Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Embroidery Companion Sew Along Month One: Days of the Week Dishtowels!

The first project for our sew along will be the Days of the Week Dishtowels.  (I am currently visiting family in Colorado and neglected to bring my book with me to snap a picture of this beautiful project from the book.)  These dishtowels seem to be a great introductory project to embroidery as the only stitch required is a simple backstitch, a must in every embroiderers' bag of tricks.  It also will be great practice for transferring designs to fabric since they are seven dishtowels to make.  I must admit I am a little hesitant about transferring designs as I've only ever used iron-on transfers before.  But I did recently get the pen Alicia recommended, the Micron marker, and am hoping to get a light box soon to help with this endeavor. I know we can do it together!

Another great thing about the Days of the Week Dishtowels is that if sewing is daunting for you, or perhaps you don't have a sewing machine at home, there are many simple dishtowel sets out there that could use a little handmade touch. Alicia also has a great free tutorial for a similar set of dishtowels on her blog if you haven't been able to procure a copy of Embroidery Companion yet.

And finally the dishtowels seem to me to be a great way to set two little New Year’s Resolutions for myself, one of creating happy stitches all year long and to create a more organized way of keeping house. (Something I can always use help with!)

A few other notes and details:

  • If you haven't signed up on the flickr group yet make sure to do so.
  • My husband and I are still working on the badge for you to use on your own blogs. In the meantime feel free to copy and paste the image above and link back to any sew along post.
  • I'll check in with you all mid-January to see how progress is coming on your dishtowel set. At that time I'll give you further details to if and how a giveaway might occur for those who participate this month.  
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: This sew along is meant to be a fun way to encourage each other and keep one another motivated to complete Alicia's beautiful designs. If you can't join us this month, no worries we'll be here again the next month. Join in when you can!

Happy Stitching!!!    

Monday, December 13, 2010

Embroidery Comapanion Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the signed copy of the Embroidery Companion by choice of is....... Sue Prindle Wendy. 

Sue, I tried to find contact information for you on your profile but I didn't see it.  Please contact me so that I can send you your lovely copy!  Sue if I don't hear you by Saturday Decemeber 18th I will chose another person.

Wendy has been contacted via email and hopefully will be able to recieve her book soon.  Thank you for all your lovely comments.  How I wish I could have sent you each a copy.  Looking forward to stitching together!
I will be taking a break for a few weeks to spend time with family and friends in Colorado.  I hope you each enjoy this holiday season.  Please check back at the end of the month to find out the first project for our sew along!

PS. For those who've asked about Miss Daisy, she is doing really well, minus a few housetraining errors.  She turned three months this past weekend.  Sadly she won't be able to travel with us to Colorado.  : (  But Daisy will be with close friends back at the breeder's house.  It will be a Blue Christmas without you Daisy.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Daisy and her chippy!

A few days ago the writing prompt for #Reverb 10 was Community.  I desperately wanted to write about it that day but this little precious one kept me pretty busy!

Here is the full prompt:

Community.  Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise in 2010?  What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

The first spring in our PNW home 2008.

In 2010 for me there have been many communities of varying kinds.  They have built up around me without much thought or effort unlike the first year of moving here.  When we moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2007 it was a constant effort to build a new community, find new friends, new activities.  It felt an awful lot like the horrible dating process or clothes shopping.  Trying things on, trying out new people to see which ones really fit the best. But now living here for three years the community I've created is thriving and lively.  I've even found ways to reconnect with my old community back home in Colorado!

My online community has grown in 2010.  First I began commenting more on other blogs that I really enjoyed.  Not surprisingly many of them commented back!  The online community that I've stumbled into has been very kind and encouraging.  In August I participated in Susannah's August Break and while I didn't participated every day like I had wanted it was fun to be part of a fun little project like that.  In this group I met some lovely ladies, Jude and Lisa in particular.  These two ladies have become faithful commenters which only keeps me excited to write and share with you each day.  Others I "met" stretched my thoughts about photography and made me gasp at the simple beauty they created.   In particular, this one, this one, and this one.

