Monday, January 28, 2008

Oh the weather outside is frightful......

It's currently sitting somewhere below -30c, with windchill below -40 in the city that I live in, and just darn cold. I spend 20 minutes freezing on a train platform this morning, and was *this* close to getting frostbite in my toes when a train finally decided to show up, and bring me into work. The weather turned sometime when I was in the gym yesterday and isn't expected to get any better until the end of the week.

It's great weather for cross-stitching though, and I've put a list of February goals together for the end of the week:

February goals:
1) Finish 1 page of Alhambra (page 6 - bottom left)
2) Finish 1 Christmas Ornament
3) Finish 1 Blog Candy gift - I have one started, but it doesn't suit the next person on the list, so we'll see whether I finish one or two this month.

January's goals were to:
1) Finish 1 page (page 9) of Alhambra
2) Finish the two pay it forward gift

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The great ketchup adventure

I've had a recipe for ketchup for several years now, and I've always *meant* to try it. I ran across the ketchup recipe again the other day, and since today was supposed to be terribly cold and snowy here, I thought I'd give it a go. It's basically tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices, simmered for several hours and then blended smooth. The recipe I have takes *a lot* of spices - cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cumin, and just about every thing else in the spice rack. It also takes a quarter cup of hot sauce. The ketchup turned out well - it's a nice consistency, and it's reasonably tasty - except that the quarter cup of hot sauce packs quite a punch! I've now got a great vat of ketchup with a definite kick to it.

In other news, I finished a page of Watergarden this weekend - I was getting a bit sore working on Pyra, and decided to switch back to cross stitch for a bit. The challenge with beading is that the beads have to be on a flat surface, meaning that most of the time you're crouched over them, which tends to give back and neck pains fairly quickly. I thought working on cross stitch again would give me a bit of a break from that.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pay it forward gift received

Thanks for all of your lovely comments on Pyra. The pattern is from A Muse Ink, and works similar to cross stitch, as the pattern is coded to a specific brand of bead colours. The stitch is called peyote stitch, and is a brick work pattern in which each bead is string through two in the previous row. Once you get the first few rows done, it's actually very easy.

My first pay-it-forward gift arrived today at Vicki's house. The tassle at the bottom of my Christmas ornament earlier in the year was such a hit that I decided to adapt it for the gift. The pattern is an old Tom Pudding freebie that I think Dani pointed out to me years ago.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pyra Update

As Heather suggested, I'm taking a little break from Alhambra, and I got a couple hours in on Pyra tonight. I don't think I've provided an update in a while, so here she is. I still have about another third to go at the bottom, mostly swirls of hair, but you can now see her whole face!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stitching Update

I tried to post this once before, but something caused my computer to freeze up, so I thought I'd try again. I've been stitching quite a bit this week, and managed to get both Pay It Forwards in the mail! I'm hoping that there won't be any postal glitches, and that both Carol and Vicky will soon have new treats.

I'm also ...just... about done with page 9 of Alhambra, meaning that all of my January goals should be met in plenty of time. I'm trying to decide if I should plow on ahead with Alhambra for the rest of the month, or get a little stitching time in on either La Epoche Nouveau or Pyra before setting some February goals.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

PIF Received - and Updates

I opened my mailbox this week to find a stunning pinkeep from Carol. I'm truly in awe of her finishing on this one - the pinkeep has a lovely cording around the outside in addition to the pins, and I know if I attempted something so complicated I wouldn't get it looking right. It's a Waxing Moon Design called Winter Cardinal.

I also have an update on La Epoche Nouveau - the Dimples Design piece I'm working on. Although the picture doesn't do it justice, the blending filament and beads are making it very sparkly.

I've managed to complete one of the two PIF's for this month, and am hoping to have the other one completed shortly so I can send them both out.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

More Alhambra and 2008 Goals

I manged to get quite a bit done on Alhambra in the last week or so - the holidays provided me with some time off from work, and my classes don't start up again until this week, which means I have some extra time on my hands to spare. I'm hoping to get Alhambra finished shortly, and then continue work on Watergarden, which has been a WIP for longer than I care to admit. Watergarden is a lot more confetti stitching than Alhambra is, and so Alhambra has become my favourite out of the two.

I've never really outlined stitching goals in the past, but I thought I'd lay them out this year:

1) Finish Alhambra Garden
2) Finish Watergarden
3) Start Egypt Garden (Chatelaine)
4) Start Angel Proclamation (Mirabilia)
5) Finish 12 pay it forward or blog candy items
6) Finish 6 Christmas Ornaments

To do this, in January I need to:
1) Finish 1 page (page 9) of Alhambra
2) Finish the two pay it forward gifts

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The new finish

I was so busy over the holidays that I forgot to share my new finish. This is "Russian Nights Sampler" by Bestitched, and it's been a WIP for some time. It got more attention after my trip to Russia this summer. It's entirely stitched in DMC, and it was a pretty quick stitch, even on the black fabric.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Last Ornament Exchange Was Received

The last of my ornaments made it - I was getting a bit worried that it had been swallowed up by the post office somewhere along the way. It was for the TWBB ornament exchange, and I liked that the outside batting puffed up so nicely.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Ornament....

I finished this up over the holidays, and made the glass bead above the tassle. I'm pretty happy with how the whole thing turned out.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

And the Blog Candy winners are.....

Christine, Monique, Barbara and Heather.

I'll be contacting the winners in the next day or so to get contact information, or you can drop me a line at caycay at shaw dot ca