May 22, 2024

Froggy Dreams...

When I can't - or don't have time to - stitch, I dream about stitching. I pulled out all my lovely supplies again, and my wee frog hopped out of the fish bowl to join me. If you look closely, you may notice something different.

Here. Maybe this will help. I have some tiny crowns that I can stitch to my frogs to create wee Prince Charmings (the "before" version). This one is only perched on Mr. Frog's head, but I have two different methods to affix them to the frogs.

If you're one of the four remaining ladies waiting for your frog and you'd like me to add a crown to yours, please let me know in the comments. I'll likely affix them either with gold threads (which would be visible), or just the tiniest amount of permanent, clear glue. I have two finishes; antiqued gold, or gold. As I said, just let me know if you'd like one.

I work again today, but I'll definitely be reading the notes to see if there are preferences. If you'd rather send an email, just click on the sidebar link and send a note. If you don't want one, you won't have to do anything. I'll make it in your chosen colors as agreed. I'll be stitching again in no time.

May 21, 2024

Stormy Weather...

We woke up to cloudy skies yesterday, and it got more interesting by mid-morning. Handsome had errands to run, and this is what the sky looked like to the southwest from the farmhouse as he was driving off to town. There were lots of angry clouds rolling in, and you could smell the rain on the wind.

Before long, it was pouring, leaving lots of much-needed rain for all the surrounding yards and fields. It was a perfect day for baking bread, so I got out the supplies and started the dough.

Whether you refer to downpours as "gully washers", "cats & dogs",  "toad strangler", or Handsome's favorite "turd floaters", I could hardly see out the windows of the kitchen for a little while. Thankfully, there weren't strong winds, so although there was a lot of rain all at once, there was no damage around here. Our neighbor to the north did text me to ask if our power was out (we never lost power), but sent another message within the hour saying her power was back on.

Before long, this first storm rolled through and offered this view toward Lake Michigan. We had light showers (and a little thunder) throughout the rest of the day, and you could almost see the grass and crops green up by the hour.

When all was said and done, we had four fresh loaves of bread and eight hamburger buns. It was a very good start to the week. I also put Destiny to work embroidering my name on my work shirts, so I don't have to worry about forgetting my name tag anymore. I did spend a little more time sorting through things I want to move out of the studio, too. I actually accomplished quite a bit by the end of the day.

I work today and tomorrow, so we'll see whether or not I'm able to stitch when I get back home. My hands are still sore, but I'm attributing it to the change in the weather. I'm expecting a change in my hands with the rain moving on. I really would like to get back to those little frogs!

May 20, 2024

Second Try Success...

I need to write a note to self. If I'm going to garden one day, I can plan not to stitch for at least the next two. My hands were suffering after my recent foray into the garden. I was unable to comfortably hold a needle, and going back for a second day of weeding was also out of the question. Lesson learned (for now).

So, when Sunday rolled around, I wanted to try the lilac jelly again. The blossoms are peak right now, so they'll be off the bushes within a couple days. I hoped to make up a fully successful batch before it was too late this year.

I went back through my recipes to find the one I originally used for my flower blossom jellies, and compared them to the one I used earlier last week. There were definitely differences. I pulled out all my supplies and picked blossoms to make a single batch.

I followed the recipe except for one thing. It called for food coloring to change the color of the jelly, but I added about two tablespoons of fresh lemon instead (an ingredient from the recipe I used last week), to naturally change the color away from a dull green to this pretty pink/peach. 

The tall jar in the back right of this photograph was a planned first use jar that didn't go through the water bath. I actually knew it wouldn't fit in the pot I used to process the jars, so we'll eat that one first. 

This time everything came together perfectly. It was already jelling before I could get it into the jars! A short 10 minute water bath and all the jars pinged when they came out of the canner. 

After this was done yesterday, I spent a little time just sitting outdoors and enjoying the sunshine, and Handsome and I had a nice dinner together last night. We've had a Cameron™Stovetop Smoker for the past 30 or so years, but I've only used it one or two times. It can be used stovetop, on the grill, in the oven, or even over a campfire.

We pulled it out to try the stovetop method on a couple of nice ribeye steaks. Twenty minutes in the smoker with hickory chips, and then finish browning them in melted butter in my cast iron pan. (Is your mouth watering yet?) The result was another kitchen toy that will definitely see more action in the future.

I don't work again until tomorrow, so I'm going to attempt a little frog stitching today. I don't think I'll be able to marathon stitch - as I love to do - but I should be able to make some progress nonetheless. 

Here we go with another new week. I'll be back tomorrow, and hope you will, too!