Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stitching Progress and Healthy Eats

It's been another busy week for me.  We'll be moving exactly 4 weeks from today, so this past week I started the chore of packing boxes.  I learned a long time ago that if figure out what you're not going to need and pack 1 or 2 boxes a day it makes it less stressful.

That also means since I've started packing that I've had less stitching time.  However I have done SOME stitching.  I've been working on some pendant necklaces for a custom order.  This is a picture of them (l-r:  green mermaid, black anchor on pink, sea shell, pink mermaid and black anchor on grey).  I still have starfish I need to stitch.  After that the customer will let me know which 3 or 4 she wants.  Whatever is left WILL be put up for sale.

I also got a TINY bit of stitching done on the model for my next pattern, "Two Blessings".  There hasn't been much progress made, but some nonetheless.  One of these days I'll be able to get a decent picture of what the colors actually look like.  What you see is DMC #554 on a very light jade green aida.

As part of my packing & cleaning, I've come across some projects I haven't touched in a REALLY long time.  I decided last Saturday that it's an extremely rare occasion that I actually work on any stitching that is for me.  I pulled back out my "Warholesque Family" piece and did some work on that.  I said I was going to commit myself to working on it at least one night per week, most likely on Saturday.  I'd love to get this piece completed so I can hang it on the living room wall at our new place.  My pooches may be gone now, but there's still me & Zach.  Needless to say, I was super excited today when I realized it was Saturday and that means I could work on this piece again (as soon as the starfish pendant is done!).

I have also continued on with my quest to lose weight and be healthier.  The new recipe I tried this week was a cherry tomato and chick pea salad.  Chick peas (aka garbanzo beans) aren't something I normally eat.  It's not that I don't like them, I just don't know a lot of uses for them, besides hummus.  So I saw a recipe on Pinterest, which seems to be my go to place lately, and decided to try it.  It was really good!  I have leftovers of it and will have some more tonight with dinner.  I also have an avocado that needs to be eaten before it goes bad, so I think I'll add some in there. 

I've decided I'm much better at taking pics of cross stitch vs. food, lol!  Either way, if you're interested in the recipe for the salad, just click the photo.   While I was at the store picking up green onions to put in the salad I grabbed a small purple cabbage. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.  I might possibly roast it.  Either way, I'll let you know next week what I decided to try.

Until the next time...Happy Stitching and Healthy Eating!  :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Corn Salsa with Chili Lime Vinaigrette

I know I normally combine posts to include both some needlework updates and my healthy recipe of the week, but this week I'm doing them separately so I can post this one directly on Pinterest.

I didn't experiment with anything new this week.  I have too much going on, as well as preparing to move houses next month.  And for any of you that have done that, I'm sure you know it means cleaning out the pantry, fridge & freezer.  I decided this week to stick with one of my faves for the past few years...Corn Salsa with Chili Lime Vinaigrette.

I first came across this when I bought a small container of out from a deli.  It was fantastic...but expensive!  I decided I could make it myself cheaper and probably healthier.  The recipe itself is pretty simple.

2 cans sweet corn - drained & rinsed
1 can beans (I typically use kidney or black beans) - drained & rinsed
Orange or Green Pepper (or both!) for color
Red or Green Onions

When it comes to salsas and salads, I don't stress over correct measurements on the vegetables.  I figure you can't go wrong.  If I'm using 2 colors of peppers I put in 1/2 pepper each.  If it's one color, use the entire sweet pepper.  Celery is usually 2 stalks.  I put in about 1/2 cup of onions, regardless of kind.

Before making this recipe, I had never made any type of vinaigrette before, so off to the internet I went to see if I could find one.  And I did on SparkPeople.   I've changed the recipe slightly to use products I like better.  Below is my version:

2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 c. olive oil (choose what YOU like, full-flavored or light)
3 tbsp white vinegar (I've also used apple cider vinegar)
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp chili powder (make sure it's good quality)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

Fair warning, this IS a spicy dressing, and with most things spicy, it will taste more so the 2nd day than the 1st, so you might want to use the cayenne sparingly on your first attempt.

Simply mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar or cruet and shake well, then pour over salsa and let sit for 30+ minutes prior to serving.

I've used this salsa over/with many other foods:  canned tuna, turkey burgers, shredded chicken, or mix with some shredded greens for a great salad.  Either way, don't be afraid to experiment and make it your own.

I hope you enjoy this, and feel free to leave any comments below!  Happy HEALTHY eating!

P.S.  I have been trying really hard at eating healthy, drinking more water and exercising more to not only lose the rest of the weight I want to, but to live a healthier lifestyle.  This pic is just some of the healthy food I picked up at the grocery store tonight for meals this week.  :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

2nd Place x3

Every year there are two local needlework shows I go to.  One in the Spring and one in the Fall.  

