Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where am I getting all these ornaments?

A couple of people have asked for the origins of some of the ornaments I have stitched recently.

The cat is from "101 Christmas Minis Book 2" which is Leisure Arts
The sleigh ride and mouse with cookies is from "The Big Book of Christmas Quickies" also Leisure Arts

I normally post the source in the caption of the picture in the Picasa album, FYI.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Another Ornament

I finished stitching another ornament.  It was a lot simpler than the last one but I'm not sure how I'm going to finish it yet.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

On Budgeting and Stuff

So, with us being on unemployment and all, we've had to cut costs on stuff.  But there are still some things that we refuse to buy the cheap stuff on.  Why?  Because it ends up not being cost effective if you do.  I'll give you a few examples.

The first was on onion soup mix.  I have several recipes that call for the dry onion soup mix.  I normally get Lipton's recipe secrets.  One time, I got the generic store brand.  My recipe did not taste the same.  It's no wonder.  If you look at the stuff in the package, the Lipton's has actual dehydrated onions in it.  The store brand was just all powder.  Not worth the couple cents of savings.

One time my husband was making peach cobbler.  He got a can of generic peach pie mix at Wal-Mart.  It was mostly syrup with little peaches and didn't fill the pan so he needed a second can.  So, he went to Albertson's and got the national brand.  It was all peaches with very little syrup.  Again, not worth the couple cents of savings.

Now, to be fair, sometimes the generic stuff is good but it depends on which store's generic brand.  We have found that the Wal-Mart "Great Value" is generally anything but.  We've tried their spaghetti sauce and found it lacking.  Kroger, on the other hand, has a generic spaghetti sauce that we like even better than Prego or Ragu and most of the time it's 10 for $10 so it's cheap.

I also have been converted to King Arthur flour.  It just seems to work better than Gold Medal even though it's more expensive.

On the other hand, last time I made lasagna, I tried these more expensive imported noodles because they were on sale.  I found no difference between them and Barilla so I won't be getting those again.

The non-food item that we're picky on is dishwashing liquid.  We used to get the cheapo Wal-Mart stuff.  But it didn't clean the dishes the first time so we'd have to run them again.  Waste of water.  We switched to the Finish tabs and got clean dishes every time.  One week when we were short on money we tried the Ajax tabs.  Didn't clean nearly as well, so we stick to Finish because it saves us in extra water.  On a side note, we don't notice a difference between the regular and the Platinum Finish tabs.  Also, you don't have to worry about trying to get the last bit of liquid out of the bottle which is an impossible task generally.

So, is there anything you refuse to skimp on?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Some more ornaments

This is definitely turning into the "Year of the Ornament" (at least for me).  And I managed to finish up two this weekend.

I've gained like 14 or so more followers from this weekend's even so... Whoo hoo!

You may recall that this was finished a week ago but I finally got the cording for the edges from SCRAP

I stitched this on 18 ct to shrink it down to manageable size.  It's actually 70x70 stitches

The back of the ornament is all me.  "Sleigh Ride" the song kept going through my head as I was stitching so I put it on the back.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grow Your Blog Party!

Hi, welcome to my blog those of you joining me for the Grow Your Blog Party!  My name is Joy and I started blogging back in the fall of 2009.  I got married in February 2009 and packed up everything and moved to Texas from Wisconsin leaving all my friends and family behind.  My husband and I were expecting our first child but we were working opposite shifts at a call center to accommodate his teenage daughter from a previous marriage so we didn't have to leave her alone and could transport her to and from school.  I was feeling a bit sad and depressed so I would sit around cross stitching and loom knitting while watching tv on Hulu because my husband was never home when I was.  I joined a cross stitch group on Yahoo and soon started this blog.  It's really got me through some difficult times.

I was laid off June 2012 and at that time I decided to start designing my own cross stitch.  I don't have a lot of designs but they are all free at the moment and you can visit my second blog at  I also have a cooking blog that I rarely use as well.

The topics of conversation on this blog generally are:

  • Cross stitch
  • Loom Knitting
  • Book's I've Read

I predict stitching will slow down once I start graduate school which should be this summer.  But being unemployed, I've had more stitching time than usual.  At the moment, I'm working on making one ornament per year for each of my daughters.  The biggest challenge is my stepdaughter who is 15 as I'm having to catch up on 15 ornaments.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

More Ornaments for the Box

I've been working on two more ornaments for the box.  One of them has all the stitching completed but just needs to be sewn up and finished.  The other I started yesterday.

This one will be finished as a stocking.  I just need to choose a backing fabric and possible cording for the edges.

 I'm stitching this on 18 ct. to shrink down the size of this as it's 70x70 stitches.  I wasn't sure how I was going to finish it but I think I will put some of the words to the song "Sleigh Ride" on the back and fray the edges.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ornament Box Project

So, I've said it before on the blog that I want to make each of my daughters a box with ornaments from each Christmas they were alive.  I've also extended this to include my stepdaughter and  since her mother is a bit of a deadbeat, I've decided to go back and do all her Christmases, all 15 of them!  That's a lot of ornaments.  I got my first one done.  I'm not exactly doing them in order so this is the 2002 ornament.

