Progress

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I'm still struggling along with May on the Song of the Weather SAL. It's not hard at all, but it is time-consuming. The bars are unevenly wrapped and that's much easier on my wrists, but it seems to be a lot slower. It's a nice technique and I really like the look of it. 

I've finished one entire side with the fan stitch as well which was different, but fun to do. You start with the long stitch and then weave around it so it's fully encased in thread in the middle. 

So far this has been my favourite month to work on since it's been fairly easy on my hands and wrists but it has been slower. I also really like the Caron Wildflowers Lilac and hope my Grandma will too. 

It's possible I'll finish tonight, but more likely in a couple of days and then I'll see what I pick up next. 

Happy Stitching,

Tiffstitch

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Songs of Summer

Here we are again, another top 10 Tuesday! I really need to figure out how to add the button to my blog. But for now I'll link again to Kate and Keeble's blogs so you can check out their picks. I'm guessing Keeb's will be heavy on Duran Duran, but check it out to see!

TOP 10 SONGS OF SUMMER

I was checking over my playlists and although I tend to listen to a lot of 90s music there are a few others on there. This summer however, I listened to the new Meghan Trainor album (Title) a lot! She uses several different styles in her songs and I like every song I heard. 

Some will get you up and dancing and others will let you mellow out and relax. Since that's mostly what I listened to this summer I'm going to pick my top 10 songs from the album. 

1. All About That Bass

I love this song. It doesn't matter how many times I've heard it, I still love it. 

2. Lips Are Movin'

This one is pretty fantastic as well, and I love her costumes in the video. 

3. Dear Future Husband

I love the doo-wop of this one with its modern lyrics and like many of her songs, it's also about respecting women. What's not to love about this:
You got that 9 to 5
But, baby, so do I
So don't be thinking I'll be home and baking apple pies

4. Close Your Eyes

This is a beautiful, powerful ballad. Like All About That Bass it also talks about body image and that the listener is perfect and beautiful exactly as they are. 
Everybody's born to be different
That's the one thing that makes us the same
So don't you let their words try to change you
Don't let them make you, into something you ain't... No!

5. Bang Dem Sticks

I dare you not to tap your foot to this one! I love the rock and hip-hop in this one and in high school I did date a drummer, so this has a little extra meaning to me as well. As in, I know what this means:
He could do the paradiddle
With a little bit of samba

6. Mr. Almost

The rhythm in this song is similar to All About That Bass in feel, at least to me, and again I like the sentiment. It feels like a familiar thing that many women go through, where they find an almost-perfect guy and you have to decide to make the break, even though it seems like the perfect relationship. 

7. Title

Okay, tell me if anyone hasn't been here. You're with someone you think of as your partner and get introduced as a "friend". I love the strength in this song and the "don't-mess-with-me" attitude. I wish I had this kind of confidence when I was that young. 

8. What If I

Another really great ballad. I love Meghan Trainor's voice and it feels like she can do a lot of different things with it. Although that might have been what led to her vocal cord hemorrhaging and eventual surgery? Anyway, I was reading that this song is about making the choice to have sex on your first date. I never realized that until I read it, so I think you should make your own decision about how the song makes you feel. I will continue to enjoy listening to it. 

9. Walkashame

This one is just funny. I haven't ever had this experience myself, but I know a few friends who have and think the song does a good job of finding the humour in what can be an embarrassing situation. 

10. 3AM

Picking the last one was a tough decision. I really do enjoy listening to the entire album, either all in a row or on shuffle. 3AM is similar to Walkashame in that you're doing something you're not exactly happy you did, but you don't seem to be able to stop yourself. I enjoy the fact she's taken aspects of life that happen to a lot of people and made excellent songs about it. 

If you get the chance to listen to the entire album, go for it. You won't regret it. 

Thanks for checking out my list and think about joining us for next week!

