Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Good Day to Have a Good Day

Hi, stitching friends!

I have recently fallen in love with the music (and especially the lyrics) of Kacey Musgraves. Her song "Late to the Party" is one of my favorites. "I'm never late to the party if I'm late to the party with you."

I am definitely late to the party. I promise... I have NOT dropped off the face of the earth! No excuses. Since my last post, one week became one month...two months...and then nearly three months....

But here I am! Thanks for hanging in there and not giving up on me.

Today was a good day to have a good day. I have been a homebody lately, which, truly, is who I am. But today I felt like getting out and enjoying some retail therapy.

Here's how my day went.

8:45 a.m.: Got up and ate a bowl of cereal while watching The Price is Right. I freakin' love this show, and have since I was little. Do you?

10:00 a.m.: Cross stitched a little bit, working on "Peace House" by La-D-Da.
10:30ish a.m.: Dyed some linen from my stash using Priscilla and Chelsea's tutorial for coffee-tea-dyed linen. I wasn't using these pieces of linen because I didn't like the original colors. They were either blah or just a little too plain. I thought, If this doesn't work, I'm not in love with this fabric, anyway, so what have I got to lose? Well, let me tell you, I love the result!

The photo above shows my dyed pieces drying in the sun outside. After they were dry, I ironed them and put them back in their packages so I would remember what count they are. (I took good notes beforehand to help myself keep this straight.) I can't wait to use these! If you would like to give this a shot, you can't go wrong. Their tutorial is wonderful.

1:00 p.m.: Went to Barnes & Noble to pick up the 2018 Halloween and Christmas-ornament issues of Just CrossStitch magazine. I found the Halloween issue right away, but they didn't yet have the Christmas-ornament issue! Drats! So I was sitting on a nearby bench flipping through a few stitching magazines when an employee holding a stack of magazines said, "These just came in if you're interested."

The lady sitting next to me scoffed and said, "Uh, no thanks."

I looked up and what did I see, but the new Christmas-ornament issue. "Yes! I'll take one, please! That's what I came here for!" I said.

"Well, you waited just long enough," he said, and handed me my issue. I don't know if you've seen it yet, but there are some darling ornaments in it. I already have plans to stitch "Joy" by Livia Rovaris. (It's on the cover.)

When I paid for my magazines, they gave me a coupon for $2 off a drink in the café, and I haven't had Starbucks in sooooo long. When I was working full time, the Starbucks on my way to work was a fairly regular stop for me. My husband says he has no idea how they have managed to stay in business since I stopped working.

1:45 p.m.: I needed a skein of DMC floss, so I stopped in at Michael's. For just that one thing. Honestly.

Sixty-five dollars later, I left the store with a full cart.

3:00 p.m.: I had some very sad-looking bananas to use up, so I made some banana bread. My go-to recipe lately is King Arthur Flour's Whole-Grain Banana Bread. You can find the recipe here. It's very good and very healthy as far as banana bread goes. No wonder they named it their 2018 Recipe of the Year!

4:00 p.m.: Time to start dinner. I had some leftover deli chicken in the fridge, so I made one of our favorite soups: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Another thing about fall... I love, love, love soup, and fall's chilly nights are perfect soup nights. What is your favorite soup?
I found this recipe on originally, but I have modified it, so I will share my version of the recipe with you. It's so good.... so creamy and wonderful and soul-satisfying.


Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
4 cups deli chicken, cut into bite-size pieces or shredded
1 package quick-cooking long grain and wild rice mix (we like Uncle Ben's or Rice-a-Roni)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk
frozen mixed vegetables

In a large pot over medium heat, combine chicken broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving the seasoning packet. Cover pot and remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to medium-low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook and stir until thickened, 5-10 minutes.

Stir white sauce into broth-rice-chicken mixture in pot. Add frozen vegetables. Cook over medium heat until heated through and rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


6:00 p.m.: My husband and I watched The Greatest Showman, which I had seen before and he had not. When I saw it the first time, my friend Jacquie took me. She had seen it six times already (!!!), but wanted to see it again. If you have not seen it, the music is wonderful.

8:00 p.m.: We baked some ready-to-bake, gooey Rhodes cinnamon rolls for dessert. We don't usually do dessert, but dang, they just sounded like a good idea. And they were....sooo good.

9:00 p.m.: I started taking pictures and composing this blog entry. Finally getting to share my day with you is the perfect end to a perfect day.

And now to the stitching!

I have been working on a lot of projects lately, but I have two I want to show you today. Both are little Halloween pillows.
The first is "Brew Haha!" by Plum Street Samplers. It's a freebie, and you can find it here. I stitched it over one on 25-count mushroom lugana, substituting overdyed threads for some of the called-for DMC threads (I used the called-for DMC 3021, ecru, 3863 and 3826, but substituted Gingersnap, Pumpkin Harvest, Endive, Gold Leaf and Brandied Pears for the rest).

I sewed it into a very simple little pillow, topping it with a natural bow and a little pumpkin charm. I love this little guy! He looks like I do when I have my caffeine for the day! As I was stitching the pumpkin body of the little fella, I stitched in a circular pattern so the variegations in the thread would go round and round, rather than in stripes across his body.
The second is "Owl-O-Ween" by Barbara Ana Designs. I bought this pattern online at Creative Poppy Patterns. I stitched it over one on 25-count vintage country mocha lugana. Isn't he cute? (He looks like he has had some caffeine, too!) I love the bright colors. I do not love the spiders (yuck!), but they are perfect for Halloween, and I have to admit, I like their beady red eyes. Creepy!
I finished Owl-O-Ween using Staci's beaded edge tutorial that Carol over at Stitching Dreams shared a while ago, and I added some sparkly black-velvet ribbon for a hanger. It was a lot of fun (although time-consuming), and I plan to use this edge-finishing technique a lot in the future. For one thing, it was all hand sewing, and I feel more in control of my finish this way. My sewing machine is a 1960s hand-me-down Singer Fashion Mate from my mother-in-law, and I am a little afraid of it, to be honest. My mom taught me some very basic stitches when I was young and wanted to make simple clothes for my Barbies, so for me, hand-stitching just feels more natural. I'm an odd duck, I know.