In the year ahead I hope to stretch my online community by hosting the Embroidery Companion Sew Along and perhaps participating in a online sewing swap or two.  PS. There is still time to comment to win the Embroidery Companion book.  Comments will close on Sunday at 8pm PT.

The Gingerbread House Decorating Contest entry by me, Shay, Susan and little J
My community otherwise: My community has grown to include a group of lovely women who support one another in faith and fun.  We shared a Bible study on friendship this summer and we hope to keep the group together with another study this winter.  Once a month many of us gather for a regular Mexican train domino night with appetizers and dessert.  There is always much trash talk of who is going to win the night and to be honest I usually win!  So look out ladies I'll be there in January!  The past two Christmas we've held a Gingerbread House Decorating Contest.  Here is my entry from this year.  Much better than last year in which we won the "habitat for humanity" award.  (A gentle way of saying it was rickety and barely standing!)

Then there is my dance community.  Nia has been a great home for me since I left my dance group back in Denver.  It has provided me not only with physical exercise but an emotional outlet.  Bonus:  the people I dance with are fun and silly just like me!  (Up there is a little promo video my Nia teacher and dear friend, Pauline, did of class.  Can you pick me out?)

Goofing off at Thanksgiving

My husband and I have been able to establish a little second family here.  Those friends that we go camping with, celebrate holidays together, and generally are there for each other to help out when needed.  This year in 2010 was the first time the group felt solid and really there to support one another and most like extended family.

Finally I've also been able to reconnect some with my Colorado community this year.  My friend Liz and I have been faithful in having weekly chats on Wednesdays in which to gossip, encourage, and celebrate our friendship.  It is so nice to have our weekly visits.  I can't express how much she lifts my spirits!  Maybe in 2011 we can plan another girls' trip like this one of us in San Francisco.

Somehow I also managed to become the coordinator of a somewhat monthly book club done via Skype with my mom, sister, mother-in-law, and two cousins.  We expanded our group last month with the inclusion of my aunt.  Each member has gotten to chose a book and we find questions to ask for discussion.  Most of the time we are able to stay on topic but it is fun to have something fun and silly to share with my family.  So far we've read Winter's GardenThe 19th Wife, The Film Club, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and most recently The Help.  Our meeting for Christmas is Guernsey style with each member reading a Christmas story of their own choosing to share with the group.  I found a fun old copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol that I hope I can read in time and I picked up a book titled An Amish Christmas which look intriguing.  Hopefully 2011 will be filled with more reading, enlightening discussion, and fun family time.

Hope you have a great weekend surrounded by community spirit!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saint Nicholas

Image via Nest Full of Eggs
I love this beautiful celebration of Saint Nicholas featured on Nest Full of EggsThis site also has some wonderful information about Saint Nicholas and this special holiday if, like me, you just thought Saint Nicholas was another name for Santa Claus. 

My husband and I seem to split our Christmas festivities between are two families and rarely have a quiet celebration for ourselves.  Saint Nicholas Day might be a way we could celebrate just the two of us! 

PS.  Aren't those wooden shoes beautiful!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

List Twenty Two: Things I forget

  1. Walk downstairs only to turn around blankly starring wondering why I went down there in the first place.
  2. One random item on my list at the grocery store, usually deodorant or toothpaste.
  3. Birthdays in time to send that birthday card or present in the mail.  I'll think of the birthday two or three weeks before but then it seems to early to send something and I'm sure I'll remember once it comes around to it.
  4. Changing over all the calendars in my house.  Come to think of it the one in my bedroom is still on November.
  5. Eating.  Occasionally if I'm really stressed about something going on I'll forget to stop and eat which of course only makes the forgetting more prevalent not to mention making me cranky with a headache.  So overall not good.
  6. To do these lists each week.
  7. Make my bed.  I hate crawling into an unmade bed at night so sometimes my bed is only made up for few seconds before I crawl into it.
  8. To take pictures during a party.  We had a joint surprise birthday party last night for my husband and a close friend and not one single picture was taken. :(
  9. All the things I meant to put on this list in the first place when I was thinking of it last night!
Do you ever find yourself forgetting things?