Tiffstitch



Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up and Weather

It was a beautiful weekend here and I ended up spending a fair bit of time outside. We got some yard work done and put some things away for winter as well. I did get a little bit of stitching time in and am closer to a finish on May:

I'm using Caron Watercolours and Wildflowers in Lilac. It's an interesting one to do and my first time stitching it. The other months I had attempted back in 2013.

I also got out Princess and the Dragon for a very tiny update:
the upper hand is growing.

Last night was the supermoon and I didn't take any photos myself, but this morning when I let the dog out I was surprised that everything looked orange. The sky was a terrible pink and orange colour. I grabbed my phone and this is as much as I could capture of it:



It definitely seems to be heralding some bad weather. It's only wind right now, but I'm expecting a storm before the day is out. I hope I don't have to drive home through it!

Happy Stitching,

Tiffstitch


Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday For the Finish!

One more down! This is 16 of 30 of my Crazy January Challenge pieces. I'm excited to get this one done as it feels like this one has been dragging on for way too long. 


I technically finished it Thursday night and started the next part of the Song of the Weather hardanger SAL, but who's counting? 

Really excited to finish the stitching and I think the finish-finish won't be too difficult. I have a couple more of these from the series so I may give them a try next year. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Happy Stitching,

Tiffstitch

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Stitch From Stash Part B - September Edition and WIP Wednesday

Month:     $25 for September
Spent:      $8 at Resale shop
Earned:    $6 each for January, February, March and April Song of the Weather
                 $16 for Box of Delights
Carryover:$54 from August
___________________________________
Total: $107 to carryover into October

And please check out everyone else's months over at Mel's host blog for SFS. 

Despite this being my birthday month I haven't spent much on myself. I found a couple bargains at the resale shop, and I have a few things in mind, but nothing has made it to home yet. 

Here's what I found:
one will be sent to a friend and the rest I'll keep.
And these are my finishes:
stitched on 25 count pewter lugana 2 over 2 with DMC 820 borders and various threads in the "sweets"

January with Caron Alpine Moss
February with WDW perle #5 and Caron perle#8 Heather
March with Caron Monsoon and DMC perle #5 blue
April with Caron Pale Lilac

and I'm doing well on my Dimensions Joy Ornament as well:

Another couple days should finish it and that will be 16/30 complete for CJC. And the weather is definitely cooling, so I might be able to get some of the others out too after I finish this. Or go back to Princess and the Dragon... I still haven't quite finished that page. :)


Happy Stitching,

Tiffstitch

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Cakes to Make You Bake

Today's topic is a fun one and I hope writing this after I ate will keep me from snacking. A consequence of writing food-related topics is the hunger that seems to follow looking at gorgeous photos of food! Especially after you check out Kate's and Keeb's posts as well.

I'll include a one-minute cake in my list if you want to satisfy these cravings. :) Also, unless I mention it, I have not attempted these recipes.

Top 10 Cakes to Make You Bake

1. Angel Food Cake

I used to have a problem with angel food cake when I was younger. In that I'd buy one at the grocery store and eat it over the course of a day or two. All by myself. Fortunately those days are over and I limit myself to indulging in the angel food cake my SIL makes. 

She is amazing at angel food cake! She can even whip the egg whites by hand! I have no idea how she manages it, but it always comes out perfectly delicious and spongy and wonderful. 

I would list this one as a challenge for a novice baker, but with some effort it could be successful.

image from epicurious.com
The flourless chocolate cake has been a fairly recent craze since gluten-free has become more and more commonplace. I haven't attempted one, but my best friend from undergrad says it was relatively easy and extremely delicious. Provided you like chocolate of course. :)

image from allrecipes.com
I've made this one twice now and it turned out well both times. If you live in the U.S. I recommend you get your goat cheese at Trader Joe's. It's great quality and a lot cheaper than anywhere else I've found. 

