Monday, January 19, 2009
Well it's always a good day when I actually get a piece framed! My boyfriend offered to pay to have one done as a Christmas present, so I picked Mermaids. I had originally intended to mat the piece, but after playing around with various colors, I opted to go with a more simple antique gold frame and no mat. I absolutely think that was the right choice for this piece. It's also got the UV treated glass to help protect it from the sun.
The only issue is that the Mermaids are tilted ever so slightly forward, so slight that I'm probably the only person that will ever notice it. Argh. Anyway, I opted not to have them fix it because as I said - it's very minor. I'm always hypercritical of my own work LOL
For now, I'll be hanging it above my desk in my room, but I think Mermaids is ultimately destined to be in a powder room.
Framing was done at Eland Galleries, Phoenixville, PA.
I've mostly been working on Fairy Idyll (yes, another Mirabilia) lately. I was visiting my boyfriend for a couple of weeks (he lives in another state), so while he worked, I got to spend some serious time stitching. I've always really loved this pattern, so it's been on my "to do" list for a long time. She's being worked on 32 count cream Belfast linen. A lot of the colors are quite subtle, so the cream really blends in nicely with them. I will probably do some additional backstitching around the yellow dress to give it a little more definition against the background. I really like how the topiaries are coming out - I still need to add the Waterlilies threads to finish that section.
I've also been doing a little of Summer Queen, the "official" last one of the 4 seasonal Queens by Mirabilia. (I may also do Royal Holiday aka Christmas Queen) SQ is being worked on 32 count antique white linen. I definately would like to get her done soon mostly just to be done with the series - since I started in 1999 - but realistically, it'll be a year or two before I can afford to get them all framed at once.
Monday, January 12, 2009
This is one of my favorite soups, and makes a great dinner when paired with crusty bread and a salad.
In a large soup pot, sweat 3 diced onions in a splash of olive oil and a pat of butter over a medium-low heat. You don't want to brown the onions, but you do want them to become soft, transluscent, and starting to caramelized.
Add 4 cans of low-sodium chicken stock (substitute up to 1 can of chicken stock with white wine if you like) and bring to a simmer. Peel and dice about 2 lbs of starchy potatoes (Idaho or russet) and add to the chicken stock, along with 4-5 peeled cloves of garlic. When the potatoes are soft and starchy (about 20 minutes), use a stick blender to blend the mix - leave somewhat chunky. You can also use a hand mixer or a potato masher - the goal is to mash the potatoes enough to thicken the soup nicely but not make baby food :-)
Add 1/2 cup of half and half or milk, 1 1/2 cups of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, and pepper to taste (I like this soup very peppery so I tend to add a lot). Simmer and stir for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and the soup is hot.
Optional garnishes: crisply cooked bacon crumbles, shredded cheese, chopped chives or scallion greens.
Vegetarian variation: use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
I fell in love with Spring Queen back in '98 when Mirabilia first published it. I completed her in 1999. Beware of doing any of the Queens - you'll end up doing them all, as I plan to!
Here she is finished:
I also started Autumn Queen late in 1999 and worked on her into 2000. At some point, I put her aside to work on another project. It always irked me that I never got around to finishing her, especially as I'd completed most of the project (pictured below).
And here she is completed (finished December 23, 2008):
All Queens are stitched on 32 count linen. For some reason, I did Autumn Queen on a nearly-cream linen, whereas the others are done on an antique white. It irks me that it doesn't exactly match, but not enough to redo. I started on Summer Queen in December 2008, because I needed a couple of days break on all of the blue and white of Winter Queen. I should have Summer finished in 2009.
I found the darker fabric somewhat of a challenge to work on, so I bought my first OTT-Lite floor lamp - while expensive, it has definately been well worth the price, and I recommend them highly.
Additionally, I started Silver Lining's "Edith Wolford", a beautiful purple and orange iris. While I love the Silver Lining's designs, the amount of confetti stitching with very similar colors makes them borderline frustrating to work on, so the projects get put aside after only a few days of work. I honestly think that the quantity of color changes could be simplified and still have amazing results - I would definately do a lot more Silver Lining designs if they were. Still, I'd like to get this one finished sometime in 2009.
I'm a full time non-traditional student (that means I'm older than the average student) and am about 2 semesters away from getting my BS. I'm a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Eta Sigma Delta, and Golden Key honors societies. On average, I have a very busy life between work, school, relationship, friendships, but I also try to keep myself sane :-)
I have a ton of hobbies - baking, cooking, cross stitch, crochet, movies, reading, etc.