Monday, January 31, 2011

Month One: Days of the Week Dishtowels Finished!!!

I completed my Days of the Week Dishtowels for Embroidery Companion Sew Along Month One!!!  These seven lovelies were finished up the middle of last week as I was getting over my cold.  It was nice to curl up on the couch for a few days watching the BBC miniseries Wives and Daughters on Netflix instant and stitching away between the sniffles.
As you might be able to see I made one small change to the dishtowel set, switching Friday and Wednesdays little activities.  Usually Wednesdays are my big clean day.  Patrick takes the car into work so I'm stuck at home with my rags, mop bucket and vacuum to spend the hours away.  I dream that on Fridays I do nothing but sit with a sewing project or a bit a yarn.  This hardly ever happens but its always my goal!
I don't know about you but I didn't seem to stitch these dishtowels in day of the week order.  I happily skipped about the week in a random order.  Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do that in reality!  Saturday was the first one in my hand and the only one I actually used an embroidery hoop.  The rest I just held in my hand and stitched as you often see women doing in those Victorian movies.  The simplicity of the back stitch led itself to be out of the hoop.  However with the pillowcases next its back in the hoop for me!  (This seems like it should be riddled with metaphor but it's not.)

So the promised homemade giveaway item will be using these little granny squares.  They will be stitched up to create a little crocheted dishcloth!  Perfect to go along with the dishtowels don't you think?  To be entered into the giveaway place a comment in the original post announcing this month's pattern with a direct link to your blog post or flickr page showing your beautifully completed project.  If you do not post a link you will not be entered in the giveaway.  The winner will be randomly selected in the evening of Friday February 4th and announced here on Saturday. 

Be sure to check out the flickr group to see some beautiful completed dishtowel sets.  Thank you for stitching with me and keeping me motivated. 

PS.  I went out and bought all the beautiful embroidery floss for the pillows and am excited to get started!  And don't worry if you missed out on this month you can join in with us in February or whenever the embroidery bug bites!

Happy Stitching!!!

Side note:  I am without a internet access at home this week so Tuesday Treasures will be taking a week off.  I'll try to check in here as I can on my handy iPhone and when I make it into the library.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures: Cinnamon Toast

image via

Growing up whenever I was sick or wasn't able to sleep at night my mom made me cinnamon toast and hot chocolate.  Since I've been feeling under the weather my husband was kind enough to pick up some bread for me at the store so I could have cinnamon toast.  Amazing how a little thing can make a person somehow feel so much better!

Feel free to share your treasure by adding your link below!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

List Twenty Three: In my kitchen

Hi guys and gals!  Hope you're enjoying your weekend.  I was wanting to sleep in a little longer this morning but the alarm when off at 7:15am and I didn't manage to get back to sleep.  :(  But oh well it gives me some quiet time at the computer for a bit.  It got me thinking that I haven't done a list in awhile.  Whoops!  So without further ado...

List Twenty Three: In my kitchen

1.  Red Lentil Veggie Burgers-  I found this recipe in American Lifestyle magazine that our realtor sends us, sorry I can find a link to it anywhere for you.  It was hard work to make these but worth it I think.  Especially knowing that you can freeze them for later during those week nights when the last thing you want to do is cook.

2. Mango ketchup for said burgers which was more like a salsa I think.  And really if you decide to make the burgers don't skip out on the mango ketchup it really does add a lot.

3. Sweet Potato fries.  This was my first time making my own fries straight for the potato.  They didn't really turn out crispy like fries but they were still yummy!

4. Creamy Potato Leek Soup a standard winter soup in our house.

5.  I served these tasty biscuits up with the soup.  They made me want to try biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  Hopefully this weekend or next.

6.  Honeyed Parsnips - I got this recipe from a nutritionist so it must be good for you right!!!  Super easy too!
      3 large parsnips
      2 Tablespoons olive oil
      2 Tablespoons honey
      pinch of salt
   Part boil parsnips until tender but still firm, drain and combine parsnips and remaining ingredients in a   nonstick roasting pan and bake at 450 for 20 min. until parsnips have partially browned. 

7.  Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits!  These were a HUGE hit with me and my husband.  I see many, many goat cheese drop biscuits in my future.  Just don't touch the hot skillet with your bare hand only moments after taking it out of the oven using a hot pad.  OUCH!!! 

Now off to scour more of Joy the Baker's blog for more baked goodies!

(PS. I wish I was one of those people who could take gorgeous photographs of their food during the making process and before consuming, but I'm not.  I'm learning to be okay with that.)

What's going on in your kitchen these days?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Embroidery Companion Sew Along Month Two: Pillowcases

Storybook Pillowcases

A few of you had asked me to announce February's project a little earlier to allow for time in ordering supplies, so here you go!  Don't worry if you're not ready to start this project yet.  (I'm still plugging away on my dishtowels.  Man... is it just me or did Sunday take FOREVER to stitch!) 

I just love this little shot of Clover Meadow! 
If you can't tell by the title of this post our project for February will be the your choice of the Storybook Pillowcases or the Petal Pillowcases.  Or if you're feeling like a stitch goddess,  BOTH!  I'm going to shoot for stitch goddess status.  February is the shortest month of the year and I was thinking about joining in on Male Pattern Boldness Men's Shirt Sew Along.  The Colette pattern just arrived in the mail today!  That little sidebar to say that it will be a challenge to get both sets done but I think I'm up for it!!!

Petal Pillowcases
Quick question for you on the Petal Pillowcases, do you think I should use our last name initial on both pillowcases or go for a his and hers kind of thing?  What are you going to do?