This recipe is a little time-consuming and will take up time in your oven, but it is worth the effort. No one will know it's not cow milk if you have anyone with dairy allergies and the crust is gluten-free if you want, so it works for people with celiac disease as well. 

image from paleomg.com
To give you a sugar break from the other cakes, try this one for a delicious alternative. It's easy to make, just be sure you stir everything very well. I would even mix it in another bowl before you put it in the mug to make sure it's mixed well. It's especially important to mix the coconut flour since it almost seems to resist being mixed with fluid. It's a very strange substance. 

I've made this a few times since it's relatively healthy, but I do usually add some maple syrup to sweeten it. 

image from wellnessmama.com
If when fall hits you're into pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin then give these pancakes a shot. The consistency is more like crepes, so feel free to slather them in other healthy substances like almond butter, etc. or go full on maple syrup! 

They're fairly quick to cook and I had no problems with any of the prep, etc. The eaters of above enjoyed them as well. 

image from rachaelrayshow.com
I used to love watching the Cake Boss. The drama started to get old after awhile, but I still like seeing the cakes put together. I'm sure this recipe is great if Rachael Ray featured it, so give it a try for your next event! 

image from allrecipes.com

Once upon a time when I was in high school, Mom and I were cleaning out the cupboards. We found a box of pound cake mix. We though, let's give it a shot and use it up. We ended up using all the butter in the house because, quiz time, guess why it's called pound cake? 

It uses a pound of butter!

It turned out well, and maybe it's slightly better with shortening? It's relatively easy to make, so give it a shot!

image from everydaymaven.com
I've made this one and it's a great, simple way to have chocolate cake in a few minutes. The great thing about this cake is it's single serve so it satisfies the need for cake without having to make a whole cake. 

Again, make sure you mix everything thoroughly, but this turns out well every time I've made it. Also, since it has an egg you can have it for breakfast right? Or is that only me?

image from thepioneerwoman.com
This recipe claims to be the best coffee cake ever, so if you try it, let me know. She gives some great how-to photos so you can check your consistency with the different ingredients as you mix them, and it doesn't look too difficult. If you like cinnamon and pecans, this is one to try. 

image from allrecipes.com
I love carrot cake, but I haven't had it in years. DH hates things with carrot baked into them, and if I made a carrot cake I would have to eat all of it. And I can't get it elsewhere since it always has cream cheese icing and that always has dairy in it. So, enjoy this recipe and let me know if you make it so I can live vicariously through you!

I hope you enjoyed the list and try one of the mug cakes if you have any cravings. :)

Tiffstitch

























Monday, September 21, 2015

IHSW - September Conclusion

Another IHSW has gone past and I hope you all had a great, stitchy weekend. I worked Saturday again, as I do most third weekends of the month, but I still had some stitching time.

I managed to finish April on the Song of the Weather SAL:
Caron Watercolours and Wildflowers in Pale Lilac

So that's 4/12 months complete. Hardanger is interesting, but the wrapping is really hard on my wrists. I'm still much more comfortable with cross-stitching.

I even dug out a really old WIP from 2012 to work on:

And I've managed quite a bit. I'm tempted to keep going until I finish since it's very nearly there. Possibly another week of nightly stitching will get this one finished. The top right only needs back stitch so you can tell it's a poinsettia and the bottom left one needs finishing. There is a bit of work to be done in the bottom right corner as well, but a lot of it is half stitch, so it goes fairly quickly. 

It was a little too warm for Princess and the Dragon until Sunday, but my wrists were sore from the hardanger and 28 count 1 over 1 is a bit of a challenge on the wrists sometimes too. This 16 count is a little easier. 

Don't forget to visit our host Joyce's blog at Random Ramblings and check out everyone else's posts!

Happy Stitching,

Tiffstitch



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

WIP Wednesdays

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's Top 10 post and you were able to check out Keeble's World and The Suddenly Kate Show to learn a little bit more about their parts of the world. Today I remembered to add their links...

And today it's WIP Wednesday! 

