Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January Cross Stitch Plans (TUSAL)

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It has been so long since I did a cross-stitch update!  There's a good reason for that - I was very sick for about six weeks this summer, and felt so awful and listless that I couldn't even stitch.  And then I spent most of the rest of the year trying to get my mojo back, but not too hard because I was planning for a hand surgery that would have prevented stitching for months.  Then that got cancelled, and suddenly, I have my motivation up again!

I am going to take this monthly - no big plans for the year (other than a couple things, as you'll see in a minute), just each month, draw on my 'want to stitch' list, and work on a few of my WIPs (Works in Progress).

I don't know if I'll keep up my momentum all year or not - after last year, I'm done predicting anything too far ahead!

Before we get to the stitching, today is the New Moon and that means it is time for the TUSAL!

Why useless?  Because we're not showing off our stitches for this one - we're showing off our ORTs (Old Ratty Threads)!

Why? *shrug* Why not!?

This year, I'm using a very small jelly jar to stow my monthly threads, and I'll transfer them each month into a larger container.

Last year, I found myself accidentally shoving the larger container off my side table and got tired of picking it up.

This little one tucks away neatly and is less accident-prone.

As for what will become of the year's worth of threads, theoretically, they'll get stuffed, along with batting, into some ornaments for the year.

It doesn't always actually work that way, but it's January, and I have INTENTIONS!

So, here's what I have been, or will be, working on this month:


Year & a Day Birthday Sampler. Designer: Me.

Year and a Day Birthday Sampler 
I started this last year on June 1st - my birthday is June 2nd, and I decided to do one triangle a day until my birthday this year, using various odds and ends threads I have, and selecting colors by what Zodiacal house we're in. (So, right now, it's Capricorn, and the colors are blacks, greys, dark browns and greens).  I'm liking how it's coming along, and still unsure how I might finish it. But it was a way to stitch - even a tiny bit - every day, including that long patch when I really just wasn't up for it.

2018 Temperature SAL

2018 Temperature Sampler
Isn't this sweet so far?  This was a freebie from Original Designs By Hetti.  Each small square area is one day, and the colors (selected by me) reflect what the High temperature was for each day. I've decided it will reflect the temperature wherever I am, so while most days, it's Falls Church, VA, but if we're traveling, it will be where we are. I'm so looking forward to seeing how this comes along.


These are the WIPs I'm working on in January:

ABCs, by Lizzie*Kate

Dolphins, from a Kit

1873 Elizabeth Taylor Reproduction Sampler, from May 2010 Gift of Stitching Magazine

Imbolc, The Stitcherhood (just needs a few beads)

Merry Christmas Popcorn Bear (from a magazine insert mini-kit)


Boo! The Stitcherhood
This one had just a few stitches left to do, so I finished it off on New Year's Day.  The thread is a variegated silk thread in vibrant Halloween colors, and it was done on 22ct Hardanger. The ornament insert came in a Stitchy Box collection last year, and set it off perfectly, I think!


These are the new starts I'll be beginning this month. Yes, it's a little nuts to start new things when I have so many to finish - but I might as well plan for them, because resolving not to has never worked out!

7 Swans a'Swimming, Satsuma Street
I got halfway through these last year, and just started #7 a couple days ago. With luck, I might have them up for display this next Christmas!

Bride's Tree Ornaments, Brooks Books. "HOME"
This is another '12 Days' set - but this one is based on the German Bride's Tree custom of gifting a set of good wishes for the couple's marriage.  The color of the fabric here is hard to see - it's a hand dyed pink.

Coffee Quaker, Heartstring Samplery
I'm excited to begin this one - it's been on my "Must Do" list for awhile! "First I Drink the Coffee... Then I Do the Things."

A fun and fairly simple sampler I'd bought last year - it looks a bit like our dog, Sadie, who passed away last October.

Winter Bluster, Glendon Place (Just Cross Stitch Ornament Special, 2016)
A fun, cheery snow man ornament, now that I've finished a Halloween ornie.

That's it - as ever, I also hope to tackle some of my finished items and get them into frames or completed as ornaments instead of living in my 'finished' bag. It's a tough goal - I like stitching. Finishing, not so much!

So, that's it for this month!  One more little show off - I found this in my Christmas decorations box, and realized it's probably the oldest stitched piece I still have.  I'd been stitching for about seven years at that time, and decided to try to design something (using graph paper, back in the dark ages before affordable digital programs.

The bear was modeled after a Steiff teddy bear I perched on top of our tree, dressed for the occasion in a lacy white newborn dress my daughters had born when they were tiny.

It was such a wave of nostalgia to see this again - and to remember I wasn't half bad at drawing stitches on graph paper.  Hmm.... future goals, eh?

Whole30 Week 2 Menu & Progress

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We're now into our third week of Whole30, and remain a little mystified at how much easier it seems to be this time out. The first time this was when we crashed and burned and dropped out, running away as if we'd survived a horror movie.

