Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hearth Cooking

Yesterday I attended my second Hearth Cooking class at the George Read House in New Castle De.This was my second time and Debbie's first but not her last time to attend. It was way cool. We prepared and cooked a feast as it would have been in the 18th century. Everything was done over the fire. No modern conveniences save a current day hand whisk used to make the whipped cream. We created dishes like Beef a la Lindstrom, Fruktsoppa, Knackebrod, Svensk Salad, Roast Tail of Pike, Vegetable Hutspot and more.


The Vegetable Hutspot
The Roasted Tail of Pike (we had to substitute Tilapia)

Beef a la Lindstrom

The Orange Cake

Here is the Fruktsoppa.   The recipe Debbie and I made.      After cooking, yes, we took the pot to sit in the snow to cool.   When it was time to eat, the Fruktsoppa was still not chilled so we improvised with nesting it is a bowl filled with snow.   We also whipped the cream and set the bowl of the whipped cream in the snow to keep til dessert time. 
Our table....the photos don't do it justice!  There was so much food, much of it on a back table.

Well. looks like I enjoyed it!    

Other items of interest were the historical significance of the house.   Here is the bell system that was ahead of it's time in the late 1700's/early 1800's.  Each wire leads to a room, each room has a lever to 'flip' to ring the bell notifiying the kitchen and servants which room (of the 22 rooms) the servants should report to.   Pretty cool.
Other neat shots.   Photography in the house itself it prohibited so my shots are only of the kitchen and washroom area.   The John Read House is currently shrouded in scaffolding as they are in the midst of a $1M renovation project so I did not take any photos of the outside.   Check their website.   It truly is a treasure and worth a stop if you are in area.
All that and I managed to stitch a bit before and a bit after.......The Between the Sheets Sampler is not necessary my favorite but I find myself thinking about getting home and stitching up the next part.   I think it is the whole band sampler thing.   Just like alphabets, you get to see accomplishment so quickly.    It is either that or the fact that I will not see the ladies of the group I took the class with until April and I want to be able to show lots of progress.    Either way, it's progress.

Week 9 - My Small Changes

This week my small change is to eat breakfast every day.   It is not just to eat something for breakfast but to have breakfast.  We have all heard the benefits of eating breakfast and I do each breakfast each morning.......hmmm, sometimes it is toast with jelly in the car, somethings instant oatmeal thinned to a drinkable consistency in the car, sometimes a breakfast bar in the car, sometimes a bagel with cream cheese in the car......get the picture.    I arrive at work 50 to 60 minutes early everyday.......so what will be the big deal to arrive 40 to 50 minutes early each day?    I plan to sit at the table in my kitchen, eat my breakfast, drink my juice and cup of coffee # 3 or 4 and just have a general calm before the storm of the commute and the fire drill of the day.    I know when I used to walk 2 miles each morning.....on the days I walked I had a better day.   It set the pace for the day.  So here's to me and my Cherrios!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Peat and RePeat it what I say

I have heard people say they really enjoyed a certain aspect of a project or a project itself.   That is how I feel about the trees here.   They have been fun to stitch and since I am so into the instant gratification I love how fast they work up.  They also make me think of southern plantations I guess because they remind me of the cypress trees I saw in Charleston SC and all the moss.


Now I don't know if I am in love with them so much that I will enjoy frogging and restitching them.    Seems I have 3 - not one, not two, but 3 - "T"'s as a pattern symbol.   Since the color photo is only a copier photo and not a professional photo it was hard to tell.    With all the possible letters in the alphabet and possible symbol choices..... I ask why use "T" for three different fibers?!?!?   Words of wisdom: I take away from this the need to re-read the instructions and my notes when picking up a project from a class taken months ago.  The last photo on the right is the correct T that I will re-stitch the trees with.   Now I am beginning to understand why so many of the gals who have already stitched this have complained about running out of floss......

A blast from the past....

Yesterday I received a call from a long time friend. There was a time when she and I were inseperable. We have been through thick and thin together with spouses, children, illness, family and pets. Our sons were joined at the hip. She'd call me...."their own their way your direction".......and I'd call back a couple of days later and tell her they were heading her way!  

Our phone call took me back to all years. My memory was flooded with all the warm feelings and memories and nostalgia for what really was a simpler time. Only we didn't know it then. As we chatted, I wiped down the kitchen, swiffered the downstairs, dusted, tidied the newspapers and pile of mail..... I remembered how as young mothers we were able to socialize over the phone while still doing dishes and housework and watching the kids. Every emergency in my life, Diane was there. She is the one that stayed with me to clean up at my mother's after the wake and then came back that night to help eat the leftovers!   She is the one I went to the morning after my daughter was put in ICU.  Diane was there when my husband was burnt and rumors flew from the factory someone has died.  (not true) 

I remember meeting Diane in 1974.  I was probably 17 and she was probably 13.  I had to pass the "twin test" for my boyfriend, (Mr. Wonderful).   He brought Diane and her identical twin to meet me at Gino's where I worked.....to get their approval that I could date him!  

