25 September 2012

Another finish

After two weeks of trying to finish, I managed, on Saturday night, after Babygirl had gone to sleep, to finish the September square. It felt like finishing something major. I think I fell behind because I have been enjoying the library--I've already been three times and came home with armloads of books--and it's easier to sit a book down quickly than stitching.

I did have a chance last weekend to look over the JCS ornament issue. Since my efforts to stitch every ornament in the 2011 issue have not resulted in success (at least not so far), I wasn't sure it was "right" to look at the new one, but I did it anyway. I liked quite a few of them. I especially liked the Dragon Dreams ornament as Babygirl's Baby's First Christmas ornie. At some point, I had a vision of doing a tree entirely in teddy bear ornaments for her and putting it in her room, and I knew I want to do the Pam Kellogg ornament from 2001 (I think), which is a sweet bear, but somehow in the rearranging and general chaos that is my life, I have misplaced those issues. I know, I know, I lose entirely too many things for it to be believable. However, they aren't lost, just misplaced. I'll find them. Hopefully when we get a bigger house . . .  if we get a bigger house. If we're here much longer, I'm telling Left-brain that I want a shed of my own, up on our hill, in the woods where I can set out my stuff. He has a garage and a mancave, Babygirl has a nursery, I have . . . boxes. Hmmm . . .

Anyway, so I had this idea of doing that, but it's a little hard to fill a tree with teddy bears on top of everything else I have to do, so I may table that idea for now, or get one pre-made for 2012 and hope 2013 brings more time. But I love the Dragon Dreams ornament. I love how the dragon is the date; it's subtle, sleek, and it's auspicious to be born in the Year of the Dragon, so she'll be proud to show it off 20 years from now, when it's on her tree.  I'll just add her name to it, maybe on the back?

There is a deer ornament from another designer that I also love. It's very peaceful-looking, and I think it will stand out on my white tree. And the Blackberry Lane ornament is cute, but I still haven't stitched the one from LAST year!  And I love that one too. Should I even try? Should I get off my duff?

Other things seem to be going a little better. I did some low-cost advertising for Left-brain's business to try to drum up some interest. It's hard to say if it's helping out, though; I haven't heard if they're finding us through old sources or new ones. All I can do is keep slugging along.

18 September 2012

Yum, cake . . .

Have I mentioned yellow cake with chocolate frosting is one of my vices? I craved it after my GD diagnosis, I had dreams of cake. I posted on Facebook. I bought boxes of cake mix in preparation for the day when I could, at long last, eat cake again.

I managed to hold off til the week before I went back to work, when I finally had time to make a cake. I was going to use the canned frosting to ice said cake. And then I got a wild hair up my butt, and remembered I USED. TO. MAKE. ICING!

  A few years ago, someone posted a Texas sheetcake recipe and I stole the icing part of it. It helps that they said the cake was more like a brownie, and I am not that big of a brownie fan, but do I ever love chocolate icing. And so, for a month or so, I became a yellow cake with chocolate icing FIEND. I made cakes all the time, just for the icing. I even made poke cakes to deliver the icing faster. (And, to think, I wonder why I gained so much weight. Whoda thunk?) And then I had a doctor's appointment, the scale measured over 200 pounds, the nurse said, "You're considered . . . obese," with that "obese" word in the same whisper that my relatives use for "the di-ah-beet-us", you know, that shamed stage whisper, followed by a sorrowful headshake, and I screamed and opted out of making homemade icing.

But I am not over 200 pounds now, and I wanted to eat cake. With homemade cooked icing, and not just any icing. Texas sheetcake icing!

And I made it.

I slightly overcooked it for the first cake--I think I was trying to close snaps on a sleeper for a certain little lady. It was good, but not great. But I ate it anyway. Because even good icing is better than no icing.

We had a family reunion this weekend. I made the icing again. I did make a mistake and let Left-brain pick the cake. He chose white cake. Left-brain is never allowed to choose the cake again--there is something about this icing that hollers for yellow cake, white cake is too dainty for it. But he redeemed himself by telling me to mix the melted chocolate with the powdered sugar in the blender, which, frankly, is GENIUS!

I thought I would share the recipe here today, since it is yummy. I didn't remember the recipe from my cake-making days, so I did have to google it. This is the best one I found, courtesy of


Read more about it at,166,155164-247199,00.html

Content Copyright © 2012 - All rights reserved.

1/2 c. butter

6 tbsp. milk

4 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. chopped pecans

2 c. powdered sugar

Bring butter, milk and cocoa to rapid boil. Pour ingredients into mixing bowl; add vanilla and powdered sugar; mix well. Add pecans and mix well. 

I did make slight modifications. I don't like nuts that much, so left those off. They interfere with the chocolate delivery and we can't have that. But use them if you want. I did find out that you shouldn't stir the butter,milk and cocoa while it's coming to the boil, it doesn't work too well. It burns if you are lucky, separates into NASTINESS if you aren't. And then when you mix it with the sugar, blend it in the blender til the lumps of sugar break up.  Pour onto cake when the cake cools. You need a real cake pan though, the aluminum ones from the store don't hold the icing in, and it makes a mess, unless you enjoy licking your counters. Then let it set up, and enjoy.

