Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

 
Chances are pretty good in this house that we won't see the ball drop and that's okay with us.  Wishing you all a wonderful and happy New Year!!
 
Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Maddie's Merry Christmas

Ah the day after Christmas and we are moving slow and feeling lazy.  I hope you all had a wonderful day.  It was, like usual, just the two of us and it was wonderful.  We opened presents on Christmas morning and then I made brunch.  I had a new pair of pj's to put on after my shower - the top of the pj's said Naughty and the pants said naughty/nice.  Cute and Comfy.  We cooked a yummy turkey breast and the dressing I talked about in another blog post.  So delish!

Now Maddie would like to share her Christmas - she loves the holiday.  She always gets a present or two and we have to put them up high or she will open them before the big day. 

Opening up her Christmas Dolly

Chanceman watching her like "what the heck is this darn dog up to"

Dolly revealed, now where is that squeaker.................


Now that all her presents are open, it's time to help others

Present retrieved, so now it's time to shred the paper - oh how we love to shred wrapping paper

 
 
Now that all the presents are open, Maddie finds herself exhausted


Time for a winter nap, we've had our presents, we've shredded paper, we've had some treats and our Christmas Bully Stick, the day is complete, well the morning is complete, we might get a treat or two later!!

Maddie really enjoyed Christmas and she hopes all of you enjoyed it as much as she did.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam (Maddie's Mom)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Since I won't be on the computer much the next couple of days I wanted to wish all my blog land friends a Very Merry Christmas.  I hope you are blessed this season with love and family gathered round.  I treasure the friendships I have made with people all over the world and feel that my blog and meeting you all has enriched my life.

 
Merry Christmas!!
Tam

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Soup and Carolers

What a lazy Sunday and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I baked crusty bread today.  I mistakenly used the whole wheat flour and was worried it might not turn out so well, but it turned out great and was delicious.  I also put together broccoli cheese soup and while not exactly like the restaurants soup I fell in love with, it was really good.

Yummy Crusty Bread
Broccoli Cheese Soup while it's still simmering

Broccoli Cheese soup once I took my immersion blender to it to break the broccoli
down and I added the cheese (white sharp cheddar and medium cheddar)
It was a hearty and delicious dinner on a cold night.  If anyone wants the soup recipe, let me know.  It was a recipe adapted from the food networks recipe and I can't find the darn link to save my soul.

Our neighbor is Ukrainian and he and his family and friends from Church were going to go out caroling and asked CR if they could stop by and carol for  us.  CR said sure - we've never had a group of carolers come to our door.  Well it was quite a gathering.  Our neighbor was playing guitar, they had an accordion player, a trumpet player and a sax player and many beautiful voices.  They sang a traditional English carol and then a Ukrainian carol in their native language.  Both were so beautiful and it was so much fun to have them stop by.  Our neighbors are just really wonderful and we get a kick out of their kids (in fact they call CR Grandpa and he doesn't mind at all).  We took some of my pumpkin chocolate chip bread to them and as the carolers were moving on Vadim's wife Yelena said that they all LOVED it.  So nice to hear.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors.

What a wonderful way to end a very nice day.  I'll be saying the same thing tomorrow night too because I have a 3pm massage planned.  I need it after that darn oral surgery and sleepless night.  I think every square inch of my neck and shoulders and back are aching from that adventure.

So how was your weekend?  Are you off to work or are you taking some time off for the holiday?

Happy Stitches and Merry Christmas!!
Tam


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shortest Day of the Year

I'm always glad when this day rolls around.  It means that now the days will gradually start getting longer with more daylight and less darkness.  We've had some cold weather so far, but at least we've seen lots of sunshine and that has made the short days a bit easier.  We even had a touch of snow on Friday, only that it melted that afternoon, which isn't all bad!!

Today I cleaned house and did the floors and now I'm done and ready for the holiday.  We aren't doing much of anything, but it's nice to have the house fresh and clean (of course I clean every week, so I guess I didn't do anything special did I).

Tomorrow I'm trying out a new recipe for Broccoli Cheddar soup.  I hope it's as good as it sounds.  We met our friends the Debatista's for lunch a couple of weeks ago and the place we ate at had the most delicious Broccoli Cheddar soup - I've been craving it ever since.  I'm also going to make a loaf of the easy to make Crusty Bread I told you about a while back.

I captured a picture of Scotchie today that was so cute.  He loves to sit in Cliff's lap and get his tummy rubbed, his eyes will role in back of his head and you'd think he was on drugs.


My implant area is doing quite well and the need for any pain meds is behind me now.  Tomorrow is the last of the antibiotics - I'm a new person I tell ya.  CR on the other hand is taking pain meds for his back.  He hurts so bad it's hard to get comfortable.  Sadly he won't be seeing the specialist till Jan 13th and they don't have a waiting list for cancellations so no answers or solutions till then for him.  We try to minimize what we do so he doesn't have to walk much and I have him pushing the cart in all stores if they have a cart (I remember this trick from when my hip was so bad - it really does help).

