26 August 2022

Swampy Update

Two-thirds of the way through my swampy sampler. I finally got a few reasonably good shots of the color of this fabric. The color in the first, second, and fourth pictures is pretty close to true, while in the third picture of the Sandhill Crane it has that grayish look that's been annoying me. You can see the difference absolutely perfect light makes. 

This sampler has been my summer project, and since I'm close to a finish I've started thinking about fall stitching. I'm still blazing away on Christmas Open House projects for this year (and next year!) but I'd like to squeeze in some fall stitching. Hard to believe the summer is almost over, according to the calendar anyway. More on that later.

15 August 2022

Something Sweet


Knowing that I plan to be hard at play in my sewing room this summer, Mr. Wonderful got me this bright, cheerful little sewing set from Wal-Mart. It comes in a nifty zippered case that will be a perfect project bag. How sweet is that?

09 August 2022

Magical Swamp Update


I'm giggling a little at a "swamp update" but here we are. Please forgive the odd lighting. This fabric is such a beautiful yellowy green which the camera absolutely, flatly refuses to see properly. Anyway, progress has been a bit slow because I'm also working on my 2022 Christmas Open House (yes!) and my 2023 Christmas Open House (what?!). Yes. My 2023 Open House will be the tenth anniversary, and we're going big! So there's a lot going on, stitchy-wise.

If you've checked out Magical Swamp you know those sections in the upper left and right hand corners are left open. I decided they were the perfect spot for my initials and date so I chose a small alphabet (I just made up the numbers) and picked a color and off I went. I like how it turned out. The next section I'll be working on has more critters, which I'm looking forward to. Weirdly, I found another swamp sampler I love. What is that about? Do I love swamps now?

Sort-of-sneak-peek at 2023 Christmas Open House! Fabric is Zweigart's 32 ct. Basalt Splash lugana, which I can't seem to get enough of. Absolutely love it. The needle minder is from this Etsy shop (which is currently on a break).

I haven't been in my sewing room in a while and it's calling me. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all the stuff I want to do! Even when I was little I was never bored, and nothing has changed after all these years. 

Off to make a mess! (Well, clean up first. Because you have to clean up before you make a new mess. A fresh mess, if you will. Y'all know what I mean.)

03 August 2022

Bread Therapy & Butter Thoughts

I don't know why baking bread is so calming and comforting. Or why eating even the simplest homemade bread--flour, yeast, salt, and water--feels like such a luxury. But it is, and it does. Does it tap into some ancient genetic memory? Surely no other food crosses time and culture like bread. When I was growing up, my mom always baked bread before a storm. Before typhoons when we were stationed in the tropics, before blizzards when we were stationed where it snows, before hurricanes when we were stationed in Texas. I'm sure that was mostly just preparation, but as an adult I now wonder if it was also some sort of self-soothing ritual: indulging in the calm and comfort of baking bread before everything goes sideways. There are all sorts of storms in life, some worse than others. Some are severe but pass quickly. Some batter us for months or even years. Maybe it's the simple things and the old ways that carry us through, just as they've carried our ancestors through for generations... putting our hands in the dirt and growing things... sitting down with a needle and thread... baking bread to nourish ourselves...

I found this recipe when I was looking for a low-effort homemade bread and I couldn't be more pleased with it. Mr. Wonderful loves it. It's as easy as falling off a log. I stir it up before I go to bed and then whenever I get around to it the next day, plop it onto a floured surface, shape it, and bake it. Ta-da! Fresh bread! So far I've only made the mini loaves, but I think I'll experiment with one large loaf or a couple of smaller ones. Lots of folks like their homemade bread with a crisp crust, which this has when just baked. I store mine in a plastic bag on the counter (which softens the crust to our liking) and even in a hot climate, it lasts almost a week, probably due to the salt content. You'll probably want to experiment with the amount, especially if you're eating it with salted butter (I use Kerrygold).

On the subject of butter, as long as we're being luxurious and making our own bread, we might as well have lovely soft, spreadable butter on hand. I'm not sure at what point, or for what reason, we decided that butter had to live in the fridge or we'd die from food poisoning, but it happened, and we've been depriving ourselves. I keep butter for baking and cooking in there, but for eating, there's nothing better than room temperature butter. I have a very pretty French butter crock, but it holds too much butter for us to get through in the few days required in this climate. I went looking for something to hold just a wee bit of butter and found this absolutely adorable little butter keeper in this Etsy shop. It lives on the counter by the bread, ready at a moment's notice for a quick snack of homemade bread, soft Irish butter, and strawberry jam. Now that's luxury.

I have more thoughts on why things that were once so common and necessary to daily life they were completely unremarkable have become modern day luxuries. But that's for another day. 

Happy Baking!