Unfortunately as the children went off to college, divorces came onto the scene and working full time in different states, we grew apart. When did life get so hectic that the mid-night coffee runs stopped?   or the 'it's 5 o'clock somewhere margarita' ended?   Diane has always been good for a laugh and lights up the room with her vitality.  Sad, but true. Interests change, social circles change but memories etched on your heart don't.
  
The photo is one Diane brought to me when she came to a Christmas Open House I had.   It's our kids and a cousin and a neighbor too, in her back yard three homes ago, 25 plus years ago and a millions smiles, tears and memories ago.

Week 8 - My Small Changes

So maybe it sounds like no big deal but this week my small change will be to make sure to include labels with all my postings. Silly right? Well not when you are looking for something. I have been negligent in the past to do this and have spend the past week going back over 3 years of posts, labeling and refining existing labels.  And I am not done yet.  No bid deal, but then it wouldn't be a small change if it were.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brass Orchids!

Or rather brass and orchids.   Obviously, the orchids first.    I have wanted to try my hand at orchids for the last several years.   Ever since the House and Garden Tour in Wilmington and the hostess at one home insisted her orchids grew with neglect!  She assured us, once you find a place they like.....leave them.    Several of  ladies in my stitching group grow orchids and it got me thinking......why not!  The ladies in my group are so nice I know they will be able to give me sound advice if needed.  So off to Home Depot I go today and bought a couple.   Now I hope the horticultural affecianatoes of the orchid world  don't get all nerved out because I bought Home Depot orchids.   I am just testing the waters here.

OK, so now the brass part.    My father had a passion for antique brass candlesticks.    I remember each Christmas he would sit for hours polishing away until the brass shone almost white if that is possible.  I also remember road trips to some obscure antique shop where someone had told him a pair was for sale.    It was not just any brass candlesticks.   These are English, the beehive series and have push-ups.
   He also had the whole diamond series - my brother has those.  After both my parents passed away my brother, sister and split up the antiques.   On the table  is MY SHARE of the candlesticks! except for the couple of pairs I have already passed to one daughter.   You can't imagine how beautiful 3 times that many looked all gleaming with greens around them at the holidays.  I have to admit, I have neglected the polishing over the years.   For some unknown reason I have been missing my parents alot lately and with my father's birthday on the 26th it just seemed like something I had to do this weekend.....to polish the candlesticks.   It might of had something to do with rearranging furniture but anyway.    Some on the table are shined and some are yet to be polished.   

I tried to polish just one half of this one to show the difference.    Below are my cricket boxes.  If the candlesticks are getting polished so are the cricket boxes.   I can't believe how much the one on the right gleams!     

and my accomplice.......now back to complete the task and then scrub and scrub the hands and nails so I can get in some stitching time tonight.....

Finished the Kite Runner last night and have down loaded The Glass Castle and hope to get some reading time in too.

The white wine candles in my header photo are in recognition of my 35th wedding anniversary on Monday.   In my mind, I think I am 35! not married for 35 years.   I can't believe it.   Good times, bad times, and better times but that is what it is all about.   Working through those rough times together and not throwing in the towel.  It just makes the good times all that much better.   I told Mr. W early in February to not waste money on me for Valentines Day or our Anniversary.  I would be happy with one rose and not the gigantic bouquet like last year.  I said to put the money he would spend on the principal of the mortgage and give me the present of an earlier retirement!  He has become quite the gift giver in the last few years.  I'll let you know if he listened.   If I had it to do again........I would, maybe with a few changes along the way.  But, yes, I would marry Mr. Wonderful again!  Sappy I know.  After all this time we just kind of get each other.

WIPs

Well I refrained from starting a new project this week at my Secret Squirrel stitching group.   Instead I pulled out my Nan Tyson Euler "Between the Sheets" sampler from a class this past fall.  Until this week I had done no more than we did in the class.   Even though I really wanted to start something new, I am trying to stick to my resolve to shorten that WIP list.   

I love the colors and the feel of the silks.  I laid in my basting lines - which can be a godsend! and I am on my second time around with the satin stitch trianges.   Yeah, I got all the dark blue in all the way across and started filling in the lighter blue and somewhere along the way I was off a thread!  Out it all comes and not I am alternating sewing the light blue and dark  so I get the placement right.   Seems like my stitching can be all over the place within a single project as well as with many projects.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I just had to deviate - Edited for Catherine

from my self-appointed path!    I have been diligent with working from home today.   We are off for President's Day and I truly took the weekend off by not doing paperwork or logging in remotely to type minutes or schedule meetings or reply to emails......no, I set that aside for today.  Well seems that since Mr. Wonderful upgraded my laptop to Windows 7 (or 8, or whatever # we are up to), I cannot log into work remotely!  Drat and double drat.   In an effort to get something accomplished, I have been working away and emailing the files to myself at work but this is not the best scenario especially since this little upgrade is bogging everything down and I am timing out before files can upload.   I first thought it was just my laptop but even my husband's desktop is slow.   Is everyone who is off today on the internet creating a traffic jam on the information highway?

