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Monday, September 25, 2006

The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!!!!

Hello there! Tonight, I was attacked by killer tomatoes! My garden decided to give up every tomato on the vine in the last couple of days and if I wanted any canned tomatoes this winter, tonight was the ONLY night to process them. So, I went out and picked every last red one that were on the vines and there must have been a trillion, and I trucked them into my kitchen in a very large box. The big problem: There is no room to can these gifts from my garden.

Now, mind you, the spousal unit has commandeered the kitchen table as his workstation/study place/desk and there is not an inch of space that's not occupied by books, notebooks, rulers, protractor, a laptop, a calculator and a bunch of stuff he just stacks on it. NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES. Moving onto the counter, he has commandeered four feet out of 12 for his personal stuff, mail, keys, wallet, cellphone, paraphenallia he can not part with, receipts, more books...NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES. Then there is the sink, the dish drainer filled with yesterday's clean dishes (am I the only one with a messy kitchen? EEEK). NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES. That leaves me with the rest of the counter that holds the knife rack, the bread basket, a toaster, a blender (DH's),the coffee maker and a pan of brownies..OK, in unison...NO ROOM FOR TOMATOES!!!! So to process said tomatoes, I have a 2 foot counter on the kitchen island next to the cooktop. This space is the ONLY ROOM FOR THE TOMATOES. So, I sigh and begin the GREAT TOMATO BATTLE.

I trek down to the dungeon (humorlessly also known as the basement) to find the canner, jars, lids and rings. I am good for everything but the jar lids. I have 6. Only six lids which mean I can only can 6 jars of tomatoes tonight. BUT, I have a trillion tomatoes upstairs in a box and if I don't do them, then I might as well toss them into the compost. I decided I'd take my chances....

Back in the kitchen, my Aussie, Fraggles, decided to steal a few of the tomatoes as an after dinner snack. What can I say, he likes them. Only he doesn't eat the skin and he makes a general now, I have the goopy remains of a tomato snack on my kitchen floor...

I put the canner on the stove to start getting warm, I put another pot onto boil so I can skin the tomatoes. I get the canning book out to read how to process them and the book tells me that I have to BOIL the tomatoes prior to putting them into the jars only to be boiled again for 45 minutes. Well, I guess I will do this in batches...

I begin to skin and chop up tomatoes into hugh chunks. I fill up a big Pyrex bowl, another large mixing bowl and another smaller bowl with chunky tomatoes. Meanwhile, the sink is full of soapy water, jars, rings and lids. The water in the canner is getting hot but not anywhere near the boiling point. I decide to follow the instructions and boil the tomatoes, so I dump out the water in the pot I used to skin them, dump in all the chunky tomatoes and set it on medium so that they can be boiled once and then again in the jars. I let that go for a little while and the canner is good to go. Looking at the boiling tomatoes, I realize that as this cooks down, I have a lot of juice and almost no tomatoes. Looks like I am going to have tomato juice with pulp, instead of chunky Well, that sucks. But I carry on...these tomatoes will NOT defeat me! I fill the jars and only get 3 out of that batch. Damn, that means I have to go through this entire process a second time! (Rinse and Repeat!) So 45 minutes later, in goes the second canning....and now, 3 hours later, I have only six jars of semi chunky tomato juice. I believe the tomatoes won and now, I need a drink!!!!

I guess I am NO Martha!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hey! Remember me? ;-)

Hey there, it's been a few days. Sorry for the lack of posts, really there hasn't been much going on with my stitching so there's not much to write in regards to needle and thread. I am working on exchanges. Sorry, no photos. Nope, not one and you can't make me post any until everything is mailed and in the hands of the receiver. I've been blog reading, keeping up with all your adventures so I feel at least connected to you.

Next weekend is CATS in Hershey. I am going! YEAH! That's the big news and the BEST news is that I am going to meet up with Patti and Red and I hope a lot of other bloggers. It's going to be a special weekend, one that I richly earned and deserve for putting up with my LIFE this past year. I am looking forward to marathon stitching, chocolate (afterall, it's HERSHEY!), shopping until my checkbook screams in agony and there's not a single bit of room in my bag and spending quality time with obsessed stitchers! Oh, did I mention chocolate? ;-) and stitching? and shopping? A blissful weekend is in the making, one that I am so looking forward to experiencing! I"ve been making a list so I don't leave anything behind, I've cleaned out the digital memory in the camera, yes, there will be photos, decided what I am bringing to stitch and I am counting down the days! WOOT!!

Other than that life is still insane. The Pella guy called today, he's got my estimate done for the windows. I mentioned to the spousal unit that there may be a difference in price with these windows and we will have to sit down with the contractor to hash out who is going to pay it. The David said there will be no negotiation, we are to tell the contractor to order the windows and he gets to figure out how he's going to pay for them. E-e-ek! The stress hormones are coursing through my body now! But David is right, if John had DONE HIS JOB then we wouldn't be almost a year into this job and he wouldn't be in this spot. But this fact doesn't ease my worrying about it.

Because of all this, guess what. I've gotten into bad habits again with food. I've gained 5 pounds and that's terrible! It takes me months to lose any weight and now I've put back on 5 out of the 31 that I've lost. Plus at just under 5'1", gaining 5 pounds looks like 15 on my body. Curses! This just adds another layer of frustration on my already stressed out body. Sorry to crab about this...please forgive me.

So...that's life right now. There's more but I won't bore you with it. You've got the highlight reel and hopefully I will get back to stitching something that I can post!

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you and your thoughts and comments, they always make my day!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Halloween Charts

I was perusing the LNS's and I came across new Halloween charts from BOAF on Elegant Stitch....aren't they too cool???

Halloween Icons

Halloween Fun

I really like Halloween Fun and even though I probably will never stitch it in this lifetime, I will add it to my collection of Halloween charts...

Yesterday, I took Light Your Way and Drawn Thread's Welcome Spot to the framers. They should be back in a couple of weeks. I love the frame I chose for Light Your Way, it's appropriately old fashioned looking. But I am not sure about the framing for Welcome Spot. I ended up double matting the piece, the inner mat is a leafy green color and the outer mat is a boring taupe color. The frame is a cherry cost a lot of $$$ and I hope that in the end I like it. If I don't, it will be an expensive mistake. I really am not sure that cherry was the best frame choice for it as there's not any orange or red in the piece. I know that if I don't like the mats, I can cut a new ones but I can't change a custom made frame.
I'll just have to wait and see.

I am really questioning why I let the person waiting on me push her opinions on me. The girl who waited on me was very eager (actually, she was hyper)but I felt that she wasn't listening to me at all. After awhile, I felt that she didn't want to wait on me but wanted to help the other customer in the shop choosing a frame for a graduation portrait. She seemed to be more interested in that job than working with me. She pushed her choices on me and I just wanted to yell at her and tell her that I have an art degree in design so I understand color and the whole framing process. But because she was so aggressive and I was pressed for time, I basically let her choose the mats and frame. Shame on me.

I haven't stitched at all this week. I have been very tired recently. I know that I have been fighting off a bout of depression that lasted about 6 weeks. It's very draining and exhausting. With all the stress of my nightmare remodeling, my weight struggles, dealing with an empty nest and the first anniversary of Dad's death, I let everything get the better of me. At one point in this 6 week time frame, I didn't think I would ever feel like my old self. I got to the point where all I felt was sadness and a futileness and I was pushing myself through my life. I seriously considered going to the doctors because this was the longest time I could remember feeling this way. I got scared. But my optimism is back and although I am not 100%, I don't feel like I will never smile again. I did a lot of praying. And I believe that made all the difference.

Anyway, I am working on exchanges for the next month and then I am concentrating on finishing Prairie Year I and John Foster. Next year, I am seriously considering stitching mostly Quakers and house samplers. Who knows though, I change my plans as often as I change my socks!!!

Once again, thanks for visiting and thanks for all your comments. It's nice that you stop by!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Oh...I am in SUCH trouble

Have you seen THESE?!!!!!

Oh, oh, oh....what am I to do! These are truly beautiful and they will be offered at the end of the year! I am such a Quaker junkie, I have to have them, I MUST!!!

You can read all about them and the other offerings on The Twining Thread's website

I am so doomed. I have so many Quakers...Sarah Tatum is in my WIP pile. I just purchased Hannah Wallis, she's another colored Quaker sampler,(S-H-HH- be quiet Red!!!) and I have many, many more in my stash. You can see all the Ackworth reproduction samplers on the Studio for Historic Samplers.But I love these and wouldn't be AWESOME to have a Quaker wall of colored samplers and another of monocromatic ones? I may have to call 2007 the Year of the Quaker and forgo any other stitching except for the occasional quick piece for instant gratification.

I AM TOAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

In the mood

I am at work right now, it's almost 6AM. I got out of bed at 3AM and I've been here since 4AM because I thought that I would be able to do a PVP audit on one of the manufacturing lines. BUT....machinery is down and no one is working. It's hard to do practice vs. procedure when there's no work!

So...I am breaking all the IT rules and am blog hopping. I visited most of the blogs on my sidebar and a few more that I haven't added yet to my growing lists of wonderful sites. This morning, I am blown away by the creativity and the finishes of many of you. I can see that ornaments are on everyone's mind and there have been some awesome pinkeeps and needlerolls too. Which puts me in the mood to do something small. Instant gratification, something that will only take a couple of evenings to stitch.