One thing I did not forget was to tell you all how amazed I am in the interest in the Embroidery Companion Sew Along.  Thank you to Alicia for mentioning it on her blog.  I'm excited to begin stitching with you all in the coming year ahead!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Announcing Embroidery Companion Sew Along

If you've been reading for awhile you know I am smitten with Alicia Paulson's latest book Embroidery Companion.  First it was the "blossom napkins" and then the "eyelet sampler."  Nearly every project out of the thirty brings me inspiration and a desire to stitch.  What better way to stay motivated to complete these lovely projects then with a Sew Along! 

Alicia has included embroidery projects for each and every level.  She has an excellent way of explaining each project so that it feels easy and doable even to the novice sewer.  In all honestly I haven't been doing embroidery for very long myself.  I know if I can do these projects each month, you can too!  We'll both be amazed with ourselves when we look around and see all the beautiful creations we've made.

The Embroidery Companion Sew Along will be a monthly sew along all through 2011 beginning the first of January.  This will give everyone time to order their books or perhaps you could put it on your Christmas wish lists!

How the Sew Along Will Work!

  • I will announce the embroidery pattern on or around the first of each month.  A few months may have an bonus project.  I'm not sure if we will complete all thirty projects but we will do a majority of them.
  • You will need to join the Embroidery Companion Sew Along Group on Flickr.  This way we can each ooh and ahh over all our lovely stitches!  It is very easy and free to set up of Flickr account if you don't have one already.
  • When you finish the month's project take some pictures and post them on Flickr and your blog if you'd like.  Please be sure to link back to this post.  (My husband and I are working on creating a badge button for you to use.) 
  • I am also trying to organize some monthly prizes to those who participate.  More details to follow on that.  (If you'd be interested in donating something as a giveaway item please contact me at annette (at) sunday-special (dot) net.)

To kick off this Sew Along, Alicia has been very generous and sent me a signed copy of her book, Embroidery Companion to give away to one lovely reader.  To be entered leave a comment on this post telling me of your experience with embroidery. Comments will close on Sunday December 12th at 8pm PT.  The winner will be selected and announced on Monday the 13th.  Good luck and happy stitching ahead!



Sue Prindle Wendy was selected as the winner of the signed copy of Embroidery Companion.  Wendy has been contacted by email.  Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments.  How I wish I could send each of you a copy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Introducing Daisy

Patrick and I brought Miss Daisy home with us on Monday evening.  She is the most adorable, soft little Cavalier puppy.  Her favorite things to do are lick your face, cuddle up in your lap, follow your every footstep, and play with her chew toys.  We're so exicted to have her as part of our family!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting Lost in Seattle Part four: At the beach

When visiting the Seattle area I feel it's important to take a moment to check out a beach or spend a day near the water.  In Larry Gets Lost in Seattle the author mentions Alki Beach which is a great place to visit.  It was the first area that settlers landed in November of 1851.  Located in West Seattle, Alki Beach offers many great views of downtown Seattle and the Olympic Mountains along with a sandy beach, a great waterfront dining.

For Dallas however I opted to take him to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park.  It is located close to the ferry terminal which takes you across to Whidbey Island, another excellent place to visit in the area.  There are many lighthouses to be found in the Puget Sound region and I suggest you seek them out.  If you'd like to tour inside one do check ahead of time as many have limited visiting hours.  Lighthouses of Washington is a great guidebook to all the lighthouses in the area.  If you decide to take the ferry over to Whidbey make sure to check out the Admiralty Head Lighthouse as well!

Grab some fish and chips at the Ivars Fish Bar and have a little picnic on the beach like we did.  (We actually grabbed our fish and chips up from a little place in Everett that I can't recall the name of but Ivars would do the trick.)