12 September 2012

Egg on my face!

I just realized that I have been calling my monthly project the wrong name.

It's the Little Bitty Kitty Quilt Club, not the Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt Club. Oops, my bad!

I feel dumb.

I can't even blame sleep deprivation, I was doing this before the baby.

At least I am making some progress. I have the frame of the September square done.

I did do something cool last night to make up for my dumbness.

I joined our county library. I haven't had a library card since college (and then, because I was 17, they tried to tell me I needed a parent to sign my application, but they relented when I explained my parents were 500 miles away, LOL) and things have changed quite a bit. I realized that I read so much, buying books is a waste because I only use them for a day or so, then they either end up in a box with other finished books, or in the donate box.  And, with trying to be frugal, that's a habit I can't indulge, at least for the foreseeable future. Plus, they have all kinds of books for Babygirl. I know she's young, but she pays attention to brightly-colored things, and large shapes already, and, when I talk to her, when anyone talks to her, she watches us so intently, I can't help but think she would get something out of being read to. And my own guilty reason, it's time spent with her doing something I enjoy. She has a little library already; I have already read a few books to her (I got choked up reading On the Night You Were Born), but I can see we will go through those quickly. So, I packed her up last night and we went up to Metro Crazyville and picked out some books to read.

And I have to say, faced with all the books the library had, without the restriction of having to have money to pay for them, I was a little overwhelmed, but in a good way.  I held back though, and only chose 4 books for myself. I found 5 books for her and read them to her before bed. I am looking forward to this becoming our thing; I can't wait til she gets old enough to choose her own book and read with me. Til then, we'll read whatever looks good.

11 September 2012

Dang Frog

Everything I stitched on Saturday, I had to frog. Apparently . . . 221 and 355 look a lot alike when I am tired. Can we say I was quite annoyed with myself ? Stitching time is so precious to me now, and having to redo it, arrgghhh.

It's too bad we can't just frog out all the problems in our lives. I know I haven't been posting too much, less than I should be, really. In addition to Babygirl, who is asleep by 9 every night, we've been dealing with some other issues that, quite honestly, scare me. Not health-related, but imposing none the less. We may be looking at moving in the next year, unless things radically improve for Left-brain's business, and I don't know if that is going to happen. I am trying to help as best I can; I don't have brawn, but I do have the good brain God gave me, and those marketing skills I learned in my college arts admin classes, and I spend enough time on the computer that I am using that dubious talent, but I don't know if that is enough. I don't want to leave our house, I especially don't want to pull Kaydence out of her school, but if it has to be that way, it has to be. I keep reminding myself that, as long as we have our health, we can get more things later on. Heck, wasn't it too weeks ago I was complaining about having more things than space to put them? 

I hesitated posting this, since it is personal, but .  . . I know we're not alone, and I know we didn't get here because we're stupid or lazy, and so what good would having shame about the issue do? I just have to take it one day at a time, and keep going. I've done that before. I tell you what, though, if we come through Hell without the Devil even knowing we're there, or at least barely noticing us, I'm not letting this happen again.

08 September 2012

Helloooooo, gorgeous

As hard as it was to leave this little face, I'm at work today. And I am stitching the September Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt square.  I hope to have an update to show you soon.

06 September 2012

It must be bad

Left-brain and I were sitting around last night, after Babygirl had gone to bed. He turned to me and said, "You never stitch anymore."  I told him he was right. I don't. Not like I had been. A lot of time, I feel like I am neglecting the baby if I stitch, since she normally dozes off for 15 minutes and wakes up, and I am also a little scared to use the scissors I have re-named Christine around her. I have good reason.

 Remember this?

And this?

It even went after Icy Dragon.

Maybe my demon-scissor theory is correct. So, you see, having those around a small child is not a good idea.

So he says, "We need something for the fair."

I got serious for a moment and asked him what would be the point in stitching things for the fair, since it was hard to find money for framing pre-baby, and harder now with hospital bills and supplies for her (I am SOOO buying stock in the formula company, y'all).  He said, with the confidence in his ability to provide for us that he always has, that by the time the fair rolls around, the money will be there.  I could have cried, but, instead, I picked up my Itty Bitty Kitty and started doing the September square.

Really, I didn't do a lot of stitching, but I managed to read a lot from when I got put on bed rest to now. I think I have mentioned (ad nauseum, in fact) that I had a huge stack of books as my to-be-read pile prior to my sewing room becoming her nursery. I am slowly working my way through the pile, along with several boxes of books I brought home from the ones I have at my mother's house from my single-gal days. Most of them I bought used, so I have been, as I read, deciding if I want to keep the book forever. It's amazing how easy it is to give up a book if you ask yourself, "Will my life be richer if I keep this book or will I be OK with passing it on?" Usually, I can give them up, but I keep the ones that are profoundly moving. I might regret doing it one day, but I buy most books used, so it's not a big deal to go replace them.

So, what did I read this summer that I loved?

