Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him, 
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life, 
and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light, 
which enlightens everyone, 
was coming into the world.
He was in the world, 
and the world was made through him,
 yet the world did not know him.
He came to his own, 
and his own people did not receive him.
But to all who did receive him, 
who believed in his name, 
he gave the right to become children of God,
who were born, 
not of blood 
nor of the will of the flesh 
nor of the will of man, 
but of God.
And the Word became flesh 
and dwelt among us, 
and we have seen his glory, 
glory as of the only Son from the Father, 
full of grace and truth.  
(John 1: 1 - 5, 9 - 14)

For God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only Son,
 that whoever believes in him 
should not perish 
but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world
 to condemn the world, 
but in order that the world 
might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, 
but whoever does not believe
 is condemned already, 
because he has not believed 
in the name of the only Son of God. 
(John 3: 15 - 18)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Ornaments

This is my second attempt at writing this blog post.  I almost had it written when Blogger decided to stop working, and then when I went back to edit it, I had two with the same title and inadvertently deleted both of them!  I started again, but the information I needed was downstairs and I didn't want to make the trip down to retrieve it, especially after I sprained my ankle!  That's my story, and I am sticking to it. 
My husband was released from the hospital on November 23 after a long 18-1/2 day stay.  Recovery from a stem cell transplant is very slow, and although Phil has regained a bit of strength (e.g., going up the stairs is now somewhat easier than the first time he did it after being released), he has a long way to go.  We have to go to the lab for blood tests twice a week, as well as going to see various doctors whenever they say.  We can also be called to the hospital at any time should Phil need fluids or blood products.  This week we have two doctors appointments on top of the visits to the lab, and the possibility of a transfusion of red blood cells is a real possibility.

I haven't had a lot of time, energy, or motivation to do much.  I did manage to stitch and finish the yearly ornaments for my children, as well as finishing a couple of other ornaments I stitched last year.

Grace and Anthony adopted a dog mid-summer, a cute Corgi named Amelie.  Naturally, I had to choose an ornament for them with a dog on it.  I did change the shape a bit as well as the coloring so it would look more like Ami.

A Dog's Christmas is by Elizabeth's Designs and I found it in the Just Cross Stitch 2007 Ornament issue.

In August, our daughter, Sarah, adopted Posie, a wild lively cat during our local Humane Society's free cat adoption event.

(I am sorry the picture is so washed out!)  I don't have the name of the design, but it is by Brittercup Designs, and is from the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Preview issue (July/August).

I hope to be back soon with even more pictures to share!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Granola Bars

My husband was admitted to the hospital for his stem cell transplant on Monday, November 5.  He had a rocky start, with a medication making him violently ill, and then he had a reaction to one of the anti-nausea medicines.  He was "out of his head" (i.e., confusion, agitation) for about 36 hours.  It was a very, very difficult time for me, trying to keep him from getting up by himself, having him get angry with me for coddling him, and not being able to answer his nonsensical questions.  Since the confusion cleared, he has progressed as expected, with all his blood counts reaching zero yesterday.  He has developed a sore in his mouth today after several days of complaining that his mouth was tender.  Again, not unexpected, but it makes eating even more difficult.  I don't know how much longer he will be in the hospital.  The original estimate was 14 days, and I am hoping he will be home for Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten more than a couple of stitches put into my current project.  I spend a lot of time helping Phil, doing things that help the nurses, who are patiently dedicated to their patients in this unit.  But I did want to say that the granola bars I mentioned in my last post are absolutely delicious!!!  You can find the recipe at Money Saving Mom.  I used the Rice Krispies (generic ones from Aldi), and for my add-ins I used tiny cinnamon chips, peanut butter chips, and peanuts.  (I love peanut butter!)  I would like to try making them with flax seed (maybe using half flax seed and half wheat germ), and using other mix-ins such as coconut (another favorite) and sunflower seeds.  I froze my bars after I cut them, and they are still deliciously chewy once they thaw.  I highly recommend this recipe!  If you make it, let me know how you tweaked it to your taste.