This past week was the Spring show that is held at the Stow Munroe Falls Public Library.  2014 was the 40th year for it.  On a whim I decided at the last minute to enter some of my recent finishes.  I entered 3 pieces (Friends Welcome, Singles Awareness and the "Wine" model for Nerdy Words).  All 3 piece received 2nd place ribbons.  Woohoo!!!  

I don't enter just for the sake of winning ribbons.  Most of the time when I stitch a piece it isn't even with the intention of it being an entry in a show.  I always try to do my best work on every project.  I personally enter pieces just for the sheer joy of being able to share, what is hopefully something different, with other stitchers that may enjoy it/them.

Below are pics of my pieces at the show with the ribbons attached.

Tonight I was able to collect my pieces.  I have to say I was slightly disappointed as it was one of the years the judges didn't include any negative feedback/critiques on my entry sheets.  I actually look forward to reading their comments as it helps me improve my work and techniques.  I did receive rave reviews on the fantastic finishing my Rita at SnowBerry NeedleArts.

The next show will have entries the end of September, so it looks like I had better get busy getting some more pieces stitched to enter there.

Until then...Happy Stitching! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Set Backs and Progress

Unfortunately last week was a very trying one for my family.  If follow my Facebook page, then you already know about my dad being admitted into ICU a week ago today (last Monday).  Thankfully, he's no longer in ICU, but is still in the hospital and anxious to get home and get on with life, but at a slower pace for awhile.

Since I've been at the hospital every day since then, most days for hours at a time, and even overnight with no sleep when he was at his worst, I haven't had much time for stitching or healthy cooking.   There were days I basically wasn't eating anything other than bananas, yogurt and apples.  Thanks to those days I was able to take off some weight last week.  I do have to give some big thanks to friends of mine that provided home cooked meals so Zach and I had something decent to eat, as he was spending as many hours at the hospital as I was, in addition to both of us still trying to maintain our work schedules.  I must say between the two of us and my oldest sister, we basically covered the hours from mid-afternoon until the following morning so my mom didn't have to be there constantly.

Once they were able to move him from ICU, I was able to spend a little more time doing what I like to be doing...stitching and designing my next pattern.  I even took some pics for you.  :)

Over the last couple weeks, I've been working on stitching a new model for my "Laughter Is" pattern in between other things, to send off to Rita at SnowBerry NeedleArts for a nice professional finish.  I realized after I took the pic and was editing it that I didn't put the noses on the masks.  Looks like I need to do that before I send it off.

I also finished stitching this heart keyring that was a cover kit with a recent issue of CrossStitcher Magazine.  I'll list it in the newly created "charity section" in my Etsy shop sometime in the next few days.

This picture is of my 40 minutes stitching progress on the model for my next pattern.  I absolutely dislike trying to get decent pics of green or blue fabric, as they seem to give me the most difficulty.  This piece is actually a "very light jade green" fabric, and not grey like it looks in the photo.

I'm looking forward to being able to do more stitching during my "free time" along with healthy cooking & exercise and the dreaded cleaning and starting of packing the house for our move the end of next month.  

And since I have committed myself to making at least one new healthy recipe per week, I made one tonight to make up for missing last week.   Here's a pic of the "veggie slaw" I made tonight.  I tried a couple of bites of it (it was after dinner) and really liked it.  It has a very "fresh" taste to it.  I'll definitely be making it again.  I followed the recipe pretty close, but as it's basically a salad, there's flexibility with it.  If you're interested in the recipe, just click the photo.

Oh yeah, and I even went walking tonight after work & a hospital visit before I started doing laundry, cooking, etc.  I'm looking forward to nicer weather this week that will hopefully will allow me at least a few days of outdoor time.

Until the next time, Happy Stitching and Mangia!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nerdy Words Periodic Elements Cross Stitch Pattern

It's been a crazy, busy week around here, but alas I'm making sure I get my blog post in.

I think I'll start with my xstitch stuff today.  I mentioned earlier in the week I would have a new pattern to share with you.  Here it is....NERDY WORDS!  

The pattern itself is 114 elements of the periodic table that have all been individually charted so you can create your own words or names.  I had a lot of fun stitching them, but I think even more fun picking out the words.  It was sort of like doing a word search puzzle.  :)

If you're into that kind of thing, and you're interested in the pattern, just click the photo and it will take you to my Etsy shop where you can purchase it.  If you're a buyer for a LNS reading this post, yes it will be available through my wholesaler.   

And of course you know that the finishing of the "wine" hangtag and photography were done by the ever-so-talented Rita at SnowBerry NeedleArts.    I have so much fun working with her to create the perfect presentation of my designs!

So now to the not so good news.  :(

If you looked at my weight tracker at the top of my page you'll see I actually put on weight this week.  I thought I was being better than evidently what the scales said I was.  I have been eating some junk, as it's already in the house and I just hate to waste money.  Plus, I'll be moving the end of next month and who really wants to pack groceries and move them.  That means I've been eating a lot of canned soups & stuff for lunch.  On the other hand, I've also been eating bananas, apples, yogurt, humus, various veggies, etc.  And we won't discuss the m&ms or E.L. Fudge double stuffed cookies!!!

