Saturday, December 26, 2009

.....And Edith Wolford is Complete.
At some point, I may even get it framed, but it'll be a while.
So that's my oldest WIP finished. Everything else was started in 2009, and hopefully they'll all be finished sometime in 2010. I treated myself to some new stash today (should be here in a week or two), and have a few new starts in the works (not that I need any new ones just at the moment!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Getting Close

I'm getting some stitching in, in between baking and cleaning and cooking...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cinnamon Sugared Nuts

1 lb pecans
1 lb almonds
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons water
2 cups sugar OR bulk Splenda
1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

for the daring: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (will give it a nice afterburn)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl. Beat the egg whites and water together until light and frothy, and toss with the almonds and pecans. Drain, then stir the nuts into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread out on two baking sheets. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

**This recipe is low carb if you use Splenda or other sugar substitute instead of sugar

I made about 6 lbs of this yesterday, so figured I'd share.

2 lb dark chocolate, chopped finely
4 oz milk chocolate, chopped finely

Holiday "sprinkles"

To make fruit & nut bark: 4 cups of dry roasted nuts and dried fruits. For example, dried cherries and almonds, raisins and peanuts, cranberries and pecans, etc.

To make pretzel bark: 6 cups mini pretzels, "lightly broken up" but still in big chunks. Some other options to add in: peanut butter or butterscotch chips, toffee bits, nuts, etc.

If using nuts, toast them for full flavor. Heat the oven up to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Turn the oven off, and put the nuts in for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Cool.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

To melt the chocolate: put 2/3 of the dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Nuke on 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring at every stop. When the chocolate is mostly melted but not perfectly smooth, remove from microwave and add remaining 1/3 reserved chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Stir in add-in's of choice, and spread out on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Melt the milk chocolate using the above method. Scrape into a plastic baggie and push chocolate into one corner. Snip a small corner off the bag, and drizzle the milk chocolate on top of the chocolate bark. Sprinkle with holiday jimmies.

Let set firm (3-4 hours). Using a sharp serrated knife, cut into squares.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

One bud down, one to go

A lot of confetti stitching left...ack!

12:50 and still snowing
So far, I've made french vanilla ice cream base (should run it through the ice cream maker later today), about half of a chocolate mousse pie (the crust is done and the mousse filling is in), and a lovely crockpot full of beuof bourgignon.
Snow! 7:30 am

This is our back deck as of 7:30 this morning - that's my beloved grill that's getting buried. I guess we're not having steak tonight, eh? I'll post a few more pictures throughout the day.

We're on the eastern shore of Maryland (mid-shore area) so apparently we're not getting hit as hard as those on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay.

My plans today? Work on a certain iris we all know and love, mixed in with doing some of my Christmas baking (pies, cakes, cookies, chocolate work), AND a crack at a Julia Child recipe for dinner tonight.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ultimate WIP - DONE

I graduate high school in 1989, and started college that fall. A few years later, for a variety of reasons, I dropped out.

In late 2004, I gave up my life in Pennsylvania, moved home with my parents to give college another try.

In spring 2005, I started Chesapeake College (2 year community college. I served as President of Alpha Sigma Pi, our chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (once a Kappan, always a Kappan!) I graduated from Chesapeake College with an AAS in May 2007.

I transfered to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore that fall. Qualified for and joined the Golden Key Honour Society and Delta Sigma Pi Honor Society.

I finished my LAST exam today, and will graduate with a BS tomorrow.

20 years in the making: My biggest WIP.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Mirabilia


Love her, especially the dress, but I may have to take up a collection to buy her a sandwich.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Seventeen shades of purple and blue....
(And seven of green, just in case you were wondering)
The main flower is finished; just two buds to do and some more backstitching.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Mystic Stitch is having a buy 2 get 2 free pattern sale until December 15th.

Heaven and Earth Designs is currently having a 30% off sale on their website through December 21st.


Slow Roasted Chicken

I make this recipe at least once every 10 days or so - it's delicious, easy, and inexpensive. It's all about method - the chicken comes out extremely moist and fall-off-the-bone tender.

Start with bone-in skin-on chicken parts - either a family pack of thighs (usually about 10), chicken breast quarters (4 or 5), or a whole chicken cut up into individual parts. Rinse parts and pat dry. Spray two pyrex baking dishes with cooking spray and spread the parts out - it's fine if they are touching but they need to be in one layer and not overlapping each other.

Now you need about one cup of herby marinade. You can make your own with an oil/acid/herb mix, or you can cheat like I often do and use McCormick's Zesty Herb dry packet marinade with oil, vinegar and water added to it - I typically add extra oil/water/vinegar to bring it up to one cup or so of marinade but the one packet of seasoning is plenty. If you want to make your own, a mix of olive oil, lemon juice & zest or white wine, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and sage is great.

Pour the marinade over the chicken parts evenly, and cover the baking dishes tightly with foil. Bake at 300 degrees for one hour without disturbing. After an hour, turn up the oven temperature to 425 degrees, and uncover the chicken. Baste with the accumulated pan juices/marinade. Roast for another 40 minutes or so, basting 2-3 more times, until the skin of the chicken is golden brown. Enjoy!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Backstitching Details

So I decided to go for the gusto, and try to get Edith Wolford finished before the end of the year. It's the only project that I started prior to 2009 that I haven't finished yet, plus I know I can get it done.

I finished the lower petal and did the backstitching on it as well as some of the stems, which really makes the folds in the petals pop.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Mermaid of Atlantis

I thought I was starting Mermaid of Atlantis fresh last week but apparently I jumped the gun a couple of months ago when I first kitted her up. When I opened up her box to get her started, quite a bit of the "core" of the body was done - just two colors, but it gave me a nice place to work off of this week to get to this point.

This is one very bling-y mermaid - tons of metallics and beads, and a few Waterlillies thrown in just in case she wasn't fancy enough. She's also rather petite, which means she'll be a quick stitch compared to some of the other Mirabilias. The fabric is Picture This Plus 32 count Fathom.

I have started on some of the metallics but I'll wait until all of the stitching is done to add the beads. I prefer to work on Q-snaps, and I won't put the snaps over beaded areas. MoA is small enough I can just bead her on a large Qsnap frame; for larger projects, I use the dreaded scroll frame (NOT my favorite - they never hold the fabric tightly enough).

I only got one Waterlillies Espresso, so I'm probably not going to have enough of that for her. It's not my favorite Waterlillies (it was on Fairy Idyll as well), so I will probably change up the border a bit rather than ordering more.

I have a little bit of a dilemma. It's that time of the year - I've started thinking back about what projects I've started and what projects I've finished this year. I've been doing really well with rotation stitching the last month, but there's a part of me wondering if I wouldn't rather work on something that might be able to be finished during the year. There are three candidates that could feasibly be finished over the next month. Hmmmm....we shall see. Part of me NEEDS another big finish - I haven't had one since May. May!!! But the balance of that is that I have quite a few more projects going than I normally do - seven, rather than my usual three or four, and most of them have significant progress on them.

We'll see ~ it's been a rough couple weeks of school so it's a bit of indulgence that I suspect I could use.

You may have notice I've been playing around with the set up of the blog a bit lately. I like the labels, since it can help find specific posts. It does make me laugh that there's lots of small labels but a HUGE Mirabilia one LOL