Make sure you take the time to stroll along the beach looking for

mussell shells

 or starfish skin (aka sea kelp),

skipping rocks, walking along the driftwood, and hunting out abandoned forts!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

List Twenty One: Thanksgiving Gratitude

Taken at Thanksgiving last year!
A short and not at all a comprohensive list of things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.
  1.  My in-laws for coming out to visit and making Thanksgiving a little more special.
  2. Hearing my mom's giggle on the phone this morning as she called me from the car with my dad and grandma to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving.
  3. My dear friend Liz who is such a comfort to talk to on the phone and who is a second sister to me.  I am thankful for our Wednesday afternoon chats!
  4. My husband for all he does for me including brushing my tangling, wet hair after a shower. 
  5. Homemade rolls that my grandma always made and now is my honor to take to our Thanksgiving.  How I hope they taste as good as hers always have.
  6. The expectations of a new addition to our little family... more on that next week.
  7. Warm blankets and big comfy sweaters to keep me warm on this unexpectedly cold Thanksgiving.
  8. Old friends who I'm able to stay close with by way of facebook!
  9. My Seattle family, Derek and Tatiana and Pauline and James, who make the holidays easier to be so far from home.
  10. Sausage from PCC, because it was SOO good in my scrambled eggs this morning and I know it will be delicious in Patrick's stuffing this afternoon.
  11. My friend Susan for making me laugh and bringing such warmth into my heart.
  12. My nephews and niece who fill me with joy and awe.  (Bonus: it's so fun to make little gifts for them at Christmas time.  If only I can finish them all.)
  13. All my family whom I miss so much and can't wait to see at Christmas.
  14. To you lovely readers who continue to bring such thoughtful and kind comments into this space.  It's been so fun writing for you and taking the time to breathe that Simple Breath.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow Day

Enjoying the white little snow flakes especially since it's meant cuddling inside with my husband all day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

List Twenty: Christmas Cookies to make

(Insert photograph of  a beautiful stack of your favorite holiday cookies here!)

With one radio station playing constant Christmas music, an invitation to a Holiday Cookie Swap party, and after reading this post I thought a list of Christmas cookies was just the thing for this week's list. 

Short story first!  For my speech class a few years back I did a group persuasive speech on the BEST holiday cookie.  Each member in the group brought their star cookie in to share with the class and then gave a brief speech on why their cookie was the best.  In my humble opinion my cookie and speech was the best of the group however members of the class felt the Chocolate Pixie wasn't as good as someone's Chocolate Chip (which really wasn't all that great.) Whatever, they obviously wouldn't know a good cookie when they ate one!

1.  Chocolate Pixies

2.  Ginger Cookies

3.  Peanut Butter Cookies

4. Caramels (ok it's not a cookie but you have to make caramels at Christmas time)

5. Fudge (ok not a cookie either but...)

6. No-bake cookies

7.  Christmas Wreaths (made from corn flakes and technically not a cookie either probably... umm.. perhaps I should have named this list Christmas "treats" to make instead!)

8. Gingerbread Men decorated up with red dots, icing, and lots of sprinkles of course!

9.  Any of the special Christmas cookies in this book!

What fun Christmas cookies or "treats" do you plan to make? 

Have a happy weekend!

(And no I haven't forgotten the Getting Lost in Seattle series, it's just that my internet connection is pretty intermittent and hopefully will be fixed soon.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Challenge: day twelve

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Today I am thankful for a negative dog allergy test.  I did however find out I'm allergic to juniper.  Who knew?

(I know you're probably thinking "What happened to day ten and eleven?"  Well... I am thankful that I came out of the funk I was in on both those days.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

List Nineteen: ten things that make me smile

On a chilly, rainy day.
  1. Piles of blankets lying on the couch waiting to be cuddled under.
  2. Tea pot cozies warming a little pot.
  3. Standing under a hot shower.
  4. Pink fuzzy socks that Santa gave me for Christmas last year.
  5. The floor vents in our car.
  6. Holding a hot beverage.
  7. A handcraft project sitting in my lap.
  8. Turning on every light in the house so its doesn't feel so dark so early.
  9. Laundry warm from the dryer.
  10. Chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanksgiving Challenge: day eight and nine

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Day eight: Today I am grateful for indulgences.  Time to cuddle up under a blanket with a bowl of microwave popcorn for dinner and watching some fun dancing! Kyle Massey is one of my favorites. I can't believe those instant dances, WOW!!!  Do you have a favorite on DWTS?

