Well another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Temperature is closing in on 60 today so people are out and about and we have visitors in town for New Year's Eve so we were really busy yesterday which I didn't expect. I'm still recooperating from Christmas lack of sleep, etc., so I was thrilled when 4 p.m. hit and I was able to go home where I had plans to take a nap before hopefully getting back to my needlework which has just been sitting in my tote for almost a month. I'm having serious withdrawal symptoms. Anyway, as I'm putting the scooter away (that's how nice it is I'm still riding myscooter to work), Mary stopped me and said, Izi was hoping he could come down but if I wasn't up to it she'd tell him he can't. Now you grandmothers know that when a grandchild wants to come we try to buck up no matter how tired and say, "Oh, I'd be thrilled to see him. Absolutely tell him to come down." Sara who arrived before Izi to finish the Death by Chocolate cake that I started 4ays ago for Christmas Day (that's a whole other story), said "why didn't tell him you were tired." Can't wait for her to become a grandmother. Yes I know Vernon's daughter has 2 sons which Sara regards as her grandchildren, they aren't Michaels. That's when she will know the grandmothers creed..."no matter what obstacles you are facing when grandchildren want to come to your house, everything waits until they go back home again." Thankfully around 6 p.m Mary called Izi home for dinner so I was able to get a nap in. But when I woke up I still didn't even pull my stitching out of the tote. Oh well, today might just be the day. I feel so guilty anyway because I didn't get a Christmas gift done for Sara. Mary doesn't stitch and really doesn't seem to care if she gets no stitching,, although she loved the Shepherd's Bush stockings, but I have a few things that I think she might like, but Sara likes everything and I have about 5 projects already stitched just not finished. That's my resolution for the new year, Sara gets a stitched and finished needlework gift for every occasion. Now let's just see if I'm able to keep that up. Let's see, first occasion Valentine's Day. I have just the perfect piece and I've already finished one piece os it and I don't even think it will be that difficult. But starting January 1st, I also have to start working on the challenge piece again because this year is the show up with it completed or be prepared to pay $25.00, and you know I can't have that. But I've seen such wonderful projects I want to stitch from a variety of designers but I have to get my mojo back. I've seen pictures from several people regarding Christmas so I think most of you had a festive time and we were no different. We always gather as a family at my apartment simply because I don't want to leave on Christmas Day. This year we had all grown kids return for the day (Michael, Liz (Michaels girlfriend), Jake (the young man who moved in with Sara and Vernon in high school who has since moved in October closer to his work)and Christopher, Brian's son, come to celebrate with us so that's always a good thing. In all there were 12 of us. For me there is a lot of memo's about food, etc., menues, shopping, etc. I also made a schedule when food needed to be started, which day prior to the day as well as oven temps, and time. Yes I was organized to a T, which is why I was so shocked when it all went to hell in a handbasket. I started Monday making the Cheesecake and Hershey Chocolate Pie as well as the vegetable cheesecake appetizer (which I had last year and Jake loved it so much he requested it again this year.) I had the candied sweet potatoes, sweet pickled peaches and pickled beets readyon Monday...Yes, I was going to make it (which should have been my clue that it wasn't going to happen.) My surprise for dessert was going to be a dessert called "Death by Chocolate." Many of you probably ate at the Trellis in Williamsburg and it was a headlining dessert there and lucily they did a cookbnook which I purchased. I've done the cake before and it was a hit, but a whole lot of work, but with 42 oz. of chocolate in it how could you not have it. So can be made in one day if you want to start at about 1 a.m., but even they suggest you do the layers over a 3 day period. Knowing meringue has to be made early on and during dry weather I made my chocolate meringue on Monday and it was beautiful when it came out of the over. The rest, chocolate mousse, Mocha chocolate mousse, brownie and ganuche I figured were the easy parts. The appetisers I was leaving until the last minute, after all the vegetable cheesecake was already done. The others were a Brie in puff pastry, baked onion dip, and little pizza's for the kids. Tuesday turned out to be my waterloo. I just couldn't get my S*#$ together, so while I got the house picked up that was about it. So Christmas morning my hit the floor and they never stopped moving and I was getting things done, but by the time Sara arrived in the afternoon to help I was a wreck, so she took the wheel and she decided the Death by Chocolate wasn't going to happen, nor were any of the other appetizers. So she decided we would stick with the Turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, Green bean casserole, roasted asparagus (I had planned on Hollandaise sauce- she said screw that), my cinnamon dinner rolls (which Solomon loves) so I made those, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and then the items I had already finished. I got over what didn't get done, like the Death by Chocolate, but decided that would become part of our do-over dinner on the 26th. (Family tradition is that we gather on the 26th and eat as much of the left overs as possible.) I always think it would be nice if I make some new stuff for that dinner, so I just satisfied myself that I would bake the brie, make the baked onion dip and the cake for it. Sara again arrived at my house in the afternoon to find me in the kitchen covered in chocolate, and furiously making mousse. I had the turkey done (I ordered a turkey and a turkey brest for Christmas and got 2 turkeys instead) the rest of the things hadn't left the refrigerator yet and I was working on the cake. So Sara put an apron on and she said what's left. So she worked on the mocha mousse and the gaunauche and then I read the sentance that just put a dagger through my heart, why the hell didn't I remember this from 30 years ago.....cake has to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours but preferably 12. I was discusted and said the hell with it, let's just work on the appetizers and forget this. But she said no we're going to finish the next layers and then we will assemble it and we'll have it on Saturday. I said, I hade no intention of doing a do-over on the do-over but she said she'd come over after work on Friday help finish assembling and then each family could take some. And she said the hell with the appetizers. The only thing I insisted on finishing was the Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets which I was in the process of finishing. It had been marinating all day. My Izi doesn't eat very much but he loves the nuggets and chick fil a. I had the dry mix already together so it was a matter of draining the nuggets, covering them with the dry mix and frying them. Vernon arrived and Sara put him in charge of that. So even though we had caos in the kitchen, and Jake and Christopher didn't show up the rest were here and dinner was wonderful. Izi said the nuggets didn't taste exactly like chick fil a but he thought they were very good. Apparently others were curious because Sara, Vernon, Michael and Mary said they tried them and thought they were good. So Izi at what the others didn't so I considered it a success but am going to try another receipe next time. After work on Friday Sara shows up to finish the Death by Chocolate which at this point I was truly over and didn't give a damn if it ever got done. I'm thrilled to say it got done and today I brought turkey sandwiches, chips and Death by Chocolate to work for everyone.