My friend Carline suggested an Eleanor Burns pattern when I posted about looking for a Tree Wall Hanging.  It arrived this week and was signed by the lady herself.  I LOVE Eleanor Burns, so it's a thrill to have a signed pattern of hers.



I also follow a blog called Pots and Pins and in her post today she talked about using a pastry cloth.  Well I'd never heard of one, but I liked what I read about it, so I went out and got myself one.


While I was at Gadgets and Goodies for the pastry cloth, the owner was showing this man a chopper device that was really good at chopping and so easy on the hands.  Well I have such bad arthritis and I hate to use my food processor (cleaning it is a pain in the butt), so I picked myself up this handy and easy chopper.  It does onions, nuts, you name it................

And then there were sampling this DECADENT hot chocolate, ugh, guess who doesn't need it, but came home with some anyhow..................

CR and I love mint chocolate, so I think we'll enjoy a bit of this - perhaps for dessert.

So there you have it.  We are all spruced up and ready for the holiday.  Christmas Eve a friend is coming over and we are having Baked Potato Soup and Crusty Bread with rosemary and gruyere cheese in it.

For Christmas Day we are cooking a turkey breast and I'm making a ciabatta bread, Italian sausage and fennel dressing.  Simple, but I think it will be delicious.  Oh and lets not forget a Pumpkin Crunch desert - the stuff is so good it's hard to just eat one serving!!

And sometime in the next few days I have to make more Cherry Almond Biscotti.  I was talking to my Aunt Shirl this week and telling her about it.  I could hear her drool hit the floor over the phone, so I took the hint and told her I'd make some and send it to her and Aunt Jean after the holiday.

So how are your holiday plans coming together - are you ready??  Is anyone ever completely ready, or are we just ready enough to enjoy it and make the most of it.

Happy Stitches and Merry Christmas,
Tam

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birdhouse

Looking through the last few posts I realized that I didn't share a very special gift that was sent to me from my Aunties in North Carolina.  They know how much I LOVE Jim Shore and they found this adorable  bird house for me.  I was so thrilled when I opened it because I've not seen anything like this of Jim Shore's around our area - and trust me I drool over all things Jim Shore - especially his angels, but really there isn't a thing of his that I don't like.  I'm going to hang it - well I'm going to have CR hang it, in my sewing room so I can enjoy it while I sew. 

Let the drooling commence:





Isn't it gorgeous.  And so sweet of the Aunties to remember how much I love JS and find this special piece for me. 

I've been on a dose of hydrocodone for my implant pain, luckily today is better so I'm not taking it, but I get the worst headaches from this pain med (and I don't sleep well) and it seems to take forever for the headache to go away even after I quit taking the meds. 

Do pain meds bother you??  The other option which is the generic for Percocet makes me scratch till I bleed and I was told I'm allergic to it.  I sure don't get how people become addicted to this stuff, it just makes me miserable and I only do it to get past the worst pain.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Angels and MRI's and Dental Work

This has been quite the week for us.  We started Monday out with me getting a post implanted for my tooth implant.  It was supposed to take an hour, took almost 2.  Mouth started waking up 3/4's of the way through, so OUCH, more numbing stuff and all was fine.......................until it totally wore off that night around midnight.  The pain was horrible and the drugs weren't helping much.  I had a miserable night to say the least, a bad headache and an upset stomach from the drugs and a swollen cheek that looked like I was storing nuts for the winter.

It still hurts, but not like it did Monday night.  I'm still swollen and bruised (at least you can't see evidence of the bruising).

So Tuesday while I laid around in misery and slept a lot, CR had an appointment for an MRI for his back.  He's been in a lot of pain and an x-ray showed that there are some problems that required an MRI for a better look so we could get a path forward on how to treat the problem.  Well, his pain is bad and he couldn't lay on that darn hard table to have an MRI done.  He came home frustrated.  The doctor called in a prescription for pain meds and rescheduled his MRI for today and luckily he was able to tolerate laying there long enough to get the pictures.  Now we are waiting to get him into the doctor and that might not be till mid-January.  Not what we wanted to hear, but whatcha ya gonna do, right.

On the way home I asked CR to stop by a favorite little local shop called Gadgets and Goodies.  They have all sorts of gifts and kitchen things and fun stuff.  I wanted to get some more coarse sugar for biscotti making.  While we were there we took a look at the Jim Shore Angels and CR bought me this one:



Isn't she beautiful and I love the birds in her hands and the woodland animals around her.  Sadly the little shop is closing up in January.  The owner has had some health issues that made her evaluate what she was doing and spending more time with family was her decided priority.  I sure think that it's a good decision for her as owning a business is quite time consuming and exhausting. 