As always, friends, thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you so much!


  1. Hello Meg,
    nice to hear from you.
    Your two Halloween pillows are wonderful. I like them.
    Best wishes Manuela

  2. Meg, what a perfect day!!! You accomplished so much too! Going into Michael"s for just one thing is nearly impossible, I always check their 80% off sale racks and usually find something, I wonder what your 65$ of something was!!
    Autumn is my favorite season for so many reasons but soup making is high on the list. My Mom always made homemade soup and homemade bread for Saturday night dinner and it was my favorite meal of the week. A good NE Clam Chowder is my favorite soup. I will be trying your recipe, it looks delicious!
    Both your stitches are adorable!! I don't do a thing till I have my morning coffee so that Brew Ha Ha I will have to stitch. Thanks for the link! The Owl-o-Ween is such a whimsical stitch, love it and your finishing is superb!!! I want to try that beaded edging, how difficult was it working with such tiny beads? It gives it such a clean and professional look. I Love Starbucks Pumpkin Lattes,have you tried them?
    I never tried Priscialla's method of coffee dying, glad to hear it worked so well for you.
    I hope it's not months till we hear from you again!!! I missed your posts!! Mary

  3. Meg, what a fabulous day you had and you accomplished quite a bit. Love your dyed fabric! Thank you for the soup recipe! I like a number of soups; it all depends on my mood. I enjoyed seeing your finished stitches. Well done!

  4. What a wonderful day Meg! I love these two darling pillows. :) Don't wait so long to come back now. I love your work and can't wait to see more!!

  5. So glad to see you back!! And your smalls are perfection may I just say? Like you I was camped out at my LNS awaiting the Christmas ornament edition. I was the first customer to check out with it!! I was a bit disappointed that there are not many of my favorite designers in the Christmas edition. I see a few that I will stitch so it is worth the $10. I also want to take time to look at the recipes in the back of the magazine. I loved the format you used for your blog post Meg...I felt as though I was right there with you!

  6. Meg, that was a perfect day..a little bit of all the things you love!!! Brew-Ha-Ha is adorable and, though I'm not a coffee drinker, I think it would work just as well for tea drinkers!!! Don't be a stranger!!!

  7. Hi Meg! So happy to see a post from one of my favorite bloggers. I loved your format too. It sounded like the perfect day to me. You got a lot accomplished and had a lot of fun too.

    Your stitches are cute and the finishing is perfect. Love the beaded edge...perfection.

    Great job on the dyed linen. I've had pretty good luck with dyeing too. I started using tea but moved to coffee which I like better.

    I'm a soup lover too. And Fall is the perfect time for a bowl. Of course in Florida we have to wait a long time for Fall to come which I miss. In fact I just got home from a week at the beach of sun, blue skies and warm water yet. Can't complain however.

    Loved having you back and missed you very much. RJ

  8. Loved reading about your day. It's the kind of day I would enjoy. Love your Halloween finishes.
    Your coffee-tea-dyed linen looks good. I'm off to check the tutorial for this.

  9. So happy to read your latest post, Meg--I've missed them! Your stitching is adorable and so perfect for this time of year. I really am a seasonal stitcher, too, and think I would get very bored stitching just samplers all year round. Love the beaded edge--time consuming, but oh-so-special in the end :) Great job on the over one stitching, too--don't you love how tiny and delicate everything looks?

    I've never tried dyeing linen, but I really should as I have some colors that I doubt I'll ever use up. Glad to know yours was a success--it scares me a bit!

    Sounds like a good, productive day--I love days like that... I sleep so much better when I've been productive :) Glad you found the magazines. I just finished stitching one of the ornaments from the Christmas issue (I get it online through the library) and need to finish it up. Hopefully, I can post it next week.

    Darn! I wish I had read this last night as I had some bananas to use up myself. I ended up making banana muffins (which I love!), but it would have been nice to try something new. Will file this away for further use.

    And thank you for the chicken soup recipe. I've vowed to try making more soup this winter and that sounds like a good one to start with. Quick and easy :)

    Hope you have many more full, productive days ahead mixed with those wonderful lazy stay-at-home and stitch days, too! Happy September to you, my friend!

  10. What a fabulous day you had. Great to see you back . . . and with a bang. I grew up with a 1963 Singer Touch and Sew. That sewing machine is definitely my safe place not because I'm a fabulous seamstress, but because nearly all my clothes growing up were made on it by my mom. When I hear the sound I know everything will be okay. She gave it to me a few years ago since she had a newer one and doesn't sew much anymore.

    Love Mr. Swirl your pumpkin. You are so much braver than me. Look at you dying your own linen. Way to go! Judy

  11. A very good day Meg! Your Barbara Ana stitches and finishes are just super - and your photography is excellent. So glad to have a new post to read.

  12. You certainly know how to keep busy, good for you! How nice that you found BOTH mags and then found some treasures at Michaels.
    I love the Brew Haha, I have it and really should stitch it. And your Owl-O-Ween is adorable!


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