Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quality Time with Midsummer Night's Fairy

What can I say - she needed a little TLC and work. She has a ton of metallics (all of the wings) so I'm working on them a little at a time, and alternating with the floss stitching so I don't get burned out on it. Although I don't especially like stitching with Kreinik, the effect is fabulous. I've been using Thread Heaven, which is a thread conditioner and that makes life so much easier.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tequila Lime Steak Fajitas

2 - 3 lbs skirt steak, sirloin steak, or london broil. Can substitute 2-3 lbs of boneless chicken breast or even shrimp.


Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime
shot of tequila
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients well. Put steaks and marinade in a ziploc bag, and refrigerate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. If using shrimp, only marinate for an hour otherwise the lime juice will "cook" the shrimp.

Seed and quarter two large bell peppers. Peel a large onion, and slice across in 1/2 inch slices. Grill the pepper and onion until lightly charred. Slice up the grilled peppers, and seperate the onion rings out of the slices.

Grill steak until desired done-ness. Slice as thin as possible, on the bias.

To assemble fajitas:

Normal: Warm flour tortillas by wrapping in damp paper towels and microwaving for a minute.

Low carb: Take a large head of iceberg lettuce and cut in half. Separate off 2 -3 layers of leaves and use those to wrap the filling.

Layer on the steak, peppers, onions, and add any other toppings you enjoy: shredded cheddar/jack cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, chopped tomato, no-sugar-added salsa.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Year, A New Start

So much going on right now! I may be slow posting over the next couple weeks because I have a LOT going on.

First and foremost, I'll be moving from Maryland to the Valley Forge area of Pennsylvania, and moving in with my fiance. Ack! I'm sorting through all of my stuff and having a good "purge". I haven't properly unpacked all of my worldly goods for 7 or 8 years, because I've been in houseshare situations rather than in my own apartment. In theory, I want to put my hands on everything I own at this point, and make a "keep, sell, donate, or trash" decision about it. In reality, I probably won't get through all of the packed boxes from previous moves (alot of kitchen stuff and the like that I just didn't need to unpack). They're fairly well labeled, so it's easier to just move them, and if there's stuff I need to get rid of once I unpack, it'll go then.

I'm also starting the Post Graduate Job Hunt...ack! I'm in a good industry, but good jobs in general aren't easy to come by. I may have to take something less-than-ideal for the time being but we'll see.

And then there's the wedding plans...we have the "basics" taken care of - church, reception venue, photographer, and DJ all have deposits, but sooner rather than later I need to work through all of the details.

So yeah...no worries, right? Yes, my anxiety level is rather high right now.

Stitching-wise, I started on Wood Warblers I, which is a bellpull from Crossed Wing Collection. (Yes, there's a Wood Warblers II and I'm doing that as well) Because there are some areas that are over-1, I've opted to use a 28 count Cashel (in cream) instead of my usual 32 count. Because there are so many overlap colors between the two pieces, I just bought one set of floss for both and carded it up.

They're large bellpulls - 7 inchs by 49 inches when it's all said and done. Because of the length, I bought a yard piece of fabric and split it lengthwise. It's a little wider than it needs to be but it lets me use a slightely wider frame, which works for me.

Whenever I finish them both (2011? LOL), my plan is to get a yard of really fabulous tapestry material to back them on, and finish them as bellpulls. I can picture them hanging on either side of a room opening or the front door of the house (but I suspect no matter how hard I pull on them, servants are NOT going to appear!)

Wood Warblers is currently put away, and I'm back working on one of my older "in progress" projects. I had a little splurge on some new cross stitch supplies and am getting a few projects kitted up (will post pictures later - orders are still trickling in - you can see in the "coming soon" section some of the projects I've been putting together). I need to finish up a couple projects before I get started on any more new ones though.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 Framing

This is Mermaids of the Deep Blue by Mirabilia. I finished the project in 2008, and my then-boyfriend now-fiance had it framed for me as a Christmas present. It's the only piece I've had framed for myself this year, sad to say. I'll need to catch up on that sometime soon.
2009 ~ A productive year indeed!

I wanted to sort through what I've been working on in the last year, and it's been a very productive year to be sure! So let's start with the finishes, most of which were started prior to 2009.

2009 Finishes

Mirabilia's Fairy Idyll:

Finished in February 2009. Fairy Idyll was a long time favorite pattern from Mirabilia, and was a joy to work on. I love all the details like the bed canopy and the bunny statue. She is definately a "boudoir" piece!

Mirabilia's Summer Queen:

Finished in May 2009. This is the last of the Seasonal Queens series for me to finish; I started with Spring Queen in 1999, so yes, that's 10 years to finish. Ack! Here's all the Queens together:

One day I'll get them framed all to match LOL Have to save my pennies.
Mirabilia's Crystal Symphony:

Finished in May 2009 as well (good month!). I gave her to my mother as a gift, so she had her framed rather quickly (usually it takes me a year or more to get pieces framed).
And finally: Silver Lining's Edith Wharton:

Finished in December 2009. I was doing really well rotating projects, but stuck with this one so I could get another 2009 finish.

2009 ~ A productive year indeed ~ In Progresses

And on to the projects that I started this year and haven't finished (aren't there always a lot of those?) The good news is that anything started prior to 2009 has been completed.

First up: Mermaid of Atlantis by Mirabilia:

I've always been fond of her mermaids, and this one has a ton of specialty threads (silk varigated and metallics) and beads.

Next is another Mirabilia, Royal Holiday:

This is the first large Christmasy cross stitch project that I've ever done, and it may take several Christmases to finish and get framed at this rate LOL ah well...

Here's Chatelaine's Knotgarden:

This is my first Chatelaine project, but definately won't be the last. I really love the kaleidoscope effect of the mandalas. I'm planning on doing a series of four or so of the Garden Mandalas.

Here's Meeting on the Turret Stairs from Artecy, which is a reproduction of the Burton painting:

It's all confetti stitching, which can be frustrating at times. However, I love the effect that the piece has, and plan on doing more Artecy painting reproductions in the future. I am using Aida for the first time in years for this, since it's all whole stitches and none of the background shows.
And yet another Mirabilia here, Sleeping Beauty this time:

Sleeping Beauty was the first Mirabilia I ever attempted years ago, but I gave up on it because at the time, it was too above my skill level. I'm really looking forward to getting her finished at some point soon.
And finally, Mirabilia's Midsummer Night's Fairy:

She clocks in as my oldest WIP, so needs some special attention in the coming months. Like many of the fantasy Mirabilias, she has lots of beads and metallic threads.