Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Goodbye, Old Friend

Hi, stitching friends!

I just finished erasing the hard drive on my old buddy so I can send it off for recycling. I'm sad. It's still so pretty, and we've spent a lot of fun hours together.

Part of me wants to keep it around, just in case it really isn't failing. But there are definite perks of the new iMac:

  • The retina display is a-MA-zing.
  • It's sooo fast.
  • My favorite game loads and runs really fast (but since that distracts me from housework and stitching, that may not be a good thing).
  • It doesn't randomly put itself to sleep while I'm working.
  • It looks just like the old iMac, unless you look at it from the side. It's so... thin.
But there is one HUGE drawback:
  • Photoshop won't work.
I found out (too late) that Photoshop CS5 is not compatible with the latest Apple operating system. I've tried the fixes, but it still won't load anything without crashing. I can pay $10 a month to use the new Photoshop online, but before I go that route, I'm trying out a new graphics program for Mac called Acorn. I've used Photoshop for about 20 years, so learning something different feels like learning to cross stitch with my left hand. While walking AND chewing gum.

Fellow bloggers, what photo- and graphics-editing software do you use?

Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow update

Block 2 of Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow

Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow is going great! I want to have it stitched and framed before Halloween, and since I started in mid- to late January, I need to stitch three blocks (of the 12) every two months. I'm ahead of schedule!

Block 3 of Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow
I finished block three late last week.

Blocks 2 and 3
Block 4 of Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow
with my Charlotte's Web needle minder from Mad for Minders on Etsy
I started block four last Friday. I had the border, words and lightning finished when we left town to spend the weekend with friends at their cabin in Crouch, Idaho. Do you remember a few weeks ago when I posted that we were going to the cabin? We ended up cancelling then because of snow, and then our friend Rob got a nasty cold.

We went this past weekend instead. We arrived to find three feet of snow on the ground! It snowed all weekend, and when we left Sunday morning, there was a fresh foot of snow on Rob's truck. (Thank goodness for friends with four-wheel-drive!) As we pulled into Boise, it was raining, and I'm sure people were wondering where we brought all that snow from.

Image from With Thy Needle and Thread blog

Stitching Friends Forever SAL

I'm gearing up to start the "Summer Schoolhouse" SAL with RJ and Mary from Stitching Friends Forever next month. A reader was very generous and sent me the first three patterns in the series, with the fourth to come later, and I have my fabric and floss ready to go. Just waiting to hear the ready, set... go! If you want to read the story behind this series, you can on Brenda Gervais' blog here.

Until next time, friends. I hope that wherever you are, you are warm and safe with promises of spring peeking up here and there. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Soda Pop Cake

Hi, stitching friends!

As I write this, I'm mourning my iMac. In my mind, it's still very new, but according to the guy at Apple support, it is anything but new. (Apparently a computer I bought in 2010 is a dinosaur.) A few days ago, it started putting itself to sleep (screen going black) while I was in the middle of typing. I've done everything Apple suggested I do to fix it, from updating the OS to resetting the PRAM (whatever that is) to checking out my "hot corners" and energy-saving options. (I don't expect you to know what I'm talking about. I certainly don't.)

But alas, it keeps falling asleep.

Here's my philosophy on problems: Something is not a problem if, after you've fixed it, you're either the same as you were before, or better off. Since I'm getting a new iMac out of this deal, which will be newer, faster and shinier than the old one, this is not a problem. Irritating and stressful, yes, but not a problem.

What do you do when something stresses you out? I cross stitch, and I bake! Today I made a "soda pop cake," one of my favorite "secret" recipes. Excited for Mr. Wonderful and The Boy to get home today. I haven't made this in a long time, and they will be happy.

I learned how to make this cake years ago at a Weight Watchers meeting. It's so easy and delicious, and you will not miss the extra calories.

Soda Pop Cake

1 box cake mix
1 (12 oz.) can diet soda
8 oz. tub of Cool Whip Lite
5 oz. or 6 oz. container of your favorite yogurt

My absolute favorite combination is Betty Crocker Cherry Chip cake mix and Fresca. (Here's the trick: Pair a light-colored cake with a light-colored soda, or a dark-colored cake with a dark-colored soda. Avoid flavored sodas, as the artificial flavoring is rather weird in the cake.) Beat the diet soda into the cake mix for a couple of minutes, just as the package directs, but leave out the oil and eggs. Just cake mix and diet soda. Pour it into your prepared pan and bake as directed on the back of the box. You'll probably want to stick to the shorter baking time, and you might even check it a couple of minutes before. It bakes quickly.

When the cake has cooled, whisk the Cool Whip Lite and the yogurt (my favorite is Dannon Light & Fit Greek Strawberry) until blended. Frost the cake and keep it in the fridge. Serve cold.

This is sooooo good, and it's a fraction of the calories versus traditional frosted cake. You might even like it better. (I do.)

Until next time! Hopefully when I post next, I'll have Photoshop back up and running and be able to share some photos of my progress on Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Birthday Giveaway Winners and Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow Update

Hi, stitching friends!

I'm excited to announce the winners of my birthday giveaways!

The winner of the "Snow" by Bent Creek giveaway is Kate. Congratulations!

The winner of the "Bless Our Home" giveaway is Sandy. Woohoo!

I've emailed each of these lovely ladies and will get their goodies in the mail as soon as possible. If you didn't win (and I was rooting for all of you who entered), don't despair. I plan to do more giveaways soon.

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Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow update

I've been busy working on Halloween at HRH, and wow, is this a fun stitch. If you've been toying with the idea of starting one of these behemoths, I encourage you to jump in. They're big, but they're broken up into smaller squares. I get the same satisfaction as I do working on smaller projects.

I've started on block two last week, and I'm almost finished! You can see a couple of my birthday gifts from Mr. Wonderful in this photo - the grime guard from SewMuch2Luv on Etsy and my Star Trek needle minder from Mad For Minders on Etsy. (You can visit their shops by clicking their names.) I'm loving the grime guard. I can tuck all that excess evenweave inside so it isn't flopping all over my lap and getting dirty as I stitch. And isn't that fabric cute? Love those bees.

Here is block one finished. I had been forewarned that the spider webs in the corners would be difficult to stitch, but I enjoyed them. I started by trying to put my stitches exactly where the pattern showed to put them, but soon decided to just "eyeball" it. As I stitched them, I felt like a spider weaving and anchoring her web.

Here are blocks one and two side by side. It's so colorful. I'm over the moon excited about how the project will look when it's finished.

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Mr. Wonderful has arranged for a weekend with our friends at their cabin in tiny Crouch, Idaho (population 170). When we arrive, the cabin is usually colder inside than it is outside, so our friend Rob builds a fire in the wood-burning fireplace and my hubby and I sit huddled together for a couple of hours until the temperature climbs to a human-friendly level. We're supposed to get snow on our way up, so think good thoughts for good roads! It's a little more than an hour's drive there, but it's a curvy, up-and-down stretch of highway. I'm glad Rob has four-wheel drive in his truck.

Be well, friends, and I wish you lots of stitching time!