Year of Celebration-December is done. While the stitching was completed last night, I did the finishing this morning. So today I celebrate as I have finished the 12 part series, a first for me, and the final sample for the shop for 2019, or is it? Well, at least in my mind I can concentrate on Christmas. December was stitched on 38 ct. PTP Doubloon. I did substitute on this one. I used the Liberty as charted and Envy as charted but I changed the lettering to Onyx and the gold to Whiskey both by Weeks Dye Works. The bells I attached in place of the stitched bells (you know I have to have dimension of some kind on almost every project. Then the package was also changed to one color and the ribbon is a 1/16" white ribbon as is the bow. I think the rest was done as charted. Then I finished it using Christmas plaid scrapbook paper with a red ribbon hanger, and #321 DMC pearl cotton cording. Thank you Cathy for such a fun series. While finishing always challenges me, when I work on a series it gets easier and easier as I progress through another attempt at finishing a stitched piece, so by the time the 12th month was done the finishing was a breeze...or almost a breeze. But as with the Apothecary Series-9th one, the 12th one on Year of Celebration became a challenge to stitch. I made several mistakes on each, or I didn't like a color after stitching it so decided to take it out and replace it, so they both took longer than they should. But I was determined in both cases to get them done and I'm so glad I did.
Hopefully, everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, friends and great things to eat. I know I did. I had 2 Thanksgiving dinners, first with Sara's family on Thursday (Mary and her family were in Baltimore with Brian's family), and then we repeated the dinner on Saturday with Mary and her family. So needless to say, I've been stuffed all weekend. And of course, Friday marked my return to the working world. It was beautiful weather here in O.C., sunny skies and temperatures in the high to mid-'40s. So plenty of visitors in town and we got a share of those in the shop. Saturday we got a visit from our Stacy Stinson who stopped by to pick up a couple of models she lets us use every year and then picks them up to display at her house for Christmas and then brings them back after Christmas. Thanks, Stacy, we appreciate it. She was also picking up supplies for some new pieces, and I got a sneak peek. So that was exciting as I love to see what people have done, are doing, or thinking about doing. She picked up a sled at Hobby Lobby last year that is going to be so cute with a Heart in Hand Santa on it. Got me thinking I've got to get a sled as well. A great display piece. She came at a good time as I needed a bit of inspiration. Because I spent 2 days cooking for Thanksgiving and then the exhaustion from 2 days of cooking, I barely touched my stitching. But now I think it's the piece I'm working on that is causing the delay. It's my final Year of Celebration piece-December, which should have been an easy 2-day stitch and it's still not done 5 days after first starting it. I didn't have one of the colors so I substituted, which I do a lot with no problem, but when I got in the shop on Friday I pulled the missing color, liked it better than the color I used, so of course, I ripped out the old color and put in the new. That's sort of how this piece is going. It's really frustrating because it should be in the shop today, but it's not done. However, because it's raining Sara told me to stay home so today is the day I'm going to finish the stitching and finishing so I can take it with me tomorrow when I go to work. Then I can move forward with something new. The one problem I've dealt with all weekend was my cell phone died, and I do mean died Friday morning. I've had issues with the battery for some months, but as long as it was plugged in it was fine, so I just made sure it was always plugged in. I was due for an upgrade 2 years ago and didn't do it, so I knew it was on borrowed time so I figured I'd get one the next time I was in Salisbury. I didn't make it to Salisbury in time. This had me panicking starting Friday over my lack of phone since I don't have a landline. And to be honest, while I hate phones generally, I use mine to keep notes, to let me know the time, weather, etc., to say nothing of communication with family and friends, so losing the use of it was distracting. Plus it disconnected me from the girls...which I panic over. In fact, Mary came down and checked to see if the phone was backed up in the cloud and I ordered a new phone while she was here and it will be delivered on Monday....so one more day and I'm back to being connected...Thank God! I'll be thankful for that. Anyway, aside from my phone issue, we had a great weekend in the shop. I did my usual work on the website between customers and in adding product to the web site I was able to snatch a couple of charts without Sara realizing I was doing it...yea!!! Always fun to add stash to an already exploding at home stash. I know no bounds when it comes to that. So I feel good about my working, as I didn't just sit there like a lump. I would take my stitching out each day and it would just sit there until I put it back in the tote to take it home each day. It was also good to get back in the stores, even though they have moved everything around so I can't find a thing which makes me feel and look uninformed but I'm starting to get use to that feeling already. Thankfully I'm usually in Sea Trader so that makes it easier on me. My opening line after Hello, is "I normally don't work in this shop so you'll have to excuse me if I have to go find an answer to your question." Fair warning is always a good thing. Well, I'm going to get back to my stitching and hopefully have a finish to show you tomorrow. Have a great night and I hope you have managed to put your needle into action. Talk to you tomorrow with a finished project...fingers crossed.