It's been warm, relatively speaking, around here (43 today).  However, the grey skies are a bit depressing - ah heck, it's winter.  Only 3 more days till the shortest day of the year and then our days start getting longer again.  The weather man says we might get snow on Friday, we shall see.  The temps are supposed to turn colder again.

Christmas is just 7 days away and the New Year around the corner.  Time sure flies the older I get.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bliss

Today was one of those days.  I wasn't feeling that great, but I'm not sick, but I'm off, sort of day.  So I thought I'd deliver some baked goodies to a few friends who I like to remember this time of year.  I was thinking it would pick my spirits up, but no one was home, so I had to leave goodies on their doorsteps.  Luckily everyone was thrilled with the deliveries.

I came home and thought, hmmmm, perhaps some baking would cheer me up.  Baking is something I always find enjoyable.  I've had this new recipe for copy cat Cranberry Bliss Bars like they have at Starbucks.  Oh how I love those cranberry bliss bars and being able to duplicate them sounded like fun.  So I did, and they are a hit!!


That however didn't really pick me up, so I decided to watch a Christmas Movie.  There are 2 movies that tie for my favorite Christmas movie and they are White Christmas and Christmas Vacation.  So since I needed a laugh, I chose Christmas Vacation.  It did pick me up and it did make me laugh.

I also finished Septembers block for my block of the month quilt:


I used buttons for the apples in the tree.  I need to embroider the rope for the tire swing and the word School for above the door, but the block is done. 

I was thinking about doing the blanket stitch by machine and then had a change of heart.  I'm going to do it by hand.  After all I'm in no rush to finish it and I'd like to take my time and do it right - it's been a labor of hand sewing love thus far so it seems I should continue on that way.

The temps have warmed, tomorrow it's supposed to be around 42, a heat wave, haha.  I think it would be fun to have snow for Christmas, but not sure that will happen.

I'm all set to have some oral surgery for a tooth implant on Monday, I'm not excited about it, but I'm ready to just get it done and over with.

So how was your weekend??  Are you still busy shopping and baking and wrapping presents??  I have everything done which I'm so glad about.  I didn't want to take a chance that the oral surgery thing would get in the way of plans, so I got it all done in advance.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Need Your Help

I am looking for a quilt pattern/wall hanging of a Christmas Tree.  Since I don't put up a tree because of our kitties, I thought it would be cool to find a pattern and make a quilt with a tree, or wall hanging, something not to huge so I can put it up on the wall.  Can anybody point me in the direction of a book or pattern(s) that might have something like this??  I would sure appreciate any information that might help me find what I'm looking for.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Strolling the Block in my New Slippers

Back in 2002, Jan Schmidt designed a Block of the Month quilt for HGTV and the Simply Quilts show with Alex Anderson.  My friend Kelly made this quilt, I fell in love with it and so I decided I  would try my hand at applique (this is the first applique I'd ever attempted).  I have picked it up and put it down many times over the years and for some reason I got the bug again to pick it up and finish it.  I had all but 4 of the 12 blocks done and the fabric just waiting for me to finish.  Now I can say I have all but the month of September done and I'm really excited about it.  I was going to wait till September was done, but just couldn't wait to show off my blocks.  I actually did show 8 of them off a while back (a while meaning a couple years ago).  What does all that strolling have to do with slippers - well Cliff bought me a pair of UGG slippers, hooray, no more hot sweaty feet and kicking my slippers off, then freezing feet!!

Ready to stroll:

January

February

March

April

May

June
 

July

August

No September - yet........


October

November

December
I do plan to blanket stitch over my applique - by machine, my hands couldn't possibly do it with the arthritis I have.  So the blocks aren't completely done, and of course I have to add the sashing (meaning I have to figure out a sashing fabric) and then I have to decide about the border.  Do I want a solid border or do I want to do the piano keys which is part of the original pattern - any thoughts?

I tried and tried and tried to find a link to the patterns on the HGTV website and man if it's there it is buried.  I did find a link for what the finished quilt looks like that someone else made (a couple of her blocks are different than the original pattern) and it is here.  I did fine the beginning video and other videos of the original show about this BOM and it might be useful - here.

Here is a version of the quilt that looks like the original pattern:
Here is what HGTV's Strolling the block quilt looks like...and to follow, what our quilt will look like!

My new UGG Slippers - in a lovely choc. brown colors so they won't show the coffee spills (wink)
Cliff and I both had appointments at the Ortho Doc's today.  I think I mentioned that he's not been moving very well lately.  They thought it was the hip so he got a cortisone shot in the hip before we left for the beach.  That helped the groin pain, but still he was having major problems.  Well today they x-rayed the back and by golly he's got some problems, so he's going to get an MRI and see if a series of epidurals will give him relief.