I have pictures on my computer to share, so hopefully I can get to those soon. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn Harvest

The wind is howling outside, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  We are five hours west of New York City, where she is wreaking havoc with strong winds (stronger than here) and storm surges that are flooding many parts of the city.  Up and down the east coast of the United States, Sandy has made her presence known.  My heart goes out to those of you affected by this huge and powerful storm.

Our thoughts at the Ingram household have turned to my husband's expected hospitalization sometime next week as he undergoes what will be a second stem cell transplant for him (his first was in June, 2006).  I have individual portions of several main dishes in the freezer, but still have baking to do so I will have some treats to take to the hospital with me every day.  I learned the first time around that there will be times I'll need some comfort food, not to mention that I have quite a sweet tooth!  It's much more economical to make my own granola bars and cookies than to go to the hospital cafeteria to buy food.  If the granola bars are good - and the blogger who shared the recipe says they are delicious - I will share the recipe!

I am finally working on some cross stitch again.  My arm still bothers me some, but with frequent breaks and avoiding stitching for too long at one time, I have been able to finish a few projects.  I can't share everything with you because I'm working on Christmas ornaments for family, but that's what happens this time of the year!

One project I finished is Autumn Harvest by JBW Designs.

As usual, I can't find the chart, so I am unable to tell you exactly which threads I used, but it was a combination of the specialty threads mentioned.  (The chart listed at least three different color combinations.)

I did a new-to-me finish for this one:  I found a wooden tray at A. C. Moore for less than $3.00, and painted it with black acrylic paint.  I then mounted the stitching on a piece of foam core that I padded with cotton batting.  I glued the trim around the outside, tucking the ends down beside the piece.  I am thrilled with how it came out!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Card

Another birthday card, this time for my sister-in-law.  And another card whose inspiration came from a card I pinned on Pinterest

This card afforded me the opportunity to use scraps.  I went through our scrap box, pulling out nearly all the patterned paper pieces which I thought were large enough for my card, and then I sorted through until I ended up with four which went together reasonably well.  After cutting the pieces to widths that seemed to be close to those of the original card, I estimated the lengths, then cut the "tails" as you would ribbon.  Finally, I sponged the edges with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo.  They were all applied flat to the card.  The sentiment is by Stampin Up! (set unknown) and was stamped using Memento Tuxedo Black ink (a new favorite), which I again sponged with Vintage Photo.  This was also applied flat.  To finish the card, I added a rhinestone flourish from Recollections (available at Michael's). 

This was a fun card to put together.  My only regret is not writing down the lengths and widths of the focal pieces.  I can see using this layout for many different types and styles of cards.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another Birthday Card

Our son-in-law had another birthday in August.  I ran out of time to make him a card, and threw this together rather quickly.

Since Anthony is a filmmaker, the clap board was perfect.  It is from a set by BoBunny Clearly Stamps.  Although you can't see it well, I stamped "Happy Birthday" in gold ink as the title of the production.  The word "Action" I cut out with Spellbinders Nested Pennants.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Anniversary Card

My parents celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary back in August.  This beautiful card - which I pinned to my Pinterest Cards & Paper Crafts board - was my inspiration.

Please take the time to enlarge the photos so you can see the detail of the white pieces across the center.

Those white pieces were cut and then pierced with Spellbinders Pierceabilities 5-1/2" Fancy Scalloped Border, which I cut in half and spread apart.  In the space between the pieces I placed my sentiment.  "Happiness Always" is from the Whimsical Words set by Stampin Up!, which I stamped using a VersaMagic Perfect Plumeria ink pad.  I cut it out using Spellbinders Standard Circles Small and while the die was still in place, I sponged VersaMagic Sahara Sand over the sentiment.  I then adhered it to Spellbinders Classic Ovals Small, and placed the entire piece inside Spellbinders Fancy Tags Two.  The flowers and leaves were made from Spellbinders Bitty Blossoms.  So cute!  And fun to make.  The pearls are by Recollections and available at Michael's.

