Monday!

Work has been turning me into a grump, so I decided that an attitude shift was in order. Last week, I tried really hard not to COMPLAIN and, you know what, it worked! I felt much more positive by week’s end.

It may also have helped that I got a lot of stitching time. On Friday, I brought my cross stitching to work and spent my lunch time stitching in the park. A stitch break was just what I needed.

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Friday night, I sewed my first pair of pajama pants (for Biggest)! It was pretty exciting.

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Stephanie and I hung out on Saturday. Lunch (Yum!), followed by a trip to the fabric store (Yay!), followed by afternoon cocktails (YUMMM!), followed by a quiet evening at home with TV and stitching (Perfection!). I am making good progress on this.

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Sunday was sooooooooooper productive. I spent almost all day in the kitchen (Fun!). I made:

  • chocolate zucchini bread
  • regular bread
  • spaghetti sauce (for this week)
  • more pickles (New recipe… this one is a keeper!)
  • meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans (for dinner)

I love productive days! I also did laundry, went grocery shopping, cleaned up the house, and made another pair of these…

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Oh, and look at my cute sewing buddy!

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Happy Monday!

Down by the river.

My office is next to a river. I found that if I squeeze through a gap in the overgrown bushes in just the right spot, there is a tiny beach.

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It’s not much to look at and is, unfortunately, strewn with trash, but I like to go there at lunch time. It’s a good place to take a breath and decompress. I suppose people know it’s there, but I like to think of it as my secret beach. I like to hear the waves crashing or just watch them ripple softly, depending on the day. I like listening to the leaves rustle overhead and the birds chirping. I like feeling the wind on my face. It even smells beachy. If I close my eyes, I can pretend that I’m at the ocean instead of just standing behind the bushes outside of an office building.

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Sometimes I go for a little walk. Lately, I’ve been trying to notice how the plants and trees are changing through the seasons and work on identifying them. For instance, this week I noticed that all of the Honeysuckle is gone and has been replaced by bunches and bunches of Queen Anne’s Lace. I guess it’s technically a weed, but I’ve always been a fan.

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Did you know that Queen Anne’s Lace is also called a wild carrot? I pulled one up to look at the root and it did indeed resemble a white carrot and it smelled like one too.

Did you also know that there are a few tiny purple blossoms on each flower? They almost look like a squished bug in this picture.

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Those purple blossoms are one way to tell the difference between Queen Anne’s Lace and Hemlock (which is poisonous!). The other is that Queen Anne’s Lace has hairy stems. See the things you can learn by taking a lunchtime walk?

Last night, I went to my first ever stitching group meeting! The ladies were so welcoming and I really enjoyed it.

We learned some specialty stitches and worked on Christmas ornaments. Here’s where I got with mine.

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I tried to use nontraditional Christmas colors. We are supposed to complete stitching by the next meeting so that we can work on finishing techniques. So fun! I think I will enjoy being a part of this group.

In a pickle.

We had a busy Saturday with lots of running around for appointments and a birthday party. I was feeling really crappy so went to bed early with my books. I finished Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Loved them!

I was still feeling sick on Sunday, so I dragged myself around and didn’t do much. I made my first ever batch of Refrigerator Pickles. Chopping cukes was kinda therapeutic.

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I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. They seem way too salty, but maybe they’ll mellow in the fridge. It was a really fun project!  Tom is a pickle fiend so I might give it another try this week.

The boys washed our cars and thought it was great fun. Why didn’t we think of this sooner? Entertainment + clean cars.

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I found Littlest quietly drawing by himself in the dining room with Coal next to him. It was pretty cute.

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When we were at my parent’s house a few months ago, my Mom gave me these old Tupperware things that she used to make Jello when I was little. The boys wanted to make Jello today, so I broke them out. I texted this picture to my sister and we got a kick out of seeing them. Who would have thought that a bunch of old Tupperware could bring back so many memories?

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TGIF!

Happy Friday!

While on the cruise, I rediscovered my love of reading. I plowed through The Hunger Games (probably the last person on Earth to read it) and The Other Boleyn Girl. Both were so good! Last night, the boys and I went to the library so that I could check out Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I am already half way through Catching Fire. I can’t put it down.

Today I ordered a new sewing machine and I am very excited! Although my Mom worked as a professional seamstress for many years, I never picked up her talents. I can’t wait for it to arrive. Homemade pajama pants for everyone!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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Ship Shape.

Hi Blog! We are back from our vacation, and what a vacation it was!

I was nervous about going on a cruise, but OH MAN(!), we had fun! The 8 days positively flew by.

The highlights were:

Being with my little family.

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Boogie boarding.

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Tom and Biggest dressing like twinsies.

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Boys in ties.

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Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert.

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Almost every night.

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The whitest softest sand.

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Finding one perfect shell.

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Nothing but water for as far as the eye could see.

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Celebrating a special couple’s 50th Anniversary.

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Towel animals.

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Reading from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory every night before bed.

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Hours by the pool.

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Me and Biggest winning $1000 at Bingo!

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So much color.

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Wearing my floppy straw hat.

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Trophies.

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A full moon over the water.

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Starting this.

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These three…

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… Always make me smile.

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What did I do to deserve this?

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Finish & Start & Summer & a Boat Trip

Hi Blog! I can’t believe that it has been so long since the last post!