On the positive side, I DID try a new healthy recipe last night and I love it!!  I made Healthy Broccoli Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing.  Here's a pic of my bowl.

I will say, there are some things I would definitely change.  I would only use about 1/2 of the salt, as I'm not a big salt person and I thought it was too salty.  I would also use sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin seeds.  I compared nutrition info on packages of both at the store and went with the pumpkin because they are supposed to be healthier, but found I'm not a fan of them.   I will DEFINITELY be making this dish again.  If you want the recipe, click on the photo and it will take you to the Pinterest posting where the recipe is.  

Now to figure out before Tuesday afternoon what recipe I want to try next week.  I'm thinking Zucchini Crisps or a Veggie Slaw.  Hmmm....  I guess you'll just have to tune in next weekend if you want to see what I decided.

Until then, happy stitching and bon appetite!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Friends Welcome Cross Stitch Pattern

I realized the other day as I was going through my past blog posts, that I haven't shared any of my new pattern releases for months & months.

This particular one not only is one of my personal favorites, but it has also turned out to be my best seller with both my retail and wholesale buyers.  "Friends Welcome" was inspired by a wall plaque my mom got me that hangs next to my front door.  It's very "country" looking.  My version is a more up my alley...bright, colorful & eclectic!

The piece shown in the picture is my actual stitched model.  The gorgeous finishing & photography was done by Rita at SnowBerry NeedleArts.

If you'd like to purchase a copy of the pattern, retail customers can get it here

If you'd like to purchase on a wholesale basis for your LNS, you can do so here.

Be sure to catch up with me on Sunday for my latest pattern that was just released to newsletter VIPs last night.  

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is There Anyone Out There?

I know, it's been entirely way too long since I've blogged about anything and I wouldn't blame any of you if you've stopped looking at my blog over the past several months.  Unfortunately working two jobs and running Stitchnmomma leaves little time for things like blogging, exercising, reading, etc.  However, I'm going to have more free time on my hands, so I'll be back.  

A lot has happened in the past several months.  I've started selling my cross stitch patterns with a wholesaler, I've stopped making items and selling at the galleries that would only sell my items on a "consignment" basis and I've put back on about 1/3 of the weight that I worked so hard to take off a few years ago.  If you follow my Facebook page, you know about all the other little things also, as I do post there on a daily basis since that's where the majority of my fans are at.

I've decided since spring SHOULD be here (Yes Mother Nature, I'm talking to you!) and I'm going to have some more time on my hands, that it's time to get serious about doing things for ME.  I miss feeling well.  I miss having the time to prepare & eat healthy foods.  I miss my outdoor walks and bike rides and doing pilates.  I miss having the time to read a book or stitch something I want to stitch just because.  Yes, I am going to be self-centered here, lol!

I don't know how many of you have seen the movie Julie & Julia.  I recently watched the movie and actually felt inspired by it.  No, I'm not going to cook my way through a Julia Child cookbook, as yummy as that might be.  Instead, I'm going to do something on the healthy side.  Being a realist, I know I don't have time to do even one new recipe a day, so I'm going to commit myself to making one new HEALTHY recipe per week.  With a new recipe a week I'll soon have a larger variety of dishes to put into my daily menus.  And I'm going to share those here, along with the progress on the rest of the weight I want to lose (see my new ticker along the top of my blog).  I figure if I put it in writing, there has to be at least one person of the 240+ that currently follow my blog that will help hold me accountable.  I'm going to use recipes I'm finding on Pinterest, in cookbooks I currently have and any that you, my readers, want to share with me.  

For those of you that may not care about what I'm eating, I'll be posting plenty of pics of my stitching stuff too.  Not only am I working on new pattern models, but I'm also going back and restitching some of my older patterns so they can be finished and photographed by Rita at Snowberry Needlearts to give them a lovely professional look prior to listing them with my wholesaler. 

Oh, and if you like to read, I'll probably share some too about any recent books I've finished.  I recently found the Mitford series by Jan Karon and am currently working on the 5th book.  I'm also in the middle of reading the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. Yes, there's a wide variety of books out there that grab my attention, so you never know what book (no electronic devices here) you'll see me carrying around.

Do you have a favorite healthy recipe?  Share it in the comments below and if it sounds appealing I'll try it and let you know what I think.

Do you have a favorite LNS where you'd like to be able to buy hard copies of my patterns?  Feel free to drop their name and city and I'll see what I can do.

In fact, feel free to share ANYTHING in the comments below.  I always enjoy conversing with my friends/fans/followers!

And with that, it's after 1pm here and my stomach is growling.  I think that means I should probably figure out what I'm going to eat that's healthy since all I've had today is cookies and m&m's for breakfast.  Hey, I had to get it all out of the way before I committed to being a better, healthier person.  Ciao!