For various reasons Princess and the Dragon hasn't moved since Sunday:

And I saw someone else's on Facebook and they're doing something similar to what I've done to the dragon's chest. They're outlining and filling in. I already made a minor counting error in the dragon's neck, so I think I'm going to continue trying to do that for the larger areas. That part of the dragon's chest extends over 3 pages, so it's the safest thing for me to not lose count. I've been lazy and haven't gridded like I should have. 

I did progress on my Song of the Weather SAL though and finished March:

It's on white fabric, but the light I was using is very amber, and this is the best I could do with the new Google photos, which continues to frustrate me on their lack of editing options.

I stitched it with Caron Watercolours and Wildflowers Monsoon and DMC perle #5 something blue ;) I don't remember which one it is and I didn't mark it on the bobbin. 

My Queen's knots are horrible. I tried and tried and the first time I stitched this one I made gorgeous, plump knots. These ones are horrid and I can't fix them no matter how many times I did them over and over again. I gave up in the end. My grandma, the intended recipient, doesn't stitch and hopefully won't ever know they should look much better. 

I am mostly happy with the wrapped bars and I love the square filets. I think I really got how to do them well this time. 

I'm looking forward to April and I need to get something finishing by November and this may be the easiest one, so I may be pulling this out frequently. The other project I wanted to finish for my grandma was this one;

And I still like it, but it still has a long way to go. I've been waiting until the weather cools so I won't mark it because I don't think I can wash it afterwards and I don't want to take a chance with it. 

Also, I love the pattern in the center circle, but can anyone tell me what you see there? I know what it should be, but I worry it's not easy to tell and my grandma will be like "Oh, how lovely" just to be nice. She's great like that, but I'd like her to know what it is too! It's easier to decipher if you back up a little. 

Thanks for your help!

Happy Stitching,

Tiffstitch




Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Things to Do Near Here

This post is likely going to be a little late since I managed to skip today's topic and write about next Tuesday's topic instead. I re-scheduled that one to post on September 22, when that topic is up and I'll write today's post now. 

Fortunately there's a lot to do in my local area of Vermont, so I hope to get this one up fairly quickly. Unless stated otherwise, the photos were all taken by me.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO NEAR HERE

1. ECHO Aquarium

DD has been having a lot of fun when she gets to visit ECHO. There are so many different activities for children and it's interesting for adults as well. DH and I went pre-DD a few years ago and had an enjoyable time. There are a lot of interactive displays and that includes interacting with sea creatures. 

The one display that blew me away was how the zebra mussels, an invasive species, can cover things so quickly. They showed 3 bikes that had all harsh chemicals removed and were left in the lake for ever greater lengths of time. Even after one day the coverage of mussels was significant. The bike that had been there 2 weeks looked like a bike shaped jumble of mussels, you couldn't see any bike parts at all. 

2. Burlington, Vermont Waterfront


There are a lot of things you can do on the Waterfront. There are several great restaurants, hotels with a view of the lake, and a really nice walking path. The walking path even has large swinging benches so you can sit and enjoy the view. 
image from churchstmarketplace.com
The Island Line bike trail also passes through the waterfront and I've ridden the entire length, about 20 miles, there and back. It ends at the causeway in the middle of Lake Champlain. The trail was mostly destroyed by tropical storm Irene in 2011, but it's all been built back up now. They had cranes, etc. on barges and heaved tons (literally!) of rock and gravel to rebuild the causeway and path.

3. Church Street in Burlington, VT

This is a pedestrian-only street and it's busiest from spring to early fall, but even in winter the shops are open and there are a lot of pedestrians. There are many unique stores and some great restaurants as well. It's a really unique place and they go to a lot of effort to keep it looking clean. 

In late July/early August there's a Festival of Fools that was a lot of fun, and you can catch music festivals throughout the summer months. 

4. Champlain Valley Fair and Franklin County Field Days


We've had a great time every year we've been to the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex, Vermont and we've good every year for a long time now. We missed the Franklin County Field Days this year because of work and visits from family, but it was a lot of fun last year. DH met one of his favourite wrestlers ever, Paul "The Butcher" Vachon. It's a lot smaller than the Champlain Fair, but they pack in a ton of events, so it's a great time. 