I got a cortisone shot in my shoulder (a yearly thing to keep it from hurting - thank you arthritis) and thought I'd be getting a thumb joint injection as well, however there was another option, a very light weight brace for taking some of the pressure off the thumb joint.  I jumped at the chance to give that a try for 4 weeks and see if the thumb joint pain would resolve itself.  Last time I got a cortisone injection in the thumb joint I had a couple of painful days and sleepless nights.  I'll do it if I have to, but if this brace will work, hooray for me, right!!

Monday I go to the dentist type of guy to begin the process of getting an implant for the huge gap where they pulled a tooth this summer.  I'm not looking forward to it, but I will be glad to have a tooth back.  I hope they give out good drugs because while I can handle a fair amount of pain, mouth pain is something I just don't tolerate well.

So what have you been up to - is your Christmas shopping done, are you baking or sewing gifts??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baking

This weekend I decided I'd do some baking.  I also decided I'd vacuum and mop the floors.  What I didn't think through was in what order that should have been done.  So after doing the floors, I baked - not thinking about the fact that I was baking biscotti and that requires a lot of flour, which if you're messy like me, means flour on the floor - yep the clean floor.  Oh well, gotta do the floors often as it's a never ending process.

So this weekend I baked these Almond Joy Bites - a recipe I saw on Facebook.  I'd do it a bit differently next time, but they turned out well and are delicious.  Here is a picture before the chocolate drizzle on top.


Then I made Martha Stewart's Cherry Almond Biscotti - one of my very favorite biscotti recipes.  You get the cherries plumped up and drunk in some amaretto to begin with, which has to be good, who doesn't like a drunken cherry!!


Then I made a copy cat Starbucks Gingerbread Biscotti.  Oh my they are really good.  I have them packaged up for the night and will drizzle them with white chocolate tomorrow.


Tomorrow it's time to clean the bathrooms and kitchen again, man seems like I'm doing that every week - oh wait, I am.  I'm also going to make some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread using my Grandma's Pumpkin bread recipe.  It's one of my faves at the holidays and a favorite for everyone I bake it for.

It's been super cold around here and with the wind chill in the minus degrees, burrrrrrrr!!  It's supposed to warm up a bit, so it can snow and ice rain.  Never ending winter time fun, NOT.

How was your weekend??  How was your weather??

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Just a Little Decorating

At first I wasn't going to decorate for Christmas.  After all it's just myself and CR.  Decorating is a lot of work and CR said that he didn't care if I did or didn't decorate this year.  So I figured I was off the hook.  But then I got to thinking I should put a few things out and not be such a scrooge.  So I decided yesterday I'd put a couple things out.  Once I got into it, got all the stuff out, started playing Christmas music and remembered how cute my decorations are and how much I love them - well, it threw up Christmas in this house.  We don't do a tree (cats), but you can't mistake what time of year it is if you come over.

I made some winter themed slip covers for pillows around the house
 
Grandma's Santa Collection

My Jim Shore Christmas Angels - I love my Jim Shore Angels

Santa Quilt and a Snowman pillow a friend embroidered for me a few years ago

I also LOVE Snowmen

More Snowmen

A few more Santa's that I've collected

More winter pillow slip covers and snowmen and Santa bears
I seriously didn't mean to put so much out, but it looks nice and festive and it makes me happy, so it's all good.  And sadly, I have a lot more stuff that I could have put out.  I think I need to weed through my decorations - I don't have enough house for it all and I refuse to decorate a bathroom!!

While we were at the beach (which is covered in snow today), we went to the Maritime Museum in Astoria, OR.  We just love that place and in the gift shop I found this photo of an Oregon Coast light house on the cliff covered in the fog and mist.  So I bought a frame and here it is:


I also found a card that a local artist did of Tillamook Head Lighthouse (my very favorite light house along with the light house at Cape Hatteras, NC).  I thought it was beautiful and while only a 5x7 card, I put it in a frame also:


This past Thursday we met up with Candace and Bob from Squash House Quilts and had lunch at Great Harvest Bread Co.  They were giving out samples of Eggnog Bread and Candace and I got to talking about recipes using Eggnog.  I was so glad she let me know they'd be in town (they live an hour to the east of us), CR and I really enjoy their company!!  I sent her a couple of links to an Eggnog Pound Cake and Eggnog Cookies and she sent me a link to Eggnog Bread.  So I baked up some eggnog bread and it was delish (I didn't frost mine).  For dinner I made a baked potato soup.  CR had a good day with all the yummy smells and then getting to eat it all as well.  If you're interested in the Baked Potato Soup recipe - just let me know I'd love to share it.  It's super easy to make too!!

So what are you up to this weekend??  It is really cold here so we are staying inside.  I'm going to vacuum and mop and then bake a Cherry Almond and Gingerbread biscotti.

Happy Stitches and Hugs,
Tam