The second time, we got through the 30 days, but the very idea of another couple of weeks doing a slow reintroduction was beyond us.

This time, we know where most of our potential pitfalls are, and mentally prepped for them to the point where they don't seem that hard at all. We miss the occasional drink.  I miss cheese on things that are simply better with cheese - but not so much that I no longer want to eat what I have.  Neither of us miss bread, unless there's a good sauce on our plate and no easy way to sop it up.

(I do realize that I have no totally jinxed us for this next week!)

During our second week, we had a couple days where we had to eat out, and that's by far the most challenging. No matter where you go, things are either breaded, ON bread, with cheese or sugared in some way. So. Much. Sugar.

The first time, we had a day full of errands, so we stopped at lunch at a local area chain of diners called the Silver Diner. They locally source their food, so the quality was a good bet. Even there, though, the only safe-ish bet was to stick to the breakfast menu and have eggs and bacon (which likely was sugar cured, so not perfect), and we ordered a side of roasted mix veggies that turned ou to be butternut squash, brussels sprouts and beets.

Our second time out was after an early showing of The Post - we went to a Nando's Peri-Peri Chicken, which was a great choice - their chicken was flavorful and succulent, and not breaded, and here also there was a side of delicious roasted veggies in balsamic vinegar.  There were also salads that could be modified slightly and still be interesting.

I'd hate to have to wrestle with restaurants often while on Whole30, although we did pretty well.  It does make it easier if you check the menu online before you go and develop a plan.

So here's the rest of what we ate this past week:

Cashew Chicken with Stir-Fried Cabbage
No real recipe here - I used cooked chicken from last week's roast chicken.  I stir-fried a half a bag of cole slaw cabbage mix along with some sliced mushrooms in a blend of coconut oil and sesame oil   and seasoned it in a sort of vaguely curry-ish blend of spices, a bit of fish sauce and hot sauce.  The chicken was added in and heated through, and a good sprinkle  of cashews was added to serve.

Pan-Fried Rib Eye Steak,
Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Mushrooms, 
and Avocado Slices
This was a joint effort - I put together the onions, tomatoes and mushrooms, intending to slow-braise them.  They got away from us though and before we knew it, they'd begun to scald on the bottom of the pan. I carefully scooped out the part that didn't get burned quickly enough to avoid an off flavor.

So we had much less than I'd hoped for - but the upside was that what we did have had cooked down
to a sort of marvelous savory jam that made a very nice accompaniment for Michael's steak, seasonedwith salt, pepper and Sweet Hungarian paprika, and cooked to a perfect medium rare.

Peruvian Aji Chicken over Coconut Cauliflower Rice 
with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Spinach
Ok, this is where it got weird - I occasionally get meal plan kits but I was sure I'd set them to Skip for this month.  Then a Plated box showed up at my door - oops. Since I hadn't planned for it, it was totally random what was in it, of course neither of the two meals were Whole30.  Fortunately, this one, chicken with a yellow chile sauce and vegetables, served over coconut quinoa, was easy to fix by switching out the quinoa for cauliflower rice.  Very tasty!

Pan Roasted Chicken Over Cauliflower Rice, Brussels and Apple Salad
This was the other Plated dish - originally, it involved Farro instead of the cauliflower, and included Parmesan and a buttermilk dressing.  We skipped the dressing and used a drizzle of a Whole30 compliant Ranch dressing, instead.  I really liked how the tart apples added flavor and crunch to the dish.

Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, Guacamole
Then there was the day when I hated everything, so Michael made me breakfast for dinner.

Deconstructed Salmon Sushi
I really, really loved this one.  I used this recipe, and added some wasabi paste. The brightly flavored orange sauce and hint of heat from the wasabi was delicious!  We'll be doing this again.

Egg Muffins
Finally, this is a part of how we kept ourselves fed for breakfast on busy morings.  These take just a few minutes to prepare, and are infinitely modifiable.  The are fluffy and heat up well in the microwave.  I think they'd freeze fine too, although we just kept them in the fridge as grab-and-go options.

Here's all it takes:

Egg Muffins
(makes 12)

6 eggs
3 T water or coconut milk
2 cups. cooked vegetables (tomatoes and spinach are good - we used leftover cooked Brussels sprouts this time), and meat as desired (I sprinkled in some chopped prosciutto)
Seasonings as desired

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with coconut oil.  

In a large bowl, beat the eggs along with the water or coconut milk, and add in vegetables, meats and any seasonings.

Scoop some egg with fillings into each prepared muffin cup, leaving about a half inch at the top.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.  Remove from oven, let cool a couple minutes and then carefully use a table knife to help pop them out of the muffin cups.


(And yes - if you're not doing Whole30, these would be wonderful with the addition of some cheese!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Party in Your PJs #191

Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

What are you up to in this week? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter // Instagram

Teresa @ Aging Like a Fine Wine

Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter // Instagram

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Lynda's Features!

 Make sure you head over to the other members of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiratioPn to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.