5. Car Shows

There are a lot of car shows in the area and they take place from spring to fall. We went to one in Stowe for the first time this year and it had hundreds of really amazing vehicles. We also tend to go to the NSRA Nationals at the Champlain Expo each year. Most owners are happy to let you take photos of their rides and very willing to talk about their vehicles as well. 

6. Skiing
image from smuggs.com
There may not be 100 ski resorts in Vermont, but there might be 50. There have any kind of skiing and/or snowboarding you're interested in. The Green Mountains are full of resorts and trails and if we have another snow like last year, then you're in for a great ski season. 

I linked to Ski Vermont above and that's your first stop if you'd like to come skiing in Vermont. They list all the resorts and you can search by the type of skiing you're interested in. 

7. Lake Champlain Boat Tours
image from Northern Lights
There are a few different boat tours that run through the non-winter months. The Spirit of Ethan Allen is one, and Northern Star Lake Cruises, and Northern Lights, and you can even tour a shipwreck at the Maritime Museum.

I've yet to go on any tour, but it's a beautiful way to see the lake. Currently they're running the fall foliage tours since that's a big draw to the area. There is a lot of unspoiled country and you can see the leaves changing really well up here. 

8. Fishing/Ice Fishing


I mentioned in my top 10 fears post about how I'm afraid of falling into ice and not being able to get out again, so walking out on the ice to get these photos was an experience. I was able to deal with my fear somewhat and it helped that there was a big truck way out from the shore, but I wouldn't let DH drive our truck out there. That terrified me beyond belief. 

Ice fishing and fishing during non-winter months is a huge industry here. I don't see the draw myself, but if your income depends on it, of course you'd be out there in all weather to catch fish. I don't know if you can tell by the last photo, but the ice is maybe a foot thick there. So it's safe, but who said fears are rational? :)

9. Hiking

If you're interested in hiking there are a lot of great trails in the area. One sort of rite of passage seems to be climbing up Camel's Hump. I have yet to attempt it, but maybe when DD gets a little older. There's also a decent trail behind the Trapp Family Lodge that DH and I attempted a few years ago. That's much gentler and would be a good first hike for DD. 

Some people attempt the Long Trail, a 272 mile track all the way through Vermont. It coincides with the Appalachain Trail for 100 miles in Southern Vermont. That would definitely be an adventure, and I don't know that I will ever attempt it. 

I did a very small amount of hiking in Smuggler's Notch, but it was with my mother and she wasn't up to much hiking. It was beautiful scenery up there though. Apparently there are all kinds of caves and little hideaways in the Notch and that's why it was named "Smuggler's". 



10. Shelburne Farms and Museum
You can stay overnight right on the lake at Shelburne Farms. The house has a full restaurant featuring food from the farm and several great rooms with lake views.
 The dairy barn, outstanding architecture!
 And from the back you can see the rest of the Green Mountains.
 The Ticonderoga at Shelburne Museum, sailed into place and then tons and tons of dirt was dumped behind it to make it land again.

These are two separate properties and both could keep you busy for a couple days per area. Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit agricultural farm that keeps grass fed cattle and other animals. They also maintain their woodlands in a sustainable manner and you can stay on the property at the Webb house.  There are great trails to walk through and you can come upon interesting architecture, like in the dairy barn above, and odd sculptures. 

Shelburne Museum is enormous! We thought we'd go one day before I had to work and we didn't have time to see more than maybe 25% of it, even though we were there about 4 hours. They have many permanent displays and some displays change from year to year. We saw a fantastic Ansel Adams and Edward Burtynsky photo show a couple years ago. There are displays of almost anything you could think of, including some really creepy dolls in one house. There is a replica house on the grounds that houses the Webb's real furniture and the art they had collected, like Degas and Monet and Cassatt. 

If you make it to Vermont, this is well worth a day or two to investigate. 

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into Vermont!

Tiffstitch