Day nine: Today I am grateful for learning to play Samuel Barber's Canzone (from the second movement of the Concerto for Piano, Op. 38).  The flute's melody is haunting, moving, and breathlessly beautiful.  I LOVE the high pitched running phrase in the middle and how those low C# sound at the beginning and end of the piece.

Getting Lost in Seattle: Part three, Microsoft, Seattle Aquarium and SAM

During the plane ride Dallas had put together a list of all the things he really wanted to see and do while he was in Seattle.  Seeing where Uncle Patrick worked and the Seattle Aquarium were high up on his list.

Dallas had a great time playing on Microsoft Surface at the Microsoft Visitor Center! (Me too actually!)
Many of our friends and family are interested in seeing the Microsoft campus.  Once we had a person from Canada stop us to ask for directions as they were sightseeing.  Microsoft boasts a great visitor's center and company store.  The visitor's center offers a look back at the company's history and features some innovative products that Microsoft is developing.  Just released last Thursday is the Kinect, where you are the controller playing the video games.  Patrick and I got it on Thursday and tried it out, amazing technology and so much fun!  (Ok sorry I'm starting to sound like a Microsoft advertisement! Moving on...)

Dallas LOVES going to the aquarium, any aquarium.  So I knew he would love to see the Seattle Aquarium.  The Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59, right on Elliot Bay.  The aquarium showcases many of the sea life found in and around the Puget Sound region along with sea otters, river otters, and sea lions.

Dallas especially loved the Underwater Dome.  He could have sat there staring and photographing all those lovely fish for hours. 

Both of us were a little scared of the touch pools.  But we got brave and were able to touch some pretty neat sea cucumbers, sea stars and other cool things.

He was one of my favorites!  Just chilling out enjoying the Seattle drizzle.

After a visit through the Seattle Aquarium's gift shop we headed up for a quick peek at the Pikes Place Market to see the flying fish and

making sure that coin went in the giant piggy bank!

a visit to Rachel the pig.  The market can be a crazy place to take small kids or (wandering adults for that matter) during peak hours.  To avoid crowds I recommend going to the market first thing in the morning, during the middle of the work week, and/or last thing in the evening if you don't mind not having to much time there.

Apologies for the poor picture quality.
Next we trotted through the rain to see the Hammering Man which stands stoically in front of the Seattle Art Museum.  Dallas and his brothers know all about the Hammering Man from Larry Gets Lost in Seattle.  My sister told me that on Labor Day morning they all ran into her bedroom excitedly announcing that the Hammering Man was not hammering in Seattle today.  Labor Day is the only day of the year that the Hammering Man does not hammer away.

We had originally planned to take the Monorail over to the Space Needle but when we popped out of Pikes Place Market the rain was pretty heavy and the skies were a thick grey.  (Not the best weather for viewing from atop the Space Needle.)  Thankfully Dallas had another suggestion.  We headed into the Seattle Art Museum for a tour of the galleries.  I could tell it wasn't all that interesting to a seven year old but he did like a few of the pieces.  Like this one above titled Some/One by Do-Ho Suh

He's favorite part of the museum had to be the kid's play area that was tucked at the top of this grand staircase.  You actually don't have to pay to get into the museum to access this area!

It was so fun to watch him create this piece.  Dallas marched right up to the easel with three big markers in his two small hands and went to town.  I love that he titled and signed the piece, totally without prompting!  He gave the picture to me and I'd love to figure out a way to have it framed so it could hang somewhere prominently in our home. 

After the some drawing Dallas became a sculptor.  Creating a masterpiece with giant building blocks which he titled Sky City.  There are some interesting things going on within this wood sculpture including lots of balancing acts.  Again it was a joy to watch his mind work and create!

We headed home after another long and wonderful day getting lost in Seattle!

Some other places of interest:

Around the Seattle Aquarium:

Pikes Place Market

Food & Wine

Here's part one and two if you missed them.  Up next... a lighthouse and exploring the beach.