Sunday, May 24, 2009

Needle in hand...

That is how I have been spending my time when I was not sleeping. I am happy to say that I fall asleep less now during the day and today did not feel so cold until late afternoon when it was back to my clothes closet to slip on a sweater. I do feel while it is slow going that I am improving a little. My doctor felt she was perhaps increasing the dosage of my medicine too quickly which was giving me strange headaches in the middle of the night. She is slowing the pace a little and still assures me to just be patient.

So what do I do to be patient? I sit with needle in hand of course! It has been my best friend through all of this. I don't have the energy to quilt so I am working on my stitching projects and making slow progress. So slow, in fact, that the tortoise would look like a speed demon beside me but that is okay.

We had a long holiday weekend here in Holland and drove up to Cranberry Cottage on Thursday. We stayed through Saturday and decided to drive home last last night as it seems that Holland has discovered the beauty of the north. They were 'all' up there this weekend. Traffic was terrible. By coming home on Saturday night, we were able to avoid the traffic having to return home on Sunday.

So we decided to enjoy our Sunday here in our city garden. I sat in the shade with my stitching while Jos was refinishing an old iron garden table. It has turned out to be a thing of beauty by the way! I tried to spoil him while he worked and made him a fresh fruit salad of Galia melon, banana and strawberries for lunch and then a break later with Ice Coffee. Yep! You can see them next to my stitching. *grins*

My 10 Virgins is coming along nicely and I actually finished 5 more letters from the moment I took this photo. Alas, it is at the neglect of other projects! I need to get back to my French Abecediare SAL very soon. I am so behind on it. I just cannot seem to get away from these 5 giggly gals as my friend Angela has dubbed them. I have decided I am not allowed to work on them this week so I can try and catch up a little on the SAL.

I am also hoping to spend some time visiting many of you this week to see what you have been up to lately. For all our American friends, I hope you are enjoying a happy Memorial Day weekend.

What are you working on???

Friday, May 15, 2009

Primitive ornaments SAL - Candy Canes

Our next ornament is something that every child delights in on a Christmas tree ~ candy canes. A candy cane is a simple way to add festive cheer to even a glass vase during the holidays and I am hoping you will find this primitive ornament adding holiday cheer to your month of May as you stitch your set of ornaments.

Enlarge the hand drawn chart and copy to Word or an email to print it out.

I received the following photos of ornaments finishes. My mother, Nancy, surprised me when she stitched up the Let It Snow ornament. She has said she was not going to stitch them but being a snowman lover, she decided she did need to make this one. She did not tell me and surprised me with it on her blog. I loved the addition of the sweet little snowman button.

Letty finished her ornaments from April and they are both beautiful as ever! Her version of Peace On Earth is just that ~ peaceful and calm in white thread. It reminds me of a snowcovered Christmas eve...

Goodwill to Men works so well with her pretty trims she is using.

This month's winner of the giveaway drawing is Nancy. I will be sending out a little gift this coming week.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teatime Tuesdays and a finish

Tuesday is here again and this is the next recipe...Italian ham rolls. These are just so simple to make. They are great for a tea table but also if you want something to serve when people stop by. You won't believe how great they taste!

Italian Ham Rolls:

Frozen puff pastry
Grated cheese
Raw ham such as Parma ham or Spanish Serano ham

Allow the puff pastry to thaw. In Holland, we can buy it in little squares of approxiametely 5 inches. If your sheets are larger, cut it down to work for you. Spread the pastry with pesto.

Sprinkle on the grated cheese. You can use any cheese you wish but I use Dutch old cheese as it has a fuller taste.

Now lay enough ham over to cover. Be sure to use a ham that has a good strong flavour such as any Italian or Spanish ham. Regular ham slices will not taste good with this recipe.

Now roll up your square of pastry. I use a little of the pesto residue to help close the end.

Cut each square in 8 slices.

Lay on a baking sheet covered with foil. This helps make for an easy clean up too once they are baked. Don't worry about making these perfectly neat and round. Some may even pop open as they bake but they look great and taste even better. Place for 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated oven - 200C/400F. Enjoy!

And now a finish...

With spending much time on the couch resting and keeping warm while I am recovering, I am using my time with my needle. This is the Blackbird Design freebie Petite Letters Rouges that I think the entire stitching world is working on. I did not make mine to enter their contest but as I thought it was a sweet way to honor my grandmother who was very magical to me. I have a number of little samplers in mind for names of family members and this is the first of them.

I have finished this framing it first with vintage lace from Brugge, Belgium and little vintage buttons and then using a wooden frame that I have had for over 20 years. Fun to see that something I have had so long now came to great use again. It was just the right size.

My grandmother grew up thinking her name was Bertha Alverna but only after asking for a birth certificate did the family find out that she was named Bertha May on the certificate. Even this is odd as the name is spelled Mae in her family but May on the certificate. I decided to use it exactly as is on her birth certificate. She was born in 1902.

I loved being with her. I loved helping her out as she could not get around well. When I got my driver's liscense, I enjoyed stopping it to see her, run over to help when she needed it or come get her in her wheelchair and take her shopping. I enjoyed her stories of the old days when I asked her about things for a school project. I remember her making us a wilted lettuce salad that we don't know how she made. I remember her always telling my little brother and I, as soon as we came in the door, to go get a piece of candy from her candy dish. We broke the lid once and she got the same candy dish in plastic afterwards. I rescued that candy dish as my aunt was going to throw it away when she died. She exclaimed it was plastic and trash when I asked it I could have it. Not to me it isn't and I still have it in my quilt studio!

