven
Soot
Old Hickory
Wood Smoke
Wood Trail
Piney Woods (2 or 3 skeins)
Heirloom Gold
Grecian Gold
Brandy
Bluebell
Lambswool
Forest Glade
Endive
Espresso Bean (2 or 3 skeins)
Mulberry
Walnut
Cherry Bark
Oatmeal

Crescent Colours:
Bing Cherry
Zach Black
Wild Berries
Root Beer Float

All of the wording, with the exception of "Cain and Abel" on the first block, is done over 1 thread of linen.

I so enjoyed the designing of this particular piece, as it's been one I've wanted to do for a long time. It's nothing like I had planned, but I don't mind. Maybe one of these days I'll have a design turn out as I pictured it in my head!

ETA: Miss Margaret is my hero for stitching almost the entire model in about 10 days. Margaret, you astound me! If you want lots of inspiration for stitching samplers, head over to her blog (and see her precious kitty, Mia). 🙂

Also be sure to visit Nicole's blog too! Her stitching photos leave me drooling.. she helped me out with the model as well!

Muse

I designed Olga a while ago. She was just a spur-of-the-moment design, and I left it at that. Then one day, a dear friend sent me an email that simply said, "You need a Boris." So Boris came to be.

Then one day I designed Sergei. Sergei was intended to be a companion to Olga and Boris, and I left it at that. Then one day, that same dear friend said to me, "You need a Zoya. And Zoya needs to be a peacock."

So Maxim & Zoya came to be.

Maxim and Zoya MODEL tp

This will be released at the upcoming market in Nashville, and here is the supplies list for those who are interested:

Stitch count: 98 x 106

The model was stitched on Lakeside's 36 ct. Vintage Light Examplar (I love this color, bc it handles warm and cool colors within the same design effortlessly).

The threads used were Needlepoint Inc. silks in 933, 225, 993, 964, 344, 241, 222, 694, 692, 325, 244, 603, 565, 525, and 991.

Note: There are only 15 stitches that use the color 225, so you may want to use DMC 221 to save some change. In addition, the color 222 only uses 21 stitches, so an option is DMC 760.

Here is the DMC equivalent for the whole color palette: 3740, 221, 310, 646, 580, 472, 760, 832, 834, 924, 936, 3042, 3808, 3849, and Ecru.

Thanks for keeping Olga's social life active, Katrina. 😉

P.S. Those incredible scissors in the model photo are the newest ones by Kelmscott Designs, called The Devon Scissors.

Please Bring Christmas Back

We have finally gotten our winter weather! I love the snow, and I've missed it terribly, so when I woke up to the beautiful snowfall last weekend, I decided to make the most of it and bake my way to a holiday-smelling morning.

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These are gingerbread muffins, and they are the most melt-in-your-mouth muffins I've ever baked. And guess what. They're gluten-free, and if I you ate one and I didn't tell you that, you'd never know it. 🙂

Here's what it looked like outside my kitchen window…

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And here are the trees that line the street behind our house…

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I went into the living room and pulled the curtains back for sweet Tilly…

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She loves to sit on the back of my couch and look outside. I took this photo right after I took the one above, since I was standing directly over her…

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And to make it even more of a holiday, Miss Jill Rensel sent back my framed Bringing Home the Tree by Pineberry Lane!

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I love that etched moulding!

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I can't get Ella Fitzgerald's White Christmas out of my head.

I love this weather!