Before Green Gables. This is the prequel to the Anne of Green Gables series. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I found myself laughing and crying and feeling for Anne and what she went through, and then overwhelmed at the innate ability to survive and overcome that some people have. Maybe that was what always endeared Anne to me, she was a survivor, never a victim.

Dewey's 9 Lives. I don't normally like books about animals that die--I have three old dogs and three old cats, I don't like to be reminded that they will pass away. And I never read the Dewey book--I bought it, but never read it. But this book and it's message that it's OK to love an animal with all your heart, it resonated with me. The cats filled a void with these people, saved their owners' lives a lot of times. Humans expect to be applauded for such tasks, animals just do as a course of life. I did have to read it in small doses though; I am not a masochist, LOL.

In the Fall. This is the story of a slave girl who nurses an injured Union soldier back to health. He marries her and brings her back to Vermont. Their relationship has consequences that affect their family for generations as they try to understand the past. It was a book I have had for years, bought in the bargain bin when I first realized that you could read other books than the ones on the New York Times Bestseller list, and I never read it til now, but I really enjoyed it. It felt a lot like the writing style of Cold Mountain, but it is a very different book, haunting in a different way.  It is not, however, an easy book to read, but it's a worthy book that deserved a lot more publicity than it got.

The Tea Rose. This book was very popular, but it was popular for a reason. It was set against the jack the Ripper killings in Victorian London and features a heroine who bootstraps her way to success. I read this in the hospital after delivering and it was EXCELLENT.

The Dark is Rising. these are based on Arthurian legend, and the two that I have read so far are HEART-POUNDING. They are children's books, but adults can get something out of them.

There were a lot of other books that I read that maybe weren't wonderful, but were OK. I read a good bit before, but having the luxury of time to read, and an abundance of reading material, that was new to me. One of my greatest hopes for my child is that she sees me reading, enjoys being read to, and becomes a passionate reader herself. We haven't yet delved into her library, but I think I am going to start that this week, since she can at least look at the pictures now.

Anyone read anything great this summer?

03 September 2012

The reason we never send out picture Christmas cards

You know the kind.  Happy families, dressed in matching sweaters, taken in a beautifully-decorated room. Usually accompanied by a letter telling, in detail, every good thing the family did that year (or, in the case of some of my extended family, why their year sucked and you should feel sorry for them).  My birth family has never done that--heck, my mother found out they made cards she didn't have to sign and she was happy! Left-brain and I sent out one with one of our wedding shots on it two years ago, and I felt so awkward that I didn't do it last year.

We went to my father's family reunion yesterday. I don't see my father and brother much, neither does the baby. My brother travels a lot for work, and my father, well, that's a side story that would take all day. DB hasn't seen the baby since the day she was born, and she doesn't look like the same kid.  So I thought it would be a good idea to get a family picture.

It was muggy and cloudy all day, but the sun came out at the end of the day. Kaydence is not a big fan of the sun yet (I'm not a big fan of it for her either. ) My mom left the baby's pacifier in the building where the reunion was happening, so Kaydence started crying. I started to sing to her. My father chose to sing a different song that Katie (their nickname for her) has never heard.  My poor brother, poor Unca Luke, who, despite his fear of dropping her, is actually quite attentive to his niece, just wanted to get the picture taken. My cousin Dorcas took the picture.

Remember, I am the mayor of Crazyville.

Things don't always work out too well here:

The Clampetts take a family photo.
It seemed like a good idea at the time . . .

I signed up for a Christmas ornament exchange a few weeks ago. It was something I really had to think about doing since the baby came and I don't have a lot of free time. But, I figure, if I am careful with my time and use it wisely, an ornament is something I can get done pretty easily and without a lot of problems.  We got our partners today. My partner is from Italy, and I am so excited to stitch for her. It's a lot of fun to have a partner in another country, I like having a small piece of other culture's Christmas celebration on my tree. I do have to finish the Halloween ornament I stitched for another friend first, though. May try to get that done this week.

I will try to get that picture

01 September 2012

Welcome, September

August is gone, fall is right around the corner. Funny to think how fast this summer passed. Our first week at daycare went well. Babygirl seems quite happy and likes Miss Julie, her teacher. They send us home little "What I Did Today" sheets which make me laugh. They tell what the kids did all day, and the other day, it said they listened to music and played with ice cubes. OK, now I see her listening to music, because she loves music, but she doesn't know how to work her hands very well (other than grabbing hair or my necklace), so she couldn't actually play with ice cubes. I asked and they said she just kind of hangs out while the other kids play. I picture her in her vibrating chair, asleep, while everyone else plays, LOL.  She does get tummy time there, and they can't believe how strong she is.  She is still small, 9.5 lbs at two months but it must be all muscle.  She is starting to roll over for them, and she holds her head up well. It gives me no end of motherly joy when she holds her head up and smiles, even though spit up normally follows--arggh.

No stitching really got done this week. I attempted to finish an ornament, but I don't really like how it turned out. It's an LHN ornament, and I just don't like the color of the trim. I'm at work now, and can't post a pic to show you what I mean, but I'll try to get it done before the end of the weekend.

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls