Friday, September 28, 2012

Patchy Ruffle Pants Time...Again

Blockette is growing like a weed.  Most of her patched pants were too short, or beyond repair in the knees.  She had a few second hand jeans, and I bought her two new pairs when school started.  She did have one pair from last year that still fit her in the waist, but were several inches too short.  The knees were also quite threadbare, and in need of patching.

So I set myself to work and did this:
If you notice, the pants ruffles are from the magical, never-ending purple fabric.  The same stuff I used for her bird wings.

The star patches are actually from a too large pair of hand me down pants.  They had a few holes that seemed like they were too much work to repair.  The jeans did have this cool star applique running down the legs though.  So I just re-purposed the other pair of pants to mend this pair.

I did get lazy and didn't zig zag the edges of the patches.  I told myself that the frayed edges would look cool after a few washes.  We will see if they are indeed cool, or just falling apart.

Blockette calls these jeans her superstar pants.  She literally wants to wear them EVERY day.  I told her that she could only wear them every other day.  That way, we could pretend that someone washed them in between wearings. 

Oh come on!  I can't be the only mean mom who refuses to wash unstained jeans after every single wear!  Jeans are so much more comfy after multiple wears.  It's about HER comfort, not how lazy I am.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thankful Thurs # 39

1. Helping out at church during the week.

2. Having some self control when I went shopping.  (I may have spent more than I wanted to, but it was all stuff that we needed, as opposed to just wanting.)

3. My nephew was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.  (This might sound weird to be thankful for this, but at least his parents know what they are facing and can move forward from there.)

4. Staying calm while Blockette had a meltdown over using the Dictionary.  (Amazing how long it takes to have a meltdown vs. how long it takes to look up a word in the Dictionary.)

5. Finally feeling productive during the day, and not just too pooped to do anything but take a nap before and after lunch.

6. Killing that monster spider on the wall in the bathroom without screaming.  (Not that the screaming would have mattered, Blockette was already not sleeping and screwing around in her room...the whole reason why I came upstairs in the first place.)

7. I didn't smash a hole in the wall when I smashed the above mentioned spider with my shoe.

8. Cool crisp mornings.

9. Realizing I was going to make a duplicate post about a recipe I already made, before I actually wrote the post.

10. Finding a replacement for dinner, without having to make a trip to the store, when I realized ALL the onions in the house were mushy and bad. (We were going to have crockpot apples and onions, but instead I made crockpot mulligatawny stew.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Microwave Oatmeal Cookie

When I saw this recipe for a microwave cookie from Molly Alice Nests I was totally jazzed.  It was very low sugar, flourless and eggless.  It seemed like a match made in heaven.

If I loved eggless microwave cakes (see here, here, here and here), then I'd go ga-ga for a cookie, right?

Sadly, not so much, at least not on my first attempt, seen here:
First, the cookie never got that "cooked" look to it, at least no where near the picture on Molly Alice Nests' blog.  I didn't care too much about that though.  I like underbaked cookies, particularly ones without eggs. It's just always a bit of a disappointment when your finished product looks nothing like the original.

There was just something off about the taste. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  The best way to describe it would a be sort of a salty metallic aftertaste.  Now, I did use blueberry yogurt instead of plain yogurt, but I don't think that was the culprit.  I have made a microwave cake before and used blueberry yogurt, many times.  None of those times resulted in this weird aftertaste.  I'm thought  perhaps it was just too salty.  The peanut butter already had salt in it, so maybe the extra salt was just too much.

If the odd taste wasn't from the salt, it might have been from the baking powder.  Sometimes that can give off a metallic taste.

So, I made a second cookie. This time I omitted the salt and baking powder.  I still only had blueberry yogurt, so I couldn't rule that out as the troublemaker.  I did have some blueberry flavored craisins that I thought would go nicely with the hint of blueberry from the yogurt.  I used those instead of mini chocolate chips as well.  I also microwaved this cookie for 50 seconds (instead of 35 seconds), and used a larger plate.

Here was the result:
The cookie still didn't have that same "done" look,  but the funky taste was gone.  The cookie was a bit more crumbly from the extra cooking, but still strangely moist.

Upon closer examination of the picture of the original cookie, it seems as if they used instant/quick cooking oats, instead of rolled oats like I had.  I bet that is why the texture of my cookie looked so different.

Over all, my second attempt at this recipe was pretty good.  I debated whether or not I preferred a microwave cookie to a mug cake.  My first instinct was to say mug cake.  I do like them best.  However, sometimes you just want a cookie...NOW.  This recipe gives you that instant gratification without even having to wait for the oven to preheat.

Below is the recipe I used for the second version of the cookie:

Microwave oatmeal cookie adapted from Molly Alice Nests
1/4 c old fashioned oats
1 T brown sugar
1 T creamy peanut butter
1 T blueberry yogurt
1 t cornstarch
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 t cinnamon
1 T blueberry craisins

In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix to form a thick dough. Fold in craisins. Line a microwave-safe plate with a small piece of parchment paper. Scoop the dough onto the paper and pat it into a 3-4″ disk. Microwave on high for 35-50 seconds, or until just cooked (don’t overcook, or it will be dry and crumbly). Let cool for a minute or two.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

PB Oatmeal Compost Cookies

I was craving some cookies the other day and decided to make these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Plain Chicken.


Lookie at that Peanut butter oat-y goodness.

I thought that the cookies were really tasty, but my family is used to a bit more oomph in their cookie.  So halfway through I added craisins, chocolate chips, peanuts and pretzels. 
They were a big hit with Mrblocko and Blockette. 

Personally, I prefer the "plain" version.

This recipe makes a lot of cookies, even before you add any goodies.  I baked the whole batch and stuck them in the freezer. Let me tell you, they freeze great!  They do lose some of the softness that the fresh cookies had, but I like my peanut butter cookies to be on the crumbly side.

Even before I added the chips and bits and whatnot, I thought the dough was extremely moist and sticky. I added an additional cup of oats, and that seemed to firm things up a bit.  Plus then you get the added benefit of extra oatmeal. 

As we all know, extra oatmeal + cookie = healthy cookie.

One little side note.  I eyeballed the measurements for the add ins.  I was slightly less than halfway through the recipe when I decided to jazz things up.  I estimated what I used, and then doubled that amount for the recipe below.  Just use whatever you have!  Peanut butter chips, coconut, pecans, walnuts, butterscotch chips, banana chips, potato chips...go crazy!

PB Oatmeal compost cookies adapted from Plain chicken
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup quick-cooking oats
heaping 1/2 c chocolate chips, coarse chop (I used semi sweet)
heaping 1/2 c broken pretzels
heaping 1/2 c peanuts, coarse chop (I used honey roasted peanuts)
heaping 1/4c craisins

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream shortening, margarine, sugars, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into creamed mix. Mix in oats, chips, pretzels, peanuts and craisins . Drop by small scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten scoops to encourage spreading.  Bake 10 min  til light brown. Don't over-bake. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chocolate Chili

There comes a time in every kids life when they have to learn a very valuable lesson in the kitchen:
 not all chocolate is created equal.

So I was making this chocolate chili from a recipe I found over at Our Best Bites, and the recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate.  Can you picture it?  I'm in the kitchen chopping up the little block of chocolate when Blockette spys what I am doing.

Her: "Ooooh!  Can I have some of that?"
Me: "No, honey.  You wouldn't like it.  It doesn't have any sugar in it."
Her:  "Pleeeeeease!  Just let me try it."
Me: "I'm not teasing. It's going to be gross."

 ::insert pitiful begging child face here:::

Then, I got this smirk.  It may or may not have been more like an evil grin.  I'm not telling.

Why not let her have some?  

So I did.

Child could not get enough water to get the horrible bitter taste out of her mouth.  She swore that she was NOT going to eat dinner, because if it had THAT chocolate in HAD to be disgusting.

Then we had a discussion on how certain ingredients need to be paired with others.  On their own, they are gross, but with their food buddy,  they actually taste good.  I pointed out how I use the very same type of chocolate when I make daddy's favorite Christmas cookies. That logic did the trick, because she loves those cookies too!

Once the chili was prepared, I had her test a small spoonful.  What do you know?  It was really good!

We ate ours poured over a plate full of beer fries.  

The changes I made to the recipe, plus eating them in the style of chili cheese fries, has really made this recipe stretch!  The leftover chili freezes and reheats like a dream for those nights when I just don't feel like cooking.

Chipotle chocolate chili adapted from Our Best Bites
1 lb. lean ground turkey
3 medium sized onions, chopped
1/2 roasted red pepper, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes (I had a mess of roma and cherry tomatoes from the garden. I eyeballed what I thought 2 cans would be.  I chopped the big ones up and mashed the small ones with a potato masher.)
1 c cooked kidney beans
2 c cooked black beans
1 c cooked quinoa
about 5 c turkey stock
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
one diced chipotle from a can
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (1/2 unsweetened baking cube), chopped (optional; use to taste as needed; be careful, because too much will make your chili bitter)
3-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Heat some olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and ground turkey until meat is cooked through. Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, tomatoes, beans, quinoa, chipotle and broth. Heat to boiling and then reduce to a simmer (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until thickened as desired (about 30-40 minutes).  (If you are using cherry tomatoes like I did, after 5-10 min of heat, smoosh the tomatoes with a potato masher.) Add 3 T red wine vinegar and a small amount of chopped chocolate at a time until desired richness is reached. If necessary, add more red wine vinegar to cut the sweetness of the chili. (I thought 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate and 3 T vinegar were perfect.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pinterest fact or fiction 5: cleaning nasty pans

I know I'm not the only one out there who has a nasty looking pan. You know the one I'm talking about. The one that no matter how hard you scrub, it just won't come clean.

The one that looks something like this:

What is that stuff?!  Not even Mrblocko can get that crud off.

You know I was totally amazed when I saw a pin from One Good  Thing by Jillee that claimed you could get a dirty pan like that clean with no scrubbing.  No Scrubbing?  Count me in.

She claims all you need to do is sprinkle on baking soda, then hydrogen peroxide, then some more baking soda.  I did just that and let the mixture sit for three hours. 

This was my end result:

It's not exactly clean, but it is clean-er.

You can even see the start of some silver metallic color peeking out at the bottom.

So it did work...sort of.

In this tip's defense, when I used my fingers to rub off the baking soda/peroxide, it changed from white to brown.  Maybe if I repeat this process a few more times the pan will get even cleaner.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thurs #38

1. Basil's second "mole" was actually a pimple...and he let me pop it.

2. Mrblocko teaching Blockette how to grill.

3. The congregation voted yes for the new associate pastor.

4. No one made a scene when the vote was announced. (Mrblocko and I were seriously worried about this.)

5. Having a back up plan when the dessert I made for Church turned out weird.

6. Our pastor, who had a medical scare earlier in the week, seems to be doing fine now.

7.  I slept the whole night in my own bed.  (It's so nice to have more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep.)

8 .I didn't get wet when the city decided it would be fun to flush the hydrants 5 minutes before school started.  (I even asked the guy to wait.  Dude said, "OK." then went ahead and did it anyhow.)

9. I didn't reflexively punch the kid who jumped out and growl-screamed at Blockette and I as we were coming up the stairs at church on Wed.

10. Blockette did not get all dramatic when she discovered she did not like artichokes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pinterest Fact or Fiction 4: Hard Water Stains

I saw this trick for cleaning hard water stains on Pins from the blogs: The Thrifty Home and Joyful Homecoming.

The trick is to saturate paper towels and wrap them around your nasty looking faucet.

Here's a picture of my disgusting sink:
This sink IS clean.  

I swear.

We have really hard water, AND water leaks from under the faucet handle.  Ugh.

So not a match made in heaven.

No amount of scrubbing was getting that crud off.  It's like cement.  Not even CLR made that mineral deposit disappear.

But, after a few hours of soaking, and a tiny bit of scrubbing with an old toothbrush, this was my result:


Granted the sink doesn't look like new, but it DOES look clean.

I was so excited that I had to summon Mrblocko to the kitchen to witness my handy work.  Even he was impressed.  I also told him to enjoy how nice it looked, because in about a week it would probably be all lime-y again.

One word of warning with this method of cleaning.: apparently, it is quite stinky.  I wouldn't know as I have a massive head cold. Luckily I cant smell a thing!  So when you do this, either be prepared to ventilate your house, or do what I did and catch a cold.

This one is definitely a Pinterest Fact!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Maple Cinnamon Banana "Ice Cream"

I liked the Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate chip Ice Cream so much, I had to make another batch the next day! This time I decided to switch things up a bit with maple, pecans and cinnamon flavors.

Which one is better?  I can't decide!

If you're a fan of maple or cinnamon, you'll love this version as much as I did.  Wanna know what the best part about this dessert was?  The maple and cinnamon flavors are so strong, I couldn't taste any banana.  Double super bonus!

Maple Cinnamon Banana "Ice Cream"
2 frozen bananas, sliced into coins
2 scoops of peanut butter (I used a tablespoon, not the measuring kind.)
3 regular tablespoons of Maple syrup (I used basic Pancake syrup.  In my opinion, it has a stronger maple flavor than the real stuff.)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (use less if you are not a total cinnamon junkie like me)
small handful of pecan pieces
small handful of Hershey's cinnamon chips

Pulse the frozen bananas in a food processor.  Add the peanut butter, syrup and cinnamon.  Blend until smooth and fluffy.  Pour into shallow container.  Fold in pecans and chips.  Eat now if you like soft serve, freeze for 2-4 hours for firmer consistency.  Serves 2.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pineapple Crunch Muffin

These Pineapple Crunch Muffin from Little Daisy's World were an odd little muffin.

They were super moist due to the pineapple, but the nuts gave them a bit of a crunch.  The crunch paired with the moist base was a weird sensation.  You don't really expect to have to chew something that moist.

Maybe it was for this reason that Mrblocko didn't like them.  Maybe they weren't sweet enough, or they were just too moist.  Or maybe he didn't like the texture of the bits of fruit.  I have no idea cause he wouldn't tell me why he didn't like them.

That was ok, because I liked them just fine.  I did have to put butter on them, which is not something I would normally do with a muffin.   The muffins were a nice change from the usual toast for breakfast.  Besides, I always consider it a bonus to eat fruit, no matter how small the portion.

Pineapple Crunch Muffin from Little Daisy's World
Makes 12 jumbo muffins or 24 regular sized muffins

2 1/4 c flour
3/4 c brown sugar
3 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 T mayo
1 c water
1/4 c oil
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 c crushed pineapple
Chopped peanuts for topping

Preheat oven at 400 F. In a mixing bowl, combine flour + brown sugar + baking powder + baking soda + salt.   In smaller bowl, mix mayo + water + corn oil + vanilla.  Add liquid into dry mixture and fold until just combined. Add crushed pineapple. Divide batter evenly into 12 large muffin cups, sprinkle crushed peanuts on top.  Bake 18 - 20 min, or until tops are golden brown. It's done when toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 min then transfer on cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful Thurs #37

1. Yet another week of not getting run over by careless drivers.

Source: Painting by Antton Pavlenko
2. My cold isn't so bad that I had to call in sick.

3. Naps.

4. I really like Blockette's teacher.

5. Cool Autumn weather.

6. Standing out in the rain wasn't as horrible as I imagined.

7. Free Chick-Fil-A. (Blockette has been wanting to go there all summer, never mind they hadn't finished building it until recently.)

8. Opting to not help make Dinner at church. (No one wants my sneezy snot nose anywhere near their food.)

9. We ran out of propane at the end of grilling the meal, not the middle.

10. My brain really hasn't been replaced by boogies.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Headband Fix: No more Geordi La Forge!

Maybe I've reinvented the wheel here, but I feel pretty creative that I thought of this.

Blockette has very fine blonde hair.  Most headbands slide down her face after less than a minute.  This causes her to look like Geordi LaForge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
LaVar Burton as Geordi La Forge
While LaVar Burton totally rocks this look, Blockette can't quite pull it off. 

It's really rather disruptive in school, church, watching TV, eating, breathing, etc 
when she has to keep adjusting her hair do every thirty seconds.

We pretty much gave up on headbands.

Then one Sunday morning I could not get my hands to cooperate.  I told Blockette to "just put on a headband"  so we could be done with it.  You would have thought we lived in Napa Valley for all the whine.  Ugh. I decided that we should eat breakfast, and I'd give her hair another attempt before we left for church.

While we were eating, I got to thinking about how some baby hair clips are just velcro with a bow on it.  If velcro works on fine hair, maybe the hook part will give the needed grip to Blockette's headbands.

This was the velcro I had.  It's hook only and 3/4" wide.  It even has a super strong sticky back.

I know the sticky back is super strong because it is leftover from covering up the opening to our 
crawl space.
I attached the velcro to the molding around the opening, and covered it with cream fleece.  
(Not only did it cover up the ugly door, but blocked out the draft as well.)

The Velcro has been up for over 5 years now with no sign of losing it's adhesion.

Here's what I did with the headbands:

I debated whether or not to put the Velcro all the way down the headband.  As I was a bit pressed for time, and the ends were tapered, I opted to just put Velcro at the top of the band.  I figured if it didn't work as well as we wanted it too, we could always add more.

It worked wonderfully!  

I only saw Blockette adjust her hair once the entire time we were at Church.

I'd call that success!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

I made pink raspberry lemonade freezer pie from Averie Cooks the other day when some friends came over for dinner.

I was a space cadet and forgot to take a picture.

Take my word for it that they looked similar to the ones over at Averie Cooks.

The original recipe calls for pink lemonade, but I used raspberry lemonade instead. We prefer raspberry lemonade to regular lemonade in our house. I'm not sure that was the best substitution though. I think the raspberry cut into some of the tartness that was needed to offset the sweetness.

As I was preparing this dish I was really afraid it would be too sweet. I gave the batter a test taste as I was preparing it and wow. Was it ever sweet. Freezing things tends to lessen the intensity of thinks like sweetness, so I was holding out for that. That did help, but I think this dish was still a bit over the top.

Of course the sweetness didn't stop us from eating the leftovers. We muddled through, making that sacrifice. Ok. In all honesty the bars were actually pretty good, it's just that they could have been better. I liked the saltiness of the crust. I cut the sugar in the crust by half, and next time I'd omit it. The desert is sweet enough, the crust is fine without it. If I were to make this dessert again, I think using concentrated limeade would be fun to try out.

Pink Raspberry Lemonade Bars adapted from Averie Cooks
2 1/2 sleeves of Ritz Crackers (about 3 cups of crumbs)
3/4 c butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
1 12-ounce can raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed to liquid
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 8-ounce container COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed to room temperature
red or pink food coloring, optional (I used about one dozen drops of neon pink food coloring)

Line a 8x8 or 9x9" pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. (I used 8x8.) Place crackers in food processor/blender and pulverize.  Place crumbs in bowl, add melted butter, and stir . Press a little less than 3/4 of mixture into bottom of prepared pan, set pan aside, and reserve remaining 1/4 crumbs.

In a lg bowl, combine lemonade concentrate, condensed milk. Add COOL WHIP. If desired, add food coloring drops to desired shade and stir until color is uniform. Pour mixture over crust, noting that you may have extra  mixture depending on the height of the pan; do not overfill the pan. Use extra mixture for a mini-tartlette, fruit dip, or just eat it. Top mixture with the remaining cracker crumbs by sprinkling them over the top. Place pan into the freezer to set up for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving. Store extra dessert in the freezer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

PB 'Nana Chocolate Chip "Ice Cream"

This September has been so hot and humid. Hey! Mother Nature! Don't you know school is on and that means it's like Fall now? I mean the tree in the front yard knows it's fall. It's already lost it's leaves. Ok. So it has Emerald Ash Borer and the tree is half dead anyhow, but that is beside the point.

What is the point? It's hot out. And I come home from standing outside for an hour and I'm dripping wet with sweat and grossities.  I wanted me something cold to eat for dessert. My tummy had been a bit on the wonky side so the milk based popsicles that were already in the freezer were not appealing in the least.

Then I remembered reading about "ice cream" made from bananas.  I had bananas...loads of them in the freezer.  Seemed like a match made in heaven.

I thought this recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Got Chocolate sounded particularly yummy.

Because I was all hot and sweaty I got all scientific with precise measurements.

I hacked up 2 frozen bananas into coins and tossed them in the food processor.