Summer has been busy so far. Here’s what’s been going on…

The boys are enjoying camp; swimming and playing soccer and doing archery each day.

Littlest switched to a new TaeKwonDo school which is super intense.

We have had a lot of playdates.  Everyone is pooped by the end of the day.

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We found our first red strawberry, only to have it stolen by a chipmunk or some other pest the very next day.

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I got my hair cut by a Korean lady who didn’t speak much English. I told her I wanted VOLUME and she smiled and nodded and just started cutting away. Now I have bangs and a lot of layers. It’s growing on me.

This is how I usually find Tom and Coal.  Tom: reading. Coal: anywhere that Tom is.

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Good Old Llama (Littlest’s favorite stuffed animal during the baby/toddler years) was rediscovered and has been seen toted around the house again. I love him.

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I finally baked a good loaf of bread! (No pictures, Darn, but trust me!)

Raven Bewitched is finished! This was SO FUN! Definitely my most relaxing stitch ever.

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We are leaving this Sunday for an 8 day cruise to celebrate Tom’s parent’s 50th Anniversary. I have never been on a cruise before and am nervous about 1. getting sea sick and 2. being bored.

To deal with #1, I went to Target and bought every kind of motion sickness medicine that I could get my hands on. To deal with #2, I am packing many books AND a new cross stitch project. So…

Introducing…

Floral Heart Pillow by Modern Folk!

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I’ve admired his patterns for awhile. I clearly have a thing for monochromatic symmetrical traditional looking pieces, so this fits the bill. Doesn’t it look like it will be such a bliss-out-relaxing-no-thinking-at-all stitch?

NEW PROJECT! YAY!

School’s out!

Today is a good day. Do you want to know why? Here’s why.

It is the last day of school! Actually, next Monday is officially the last day, but we are letting the boys SKIP on Monday! Rebels! Tonight we are going to go out to dinner to celebrate and maybe (definitely) even go for ice cream after.

Crabby Cross Stitch Lady called me to tell me that she found ONE remaining skein of Hickory Sticks! It was mixed in with another color. How lucky is that? How great is she? I LOVE CRABBY CROSS STITCH LADY FOREVER!

It’s Friday! This weekend we have a gazillion appointments and playdates and errands to run, but it’s still the weekend!

Since it’s the end of the year, the boys have been emptying their desks and bringing home all kinds of stuff. I’ve been enjoying reading through Littlest’s writing journal. This particular entry speaks for itself.

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Happy Friday!

Summer!

The last week of school is finally here. The boys (and I) are excited for Summer to start. I always seem to think that things will slow down over the Summer, but really they go just as fast.

On Saturday, I got it into my head that we needed a new couch for the living room. I was hemming and hawing about it, but then we came up with the brilliant idea to move the furniture from the family room to the living room and get new family room furniture instead. I don’t know what I was thinking when we got light colored furniture for the family room last year. Boys + expensive light colored couch = very bad idea. So, I picked out a new couch and it wasn’t custom order and it was in stock and, lo and behold, it was delivered on Monday and we are already busy breaking it in. How easy was that?

You can’t really see the couch in this picture, but Littlest and I are cuddling on it here. It’s huge! And comfy!

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We still need to find a chair though. Decisions.

So since I was on a redecorating rampage, I also got it into my head that I wanted to paint the desk black. It was previously a kooky chinoiserie number. Here it is in progress.

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I love it!

And in other news, Tom spotted the first tomato this morning.

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And, here I am stitching on the train again.

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Can I tell you how ANNOYED I am? I went to re-buy the threads that had blown away in the wind and the store was OUT of Hickory Sticks by Crescent Colours. UGH! Now I have to order online and pay to ship just one skein of floss. I suppose I could substitute the color, but the perfectionist in me is having a hard time coming to terms with this. I know. Someone (me) needs to take a chill pill.

Frameaholic.

So, I have this problem where I keep buying old frames at yard sales and thrift stores. I love the ones that are really beaten up and chunky and held together with big ancient looking nails and wrangly knotty wires in the back.

Then it occurred to me that I also have this problem of finishing my cross stitch projects and then not doing anything with them.

Can you see where I’m going here?

This morning, I had some extra time so I pulled out my finishes (and almost finishes) and frames and played a little game of match up!

Voila!

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First up, Raven Bewitched!

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Isn’t she bewitching? I got this lovely for $2 at the neighborhood yard sale last weekend. It is chunky and solid. The old man I got it from said that it used to hold a picture of his Grandfather, who was “quite a famous man.”  I started to ask him who he was, but got distracted (probably by another treasure). You can see the spot on the bottom where there was probably a placard with this famous man’s name. Now I’m wondering who he was.

Next up, my cute marriage sampler. Remember this one? I love her.

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This frame is understated and has a pretty antique patina. There is a price tag on the side for $7, so that must be what I paid. For once, I left enough fabric around the edges so that it won’t be a nightmare to frame.

And, finally, good old Quaker JOY.

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I got this frame at a really cool architectural salvage place in Philadelphia. I don’t remember what I paid for it, but it was more than I’d typically spend. I couldn’t resist because the wood was so pretty and the design so simple. This will need some kind of mat board to hide the stingy fabric edge.

Ta-da!

Frame hoarding pays off!