This is probably one of the most elaborate cards I have made.  The pieces sat on my desk for many weeks while I worked to bring everything together, and in the end, I was totally pleased with the card.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Birthday Card for My Niece

It seems I do a lot of sighing these days, although a lot of it is silent.  My first priority is always my family, notably my role as caregiver to my husband.  We had made a decision about his treatment, but then were put on hold, which I find harder than knowing a difficult and demanding protocol is just around the corner.  But we are now moving in a definite direction and know that it will commence in just over a month.  (If you are interested, you can read the latest Caring Bridge entry on my husband's site here.)  It's going to be a busy month, to include (I hope - I'm trying to work it out) another injection in my knee, which will give me some down time.

My niece had a birthday back in July.  After corresponding with my mom, I decided on a sparkly kitty card.

The kitty is a Sizzix die which I got on clearance some time ago.  I think I paid $2.97, and I got a dog die for the same price.  I embossed her crown and bow with "Bridal" embossing powder by Personal Stamp Exchange.  Kitty is sitting on an oval from Spellbinders Classic Ovals Small, and she has rhinestones for her collar.  Moving up to the sentiment, it is from a Verve Stamps set called Circular Sayings, which I embossed with "Violet Glitter" by Stamp-n Stuff.  I cut the sentiment out with Spellbinders Standard Circles Large, and placed it on top of Spellbinders Picot Edge Circles.  Then in the left upper corner, I cut out Corner Flower #2 by Sizzix.  The decorative paper was in my stash, and it has lots of glitter on it as well.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthday Card

This is a birthday card I made back in August for a friend of mine.

You can see the card I used as my inspiration here.

If you look carefully at the last photo, you can see that I used my Martha Stewart Scoring Board to create lines in the green portion of the card.  I believe the lines are 1/4" apart.  For the medallion, I cut two motifs from Spellbinders Moroccan Accents, which I offset and attached to each other.  I then cut a circle of the pink scrapbook paper to place on top.  The sentiment is an old stamp by Uptown Rubber Stamps (Holly Pond Hill line) which I stamped on a long rectangle.  After cutting the ends to look like a piece of ribbon, I used my sponge dauber to  add ink around the edges.  Some ribbon and pearls completed the card.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Singing the Blues

It was not my intention to be silent for so long.  We have been struggling to keep my husband's cancer under control, trying to figure out what his next treatment should be, researching, talking, praying, seeing doctors.  It has been difficult to do much else.

But once again, I have a pile of pictures to blog about, so while I can, I will try to blog about them.  First up is another UFO.   I think I unstitched the border on this one at least four times before I finally got it right!

Singing the Blues
Little House Needleworks

Oh, no!  I just realized that I missed stitching a red heart to the right of the bird's belly!  I guess I was so excited to have finally stitched the border correctly that I completely missed it on the chart.  No wonder the cat kept pawing at the bag the piece was in, she knew something was missing.

I stitched this on (what else) 28 count evenweave.  I think the color is Khaki.  I used the suggested Crescent Colors.  As for finish-finishing, I think I will look through my collection of boxes and see if I have one this will fit on.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cassie and Kelly

It is difficult for me to get pictures of our critters when they are awake.  But once in a while, they are obliging.

This is Kelly, our sweet 10-year old Black Lab/Chow Chow mix.  We are so curious about her parents.  Labs are sweet dogs, very obedient, smart, and friendly.  Chows, on the other hand, are aggressive, mean, and rather stupid.  We have been told several times while at the vet clinic that they dread seeing a Chow come through the door!  Kelly inherited the sweetness and gentleness of a Lab, but the stupidity of a Chow.  Obedience is optional in her mind.  And if you have a treat, she'll go through all her tricks, probably hoping that one of them will be the one you asked her to do!  Poor Kelly has severe allergies, and spends a lot of time on Prednisone every summer when they become so bad that all she can do is lick her paws and other body parts.  We have to watch her carefully year round for skin and ear infections. 

Cassie has been venturing down to the first floor of the house a lot more since our other kitty died.  She still will not stand up to the dog, but if Kelly chases her out of a room, Cassie will now come back to where we are.  She still loves to be wherever I am.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Out in the Garden

This cute piece is from the Summer 2010 booklet by The Sampler Girl.  I stitched it using DMC thread on a piece of 11 count Aida fabric.  (The pattern called for 9 count!)  I think it would make a cute pillow, backed with a flowery fabric. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Herb Garden

Another completed UFO.  This one took a long time because of the constant color changes.

The Herb Garden
Shepherd's Bush

I stitched this one on my favorite Antique White 28 count Monaco evenweave, using DMC threads.  Unfortunately, I didn't cut the fabric very large, and I only have a 1-1/4" border all the way around, so I am not sure how I will finish this. 

I have the chart for another similar piece called The Arbour.  I think it will be a while before I tackle that one since it will probably be just as tedious for me!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Iris

Here is another one of those UFOs that I can now cross off my list.

This one is Summer Iris by Blackbird Designs.  I stitched it on 28 count Antique White Monaco evenweave using Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts threads.  I did change the date to 2012, but I left the "A" since I couldn't figure out how to stitch my own initial (laziness?).

Friday, August 3, 2012

The "Crowsline"

Some of the cross stitchers in blogland have set stitching goals for the two weeks of the Olympics.  I, on the other hand, am not doing too much stitching these days (and the small amount I am doing goes very slowly) because I am trying to heal my shoulder.  I  got a cortisone injection back at the beginning of June and did have some reduction in pain, but then I hurt my back and spent about six hours one day sitting on the couch with an ice pack on my back and passing the time by stitching.  That undid all the good of the injection.  When I returned to the doctor on July 17, she said it is still possible the cortisone will do some good, and to try not to raise my arm too high.  She still thinks it's just tendinitis.  I have discovered that some things aggravate it, including stitching and using the computer mouse.  So back o the Olympics.  Despite the fact that using the mouse bothers me, my goal is to blog about all the pictures I have taken and edited.

This is The "Crowsline" by Cedar Hill.  I have no idea how many years ago I started this project, but at that time, I found stitching on the linen fabric too frustrating, and set it aside.  I finally decided it was time to finish up some UFOs.  Once I started working on it again, it took only a few evenings to complete it.  Unfortunately, I don't have any information about the fabric, but I can say that I used the recommended DMC threads.  I still have to figure out how to complete it - a pillow, perhaps.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wedding Card

This is the card I made for the lovely couple I mentioned in my last post.

I thought you might be interested in the process I used to create this card.

To begin, I reviewed the cards I pinned to my Pinterest board, and chose the first one on this page as my inspiration.   Next, I started pulling out embossing folders, Spellbinders dies, rubber stamps, ribbon and lace, bling, and an ink pad - anything I thought I might use.

Did you notice the most important element for making this card?  Yup - M & Ms, peanut variety!

I had only eight different embossing folders that were approximately 2" x 2": Cuttlebug's Fancy Corners and Formal SquaresIn the picture below, you can see how I taped four folders at a time onto the B plate for my Cuttlebug before running it through the machine. 

Next, I created the center medallion.  The stamp I chose was one long line, so using my Stamp-a-ma-jig, I was able to split it into two and properly position it on the center of a Spelbinders Fancy Tags Two.  (The ink is Cranberry ColorBox.)  I put the tag on top of an element from Spellbinders Twisted Metal Tags and Accents.

 After I embossed all my pieces, I needed to figure out how to position them on the card.

I played around with them quite a bit before I was satisfied and felt the design was balanced.  I'm strange like that - I have to have some things "just right", especially my cards.  The other challenge I had with this card was getting eight pieces secured to the card front with an equal amount of space between them.  There was a lot of measuring involved!  In the picture below, you can see that I started by taping down the four corner pieces.

From there, it was a simple matter of putting the other pieces on.  Before I used pop dots to attach the center medallion, I had to choose which ribbon or lace to use; I ended up choosing a beautiful tone on tone white ribbon.  It went around the card front, and was secured to the back using my tape runner. 

You can see how difficult it was to position enough pop dots on the back of the medallion.  I ended up cutting some in half, no easy task because they are so small!

I attached the red card front to my card base, which I pieced together using Bekka's excellent instructions at the bottom of her post here.  I finished off my card by placing a couple of pearls on the medallion.

Because of the size of my card - which, of course, I neglected to write down - I made my own envelope using my Martha Stewart Scoring Board.

This was a fun card to make.  I loved working with red (the couple's favorite color) and white, as well as finally using my small embossing folders to create this elegant card.