(In my opinion, the food processor is the key to the success of this recipe.  I've made banana smoothies before and the bananas always get caught in the blade, and don't blend very well unless you add a LOT of milk.  The Food processor really mashes them up nicely before they melt too much.)

Then I took a big cereal spoon and scooped out 3 blobs of peanut butter.  Then I added 3 regular spoonfuls of honey.  I pulsed it all together until it looked like creamy smooth mashed potatoes.  Next, I poured the mixture into a shallow container, and folded in a large handful of chocolate chips.

At this point the ice cream was soft serve consistency.  I could have eaten it right then and there, but it was only 4pm.  So I stuck it in the freezer for after dinner.

By the time homework was done, dinner was prepared and eaten, 2 hours later, the ice cream had hardened enough to be just barely scoop-able. 
This was what was leftover after Blockette and I got a hold of the ice cream.

How did the dessert taste?

Surprisingly, this did not have an over powering banana taste.  I think this had something to do with the bananas being frozen.  Maybe it masks some of that gross banana flavor. Anyhow, the "ice cream" was super delicious!

After  Blockette went to bed, I devoured the leftovers.  Because you know, I had not had enough fruit that day.  I wasn't a pig, just trying to be healthy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thankful Thurs #36

1. I did not get hit by any drivers stupid enough to run through my intersection.  (The stop sign I hold up isn't just one of my many glamorous fashion accessories people!)

2. I have not gotten sick at work. (My medicine was changed and the new stuff is making me very nauseous.)

3. The children's Tylenol expired. (This is the first time we haven't used it up before it expired.  Whoohoo!)

4. While it's been hot, there hasn't been a torrential downpour while I've had to stand outside.

5. Basil just had a run in with some cobwebs he didn't like, and wasn't foaming at the mouth because he was rabid or anything like that. (He was just trying to spit the yucky stuff out.)

6. Boo actually likes eating cobwebs. (If I could only figure out how to get him to eat the ones near the ceiling!)

7. Blockette hasn't worn out her welcome yet at the neighbor's.

8. No one came into our house while I was helping out at church and the garage door was open for over an hour. (or if they did they realized we have nothing worth taking!)

9. I think I figured out what was making the garage door act up. (cobwebs, leaves and grass clippings stuck to the bottom of the garage door interfering with the safety sensor.)

10. My thermos didn't break when I dropped it.  (My big toe cushioned the fall.)

11. I'm pretty sure I did NOT break my big toe when I dropped my giant water thermos on it.  (The thing flipping upside down as it fell was probably a good thing. I think the raised lip on the mug took some of the impact away from my foot.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

August Cross Stitches

I only stitched three things during the month of August.  I was really distracted by the Olympics, and more recently, Mad Men!

The three designs I did stitch were of London landmarks.  I thought that was a fitting crafty multi-task for the 2012 London Olympics!

These designs were from a British cross stitch magazine.  I think Cross Stitch Card Shop.

These were all stitched on a pale grayish blue 18 ct aida. 

Ugh.  What a nightmare that was.  They really should have been stitched on 14/28 count, or even 16/32 count fabric.  As it was, the back stitching sometimes got lost.  This was particularly the case with the Trafalgar Square design.  There is an insane amount of backstitching detail in the bottom third of the design.  All of this detail got all muddled together and there is absolutely no definition. 

Oh well.

It's not like I have any plans for the designs.  I just stitched them for fun.  Although, I do think they'd look nice if they were framed together in a horizontal triptych.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

August Reads

This was not a big reading month for me. We were really into watching the Olympics earlier this month. Then my Uncle passed on 4 seasons of Mad Men, so no reading for me!

I did manage to sneak in this odd little juvenile fiction called Star Shard by Frederic S Durbin.

 It takes place on this traveling market place that is actually a wagon as big as a small city.  I thought that concept was fascinating.

The main character, Cimbril, is a slave who works on the wagon as a singer.  Then a fae boy named Loric, is taken on as a slave, but he can't use his magic to escape because of the magic attached to the wagon.  Through the Loric, Cimbril discovers her true ancestory.  

I particularly liked Cimbril's cat Miwa and the race of creatures known as Strongarms.

 It's a great work of fantasy fiction for middle grade schoolers.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day differs in every essential from other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflict and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.
                                                                                                     - Samuel Gompers