Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More stubborn than the weather

Idaho, like much of the country, has been experiencing some wild and abnormal weather lately. We spent several weeks in negative temps, highs in the single digits, with snow staying on the ground and sheets of ice on the roads. Since our van died (affectionately known as the snow toboggan), I've been driving the truck. I AM that person who can't park a truck, being relegated to the very last spot, taking up two because I can't pull in straight, and has to do a 13 point turn to get out of said spot. My deepest apologies to those who try and park around me - I deserve your head shakes and grimaces as you wait for me to get turned around :-)

For the past few years, new release pictures have been taken in my backyard. Even in winter, I've been able to set up the wreaths and florals on the grass, and bundle up in a heavy coat to get just the right shot. Since the snow has been hanging around, I haven't been able to do that this month, and I have been putting off cover pictures. Yesterday, I could take it no more! I disassembled my dining room, set up every portable light I could find, and got the pictures done!!! The cat ran off with most of my florals, and sat on every new release model that I left on a flat surface, but they're done!!! I'm not ready to share all of them, yet, but will give you a quick preview of one of them:

The fabric and threads are all here for the next big design. I have been happily stitching away on the fat half of fabric. Putting in that first stitch, on such a big canvas, is always intimidating and exciting! The fabric and thread creators have all been warned about the yards and yards and yards that I am using, and I am excited to share the new designs with you... in a few weeks. Some teasers: it is a companion piece to a design from the 'early days', I have been promising it for years, and it will be stitched in GAST thread in brown and red.

Last weekend I had the reminder of how much I respect single parents. Hubby went on a men's retreat, and the munchkin and I had a few days together as mommy and daughter. I have been getting through an awful cold, which meant we had movie day on Saturday. All day Saturday. One of our favorite movies is "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", and I giggle while the munchkin is singing along with the songs, and counting which brothers are in the scenes. She got to watch "Singing in the Rain" for the first time, and she laughed out loud through much of it.

School lessons are back on track, new curriculum has started arriving for her 3rd grade year, and I am ever so grateful for the inquisitive, thoughtful, and downright BUSY child that the Lord has given. She is teaching me love, patience, understanding, patience, encouragement, patience, compassion, patience, to laugh at myself... and a true appreciation of grace and mercy.

Next week - I go coffee free. You have all been warned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Insanity is the sound of a metronome

Recently we added piano lessons to the munchkin's weekly school plan. We found an old piano on craigslist, set it up in the living room, and brought in the most fascinating little battery controlled black box. It's not one of the older metronomes, with the swinging pendulum - I could see the cat tackling that and it being a short lived part of our home. It's one of the ones you can spin the dial to change the tempo and then flip a switch to change the tone. It goes fast, slow, fast again, REALLY fast, then quiet, loud, kind of in the middle, REALLY loud, and then it goes up on a shelf. A high shelf. Turned off.

One joy of the season in our home is sugar cookies. This is the only time of year that I make them, because I could eat dozens of them in one sitting. Royal icing is too tempting for me to resist. I love the fun of rolling out the dough, then playing cookie-cutter-tetris, trying to fit in as many shapes and waste as little dough as possible. Who am I kidding - dough doesn't get wasted in this house. Somehow we ended up with pastel green trees, and yellow gingerbread men, but they were all tasty.

This past year I have decided to experiment more in the kitchen. Tonight it started with a pork taco recipe that was done in the slow cooker, topped with queso blanco crumbles, and served with a fresh diced mango salsa, all on warm corn tortillas. It was really yummy, and reminded me of a mutton dish I had in India (a couple decades ago). Rich flavors, a hint of sweet, but a LOT of work to prepare the sauce for the crock pot. Hubby was a fan, and went back for seconds. Munchkin gave me another "meh", sideways thumb, but did manage to finish her meal. We're trying to encourage her to try new things, within reason, and if it's not too spicy (or something that the cat wouldn't eat), then what is served is what is to eat. Thankfully she is a good sport, and has found quite a few things that she enjoys and to which she will give an enthusiastic thumbs up. We haven't had to resort to frozen pizza, yet!

Stitching has not been a priority over the past week, even though I would have loved to make more progress on the new hymn design. The end is in sight, and I likely have only 8 or so more hours to work on it. At this point, on the second stitching, I have the border mostly memorized and don't have to look at the pattern often. The two pieces at the framer should be done this week, and it's exciting to be that much closer to new releases!

Last week I added a note to the end of my post that I wanted to do a giveaway, and would love to hear from you about your favorite holiday memory or stitchy story. Thank you to all who emailed. I laughed, cried, felt comforted, and shared in a lot of your lives. I couldn't pick just one, so I'm picking two. Congrats to Tricia and Brenda! This was so much fun for me, keep an eye out and I'll do these again throughout the year.