Health update: Last Friday, what I thought was a cold got so bad it made it impossible to breath and Jos took me over to our emergancy doctor's post by the hospital. The doctor there put me on antibiotics to help with the slime building up which was making me feel like I would sufficate because of the enlarged thyroid. I had a severe sinus infection. The antibiotics are helping and I feel much better in that respect. I just have to be patient while I get started on the thyroid medication as the specialist said my thyroid is not working anymore. That means allowing time for my body to respond to it all. Still cold, tired and in a good deal of pain but happily stitching away with my charm quilt keeping me warm.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Still cold.... lets talk Christmas. No I have not lost my mind (well maybe I have but I will find it laying around here somewhere!) but am working on a StockingAlong with a few online friends. I wanted to share a weekly update. I mentioned I was making this with charms using the hexagon shape. I had basted a number of fabrics I pulled from my stash. Believe it or not, this will be a Christmas stocking when it is put together. I have an idea how I am going to sew it and only hope that it works as I start sewing it.

In the meantime, I decided on the size I want it to be (I hope) and will be adding these yummy fabrics which I took from the basketful of them waiting to be traced with the template of my second charm quilt. Now I can add fabrics given to me by ladies in my quilt group which is fun too.

And yes, I am still very cold. I am in a turtleneck again and have the heating on but just cannot warm up. In the meantime, on Wednesday, my doctor called from the hospital and told me that I have complications from the radioactive therapy I had done in March. 30% of patients are at risk of their thyroid slowing down in the first five years. Mine has slowed so much so fast that she says it is no longer functioning which explains being so ill since last Thursday. I am afraid I am making only baby steps with my stitching and quilting but do what I can. It will be a few weeks yet before I start to feel better as I started the medication on Thursday. She said while my complications are extreme, it will be set right with time. It will mean a very bad couple of weeks yet. We get very little sleep now as I am experiencing heart problems and pain both now as well as breathing problems. I caught a cold now after coming back from the hospital which is making it worse but I am so tired that my immune system is not working either. It is like your body is just shutting itself down. But I have hope and know I have to be patient. So I am off to sit on the couch with a quilt over me for warmth of body, a DVD of the Brontes for warmth of the soul and stitch on my sampler for warmth of my blood.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts, comments and emails. I am slow on blog visits but know you are always in my thoughts!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Teatime Tuesdays

I have had so many requests for my recipes I used for the High Tea that I thought it would be fun to have 'Teatime Tuesdays' for the coming months and give you a recipe from my teatable. These are fool proof recipes (definition of fool proof ~ if I can make them, you can make them!) and I hope you will give it a try.

I will start this new item today with Zucchini Soup which I renamed Green Goo Soup for Barbara to make for her For the High Tea, I serve it in a little liqueur glass which makes it that little bit special.

Zucchini Soup

2 zucchini, cut in slices and then quartered
1 onion, diced
1 liter (4 cups) vegetable bouillon (you could also use chicken bouillon and I use cubes)
olive oil
salt and pepper
pesto (I used the dried pesto mix as one of the ladies has a nut allergy. It gives you the great taste but there are no pine nuts in this dried mix.)

Saute your onion and zucchini in the olive oil in a soup pan. Place on a low heat with the lid on the pan and allow the onion and zucchini to become soft about 5 to 10 minutes. Make vegetable bouillon and add to the vegetables. Let simmer for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Puree the soup. I find a hand held staffmixer works very well for this but you can use a blender or food processor if you prefer. Season with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of pesto. This soup can be served hot or cold. It also tastes great reheated.

I had to run over to the hospital unexpectedly this morning to have new blood work done up. I am having side effects from the therapy I had done in March and not feeling well which took a turn for the worse since Thursday. The doctor had me come in and will call me tomorrow as she is having the blood work rushed. As I sat in the waiting room with a turtleneck and fleece on while everyone is dressed for spring, I felt like a blizzard was on its way. I simply cannot get warm so it is a warm fire in the woodstove kind of day. I am going to sit with a pot of hot tea by the fire to warm me inside and stitch.

My mind went to winter as it does at moments like these and I pulled out a very old UFO to complete that winter feeling. Why not? I might as well go with the flow right? So I am going to pretend I am not feeling cold because I am unwell but because it is winter and I am out 'Gathering Holly' as the pattern is called. *grins* I love this sweet little pattern and don't understand why it even became a UFO.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sip 'n Stitch Sunday

Today, we had the Sip 'n Stitch at my home. It was the first time I had Harmien, Barbara and Annemarie to my house. I really enjoyed the day together and preparing a High Tea for us all. It took us a while to get to the table as I showed them my home and then we looked through a number of my quilts and quilt tops.

Our menu was:
Zucchini soup
Stuffed vine tomatoes
Italian ham rolls
Cucumber tea sandwices
Friesian smoked 'droge worst' (sausage)
Oreo truffels
Fresian sugar bread
Pot du Creme au Chocolat
Strawberry buttermilk floats

As table favors, I had asked them a favorite color before they came and made them each a beaded scissor fob which I laid at each plate along with a strand of Carrie's Thread. I kept the table favor stitching themed.

I felt totally spoiled as if it was Christmas as I received a pinkeep made for me by Harmien, two speculaas moulds to add to my collection from Barbara and a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a package of quilt fabrics in chocolate brown and pinks from Annemarie. Thank you all three so very much, first for the company to brighten a Sunday and then also for your wonderful gifts!

You can enlarge the slideshow by clicking on a photo.