I think that I will have to go ornament pattern shopping tonight when I leave work. I bought a couple of small cuts of fabric from Silkweaver, just for that purpose. Stitching small things may be a good car project for the weekend cause we are going to Rochester to drop off some more of my DS's possessions. Six hours in the car equals a lot of stitching time, YEAH!

But for right now, I am concentrating on my 3 obligation pieces and I told myself no new starts until I finish some of my WIPS. I've chosen 5 pieces to work on during the rest of the year. I would like to finish them up...there's my love, John Foster, who I've been playing hard to get, Miss Mary Mack which is 3/4 way done, A Prairie Year I - I've really neglected that piece because I wasn't thrilled about the motifs for the summer months, Scared Silly, a BOAF Halloween piece, and Sarah Tatum, a hugh Quaker piece that I know I will not get finished before the year is over but I would like to make a dent. I know, I know, it's an ambitious list but I would like to start 2007 with a clean slate. Essentially, I only have about 8 weeks to do anything because this month is filled with an Autumn Exchange (Nancy's - it's coming, Nancy, I promise! :-))) and 2 Halloween exchanges.

So, I have a full plate!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Witch-y Box

Today, I felt rather creative, so I decided to finish off my October pinkeep by making it into a little wooden box. You can see the results right here:

So what do you think?

I painted this little wooden box that I've had for ages black, lined it with an orange striped diamond patterned fabric and trimmed the outside of the box with black checkered ribbon. I believe I created a winner!

Here's another picture, it's a little closer, so you can see the ribbon trim:

Now, my creativity is all gone, it's time for a nap....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Light Your Way

Can you hear toes a-tappin' in Binghamton? That's the sound of my happy feet doing the happy dance cause I finished Light Your Way last night! It's adorable!
And since finishing ANYTHING is such an accomplishment for me, I am doing the happy dance in double time!

We do have a minor disaster though that just manifested itself! I went to press off this piece and now there are water stains on the linen! I used an R&R fabric and I should have known better cause their fabrics are so finicky. Well, hopefully when I get it framed the stains won't show so much. I am tempted to spray the entire piece to water stain the actual stitching but since I used WDW threads, I am very afraid that the black will bleed. Now I am so frustrated!

Anyway, here's a picture of it for all you curious-types...TA-DA!!!!

And I'll deal with the water stained fabric later...grr-rr.

What's next, you ask?
Well, since I am on a Halloween roll, and since I am on a mission to clean up some WIPs,I think that Scared Silly will take Light Your Way's place. Now, I am not saying I will finish it before Halloween, but I will work on it between now and then. I have a couple of obligation pieces to finish and I want to make my little Halloween box up with the little witchy alphabet on top. So, if I get Scared Silly completed, it would be a bonus. But I know I will not be starting anything *new* until the end of the year with the exception of a Christmas ornament or 3.

Speaking of ornaments, did you see the latest issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine? There's bonus ornaments by 6 designers that contributed to the Ornament issue. I love the Prairie Schooler Autumn design and the snowman. Little House Needleworks has a cute house pattern too. Normally, I only pick up JCS if there's something that interests me, I don't subscribe. This one's a keeper for the extra ornaments.

Thanks everyone for your enabling in regards to the new Ellen Chester Quaker pieces. I especially like that everyone thought that I've earned or deserved them since I have been living in remodeling HELL for the last 9 months. All except Red, who told me to BACK OFF FROM THE COMPUTER! She's got to be that little good angel perched on my right shoulder whispering practical, financial advice in my ear, while the BAD angels (all you enablers) are SCREAMING in my left ear to BUY THEM! BUY THEM NOW!!! I love you all! And I especially got a chuckle from Red's comment. The voice of reason.

I hope everyone's weekend is going well and for us USA folks, enjoy the day off tomorrow - the reward for all our hard labor!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Like an addict needing a fix....

More things to tempt me... as well as being a lover of alphabets, samplers and snowmen, I am a confirmed Quaker sampler junkie. I admit it. It's an obsession and a disease, I tell you! So, this morning I open my email and there's the latest edition of With My Needle by Ellen Chester. And in that email there is a link to NEW things.

Guess what.

She's releasing 3, yes 3, new QUAKER patterns.

1. Quaker Schoolgirl Needle Necessities

2. A Quaker Pattern Book

3. Quaker Samplings

Now, I ask you...


Don't tell me to be strong. Don't tell me to avert my eyes. Don't tell me that I do not need them......

I'm toast.