Don't forget to post a comment with a link showcasing your beautiful dishtowels under last month's announcement in order to be eligible for the giveaway.  A similar routine will occur for February's giveaway as well.  More details on what will be given away in February later! 

Happy Stitching!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures

Beginning today I am starting a fun weekly show and tell of sorts.  Tuesdays will be treasure day here on A Simple Breath.  Every Tuesday a photo and perhaps a short accompanying story will be posted featuring a lovely little treasure that has made it's way into my life.  Tuesday's Treasures will be a small, little reflection of simple joys.  Feel free to join along with me each Tuesday by including your link below!

This is my great-grandmother, Florence's work basket.  I never had a chance to meet my great-grandmother as she passed away six months before I was born.  This work basket was the one that was with her in her final years.  I imagine her sitting there in the evening, listening to music or a program on television, quietly stitching or doing handwork of one kind or another.  This basket has many stories to share I'm sure!

My grandma inherited this work basket after her mother passed. This basket set untouched beside a recliner in my grandma's front room for the past thirty years.  I am embarrassed to say I had never even noticed it before.  And believe me when I say my grandma's was like a second home to me, it still is.  So it seems crazy to me that I never even noticed it before.  It hid in plain sight, I guess.

This Christmas my grandma gifted this lovely work basket to me and all that it contained.  How special I feel to be able to hold the things she held.  To see what little things she kept her hands busy with each quiet evening. 

Even though I never met my great-grandma she is very much part of me.  She crosses through my thoughts nearly every day.  Florence knew my mom was pregnant and was so very excited to meet me.  Her middle name became my middle name.  She left me with another gift as well...

Ok, so it's hard to tell from this poor iPhone picture but just imagine that you're seeing splotches of red on the back of my neck there.  A birthmark that I was always told was given to me by my great-grandma.  They are kisses she gave me as we passed each other in heaven.  A very sweet thought!

If you'd like to play along in this week's Tuesday's Treasures add your link below for all of us to see!

Sidebar:  For those of you doing the Embroidery Companion Sew Along stayed tuned later in the week for the announcement of February's project.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A new stitcher in our sew along!

How are your Days of the Week Dishtowels coming along? I have to admit I stalled for about a week or so on actually transferring the patterns to the dishtowels. Something about that permanent marker and transferring the lines accurately frightened me. But then I buckled down, taped the towel to the window and didn't look back.  Seriously I thought I would have hesitated just a bit when pen came to towel but nope I went full force.  They turned out wonderfully.  I felt proud of myself for climbing that little hill, silly as it may seem. 

Transferring the patterns was done in our front living room so this window faces out onto our street.  It's not a busy street by any means but I did see a few starring eyes. They're probably wondering why I had pieces of paper and towels tapped to my window.  Me too actually... must get light box!  Winter light in Washington is not the best to transfer patterns by as Alicia so exquisitely described today in her post. (PS. Don't you love, love, LOVE that little red sweater!)

Now I'm working on stitching the towel.  Miss Daisy cuddles up in my lap keeping me nice and toasty while I stitch.  Finishing is something I still working on, anyone have any tips on leaving clean little knots?  Alicia suggests running the end of thread back under the last few stitches.  Will that really hold up threw several washes these towels are sure to see?

FYI - I found this great explanation on Threadneedle Street's website on beginning the thread with a loop. You can find it under their "Helpful Hints."  For those of you in the Seattle area this is a great little shop full of all things embroidery and cross stitch.  They do mail order as well!

And by the way I know I don't say this enough but thank you for all your kind comments, it's so fun to hear from you!

Updated:  I forgot to mention about the giveaway this month.  One participant chosen at random will receive a little special handmade item from me.  To be entered into the giveaway place a comment in the original post announcing this month's pattern with a direct link to your blog post or flickr page showing your beautifully completed project.  If you do not post a link you will not be entered in the giveaway.  Happy Stitching!!!

Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

In A Word

Susannah's was the first place I saw regarding using a word to symbolize what you might want to see manifest in the year ahead in lieu of the traditional New Years resolutions.  I actually saw it last year but was intimidated to only have ONE word for a WHOLE year.  Can a person really do that?  It was enlightening to see over the course of the year how Susannah's word unfolded for her.  This year after seeing this "word" idea pop up in a few other places like here.  I decided to give it a go myself.

I sat a pondered this idea of finding a word that could sustain itself through a course of a year.  One word that could propell me to dig deeper, stretch farther and grow.  I bobbled a few words in my head for awhile but nothing felt right.  At the moment when I'd given up finding a word, it found me.


Invigorate verb [prob. French. in- + vigor] (1646): to give life and energy to: ANIMATE; also SIMULATE

Since invigorate means in~vigor let's also look at the definition of vigor.

Vigor noun [Middle English vigour, from Latin vigor from vigere to be vigorous] 1: active bodily or mental strength or force 2: active healthy well-balanced growth 3: intensity of action or effect : FORCE

To be honest I'm a little daunted by this word ~ invigorate.  It's a big challenge for me to be active, strong, giving life and energy to all the areas in my life.  But I think I can do it.  The Little Engine That Could comes to mind.  "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."  Hopefully at the end of the year I'll be saying, "I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could!"

I heard a story about a Norwegian man who made his own set of wood skis.  First he found some beautiful, strong wood and carved it to a nice point at one end.  He then built a hot fire, gently placed clamps over the pointed end of the ski and ever so carefully began to bend the front of the ski over those hot, hot coals.  Slowly, almost imperceptibly he bent that wood into position.  Had he tired to bend it in one instant the wood would have split in two.  This is what I must remember, don't try to change everything all at once you'll only end up beating yourself.  Consistent energy over time will create the change.

Here's to invigorate in 2011!