Some of the work I really need to do involves me incorporating pdf's from the network drive into the minutes.   That's not happening today.  I am sorry to be such a grouse about this but I have little understanding of how these things work, I just want them to and I have less patience when they don't.   This is just making me eat my own words about putting things off.   I should have checked this out yesterday when my personal computer guru was here. 

Even though I promised myself I wouldn't spend time on the internet and blogging today, I just had to stop trying to work when it wasn't working!!! and do something productive......like make some homemade pasta fajule (spelling?) and to start a new stitching project and update my blog appearance for the spring.

For now, it's some soup and some stitching....then a bit more of work or maybe I will sew my new curtains.  Now there's a thought!   Looks like I have to take my laptop into our IT guys.   I will need a patch or something.   This is similar to when I got the laptop which operates at 64-bit and my company is at 32-bit.   I know we are not even on Vista at work and my laptop is now at Windows 7 so I will let Dan the IT Man work his majic tomorrow. 

Here is my soup!  I don't know what Army I thought I was cooking for because I made gallons.   I got carried away with the pasta and should have only added half the box but oh well.   Tastes really good with some parmesian cheese on top.  (Edit - Catherine, I just had to laugh right out loud when I read your comment about my recipe. I don't know that I have one, I just throw what seems to be the appropriate stuff in the pot. Since it was pretty darned good this time I will try to write it down and pass it to you but don't look for it till next weekend.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week Seven - My small changes

Looking back at my small changes so far this year, my twist on a New Year's Resolution......some changes are for mental health and less stress in my life, some changes are for streamlining workloads, some are for hopes at better health.   So my change this week is to pledge to drink more water.   Silly you may think but my normal total fluid intake for the day is usually 3 or 4 cups of coffee.   Not good for the body functions!   Water does so much for your body on a cellular level, to keep you regular (sorry to go there), to keep your skins clear, and more......in fact I just heard on the news as they were looking at Valentine's Day to do, water healths maintain good breath, as opposed to bad breath!  Who knew?

I do have a finish to share.    I am not sure what I am going to do with it.  

My choices are to stitch this up in a mattress pad finish, or I have been longing to make a floss tag, or, the more likely choice will be to frame it with the others in the series and hang them in my red,white & blue powder room.  Not sure if I will add any buttons to this or not.   It was nice to have something I could pick up and complete quickly.  I like that instant gratification.    This was a nice little purchase from Salty Yarns last May.  Charts and fabric for all three in a neat little package.  Just the right size for a quick pickup and finish.    Even though I could work on my etui top, I am starting the second in the series, the alphabet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wow-wee What a great day....

First I stitched for a couple of hours.....always the preferred way to start the day.   Here is my progress on the six and final side of my etui.   This is the top.....

Our guild meeting was in part devoted to how to finish the etui.....this is going to be a daunting task.  Making it even more difficult is the little detail  that I put my assembling instructions someplace so safe that I can't find them.   Thank heavens for my stitching friend Pat.   She is copying the assembling instructions and will give them to me at our Secret Squirrel Stitchers get together (that is not the real name....it is the name Mr. Wonderful gave the group)  

So we all know that leads to two scenarios......first I will most assuredly find my finishing instructions on Friday right where I put them.    Second, it lead me to a craft sort this afternoon after I got home.   I was so sure I would find  my instructions so I had to look.  It didn't find them but it lead to more purging.   I did some kitting up of some NBS (never been started).   I know I will never get to some of the older patterns and I am thinking I will have to come up with some sort of giveaway once I get my extras in some sort of order.   So it was a good thing to have to look for directions and to thin out the stash at the same time.  It is also fun to rediscover your stash! 

Next, my little step-grandson stopped over on his way to his Blue and Gold Cub Scout Dinner.   I had never seen him in his uniform so of course that meant photos.  He is really enjoying Cub Scouts.   Many thanks and much appreciation to all those troop leaders out there. 


My husband did an upgrade to my laptop and it is running faster than ever and all spiffy with Windows 7. 

At my guild meeting today, I got my first copy of Inspirations.   WOW  What a great magazine and worth every penny.   I just did the first quick once over and know I will really enjoy looking at this magazine again and again.   It is a definite keeper. 

And now for the one SAL I can keep up with......the TUSAL or Totally Useless Stitch Along.  Here is my new moon status of my ort jar. 



And lastly, I did some greeting card making. I sat at the dining room table and assembled while my husband works on my laptop. Quality time!

All before dinner and more stitching time!