She would have been 5 in 2002 so I'm trying to keep the ornaments age appropriate for each year.

The only exception is the first Christmas which is actually 3 ornaments: a nativity scene ornament to commemorate their first Christmas with the first Christmas, a baptism ornament and a birth sampler ornament.  The baptism ornament I designed myself and you can find the pattern for free on my Sola Scriptura Needlework blog (click the page link above).  I'm not quite satisfied with my birth sampler yet so I haven't stitched any but it should be coming soon.

The other exception for Emily is this year where I'm doing an ornament to commemorate her confirmation.

I've created an album for each daughter to track their ornament progress.  So far, Adèle is winning.

Friday, January 11, 2013

So, I'm not going to graduate school and some flu advice

Well, after going into full panic mode today, I'm not going to graduate school.  UNT accepted me too late to get in anything for approval with TAA so I have a waiver until June so I'm shooting for summer session or Maymester now.  Takes a bit of a load off but now I have to take the GRE.

Also, Parsley posted on her blog a bit about the flu and remedies.  I was generally religious about getting my flu shot every year.  It was a very good idea in college (dorm life and all) and T-Mobile actually had on site flu clinics for free to encourage everyone to get one (because call centers are close quarters and all).  I didn't get one this year because I don't have insurance and I can't afford the extra at the moment.

I hadn't had the flu since high school until last year.  It was really weird.  I woke up with vomiting and then broke out in a rash so we rushed to Care Now for urgent care because my doctor couldn't see me that day. After a few tests, they discovered that I had the flu and I was given Zofran for the vomiting and Tamiflu to help with the symptoms.  I'd always been a bit skeptical about Tamiflu and it's really pricey ($45 with insurance) but I was almost back to normal the next day.  Turns out that if you had the flu shot and still got the flu, you got the odd symptoms that I had.  So, I encourage anyone who thinks they have the flu or has family members with the flu to look into Tamiflu since I've seen how well it works.  But you have to act quickly.

Oh, and my husband got me a light up frog that floats around the bathtub and changes colors.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ornament Finish

I finished Adèle's ornament for 2012.  It's Pooh because she loves Pooh (and bounces up and down on the couch through both movies).

Friday, January 4, 2013

A really nice Kindle series

Like I said a few posts ago, I've been getting some free books off Kindle.  I found this series that I actually really like.  It's definitely a "chick" series and more of a romantic comedy but it's clean for once.  No language.  No sex scenes.  Kind of refreshing actually.  I got the first three books.  There is a fourth book but I can't afford it right now unless the author offers it for free sometime soon but it's definitely on my to read list.

Always the Baker Never the Bride (Emma Rae Creations, #1)Always the Baker Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very fun read about a diabetic baker named Emma who starts working at The Tanglewood, a historic hotel that is trying to become a wedding destination.  The story was very funny and I especially loved the character of Fee, Emma's Goth assistant.  I also actually made the Devonshire cream from the recipe and it actually was good so I might try the other recipes.

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride (Emma Rae Creations, #2)Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the sequel as much as the first book.  The characters had chemistry and I appreciate that even though it's a romantic comedy "chick" book, it's clean.  Kinda refreshing.  In the follow up to the first book, The Tanglewood needs a wedding planner and Sherylin, Emma's college roommate gets the job.  She's getting ready for her own wedding, that is if she doesn't keep losing the dress.  To top that off, a drunk Australian lands in the middle of  the breakfast table.  Highly entertaining.

Always the Designer, Never the BrideAlways the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started reading this book second on accident and it wasn't making much sense until I read the second book first (for obvious reasons).  When I finally got things straightened out, this book was a lot more enjoyable.

We start with Carly (who we met briefly last book) who is having a formal wedding at The Tanglewood (she's already married but got married at the courthouse so this is the formal wedding).  Her best friend, Audrey, who is an up and coming wedding dress designer, comes in from New York.  But things don't always go smoothly...

I liked this book as much as the first two but I can't afford book 4 right now so I'll guess I'll have to wait to finish things off.  The only thing I don't like about the sequels is that Emma is not as prominent although the characters of Sherylynn and Audrey are well written.  I just like Emma a bit better.  It is nice to read a romantic comedy that's clean.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Blog Hop #14 Looking back in 2012

Hi everyone. To make my blog new for 2013, I decided to finally update the layout.  Or at least the background.  Hope you like it.

Today's blog hop prompt is:

What was your biggest stitching accomplishment in 2012? 
What was your favorite stash acquisition in 2012 and will you be using it in 2013?

Well, definitely, my biggest accomplishment was the Whitework Sampler

I had several stash acquisitions.  Most of them came from SCRAP.  The one I'm most excited about is the HAED that I won at the beginning of December.  I don't think I will get around to stitching it at all this year.  Especially not with graduate school.

Hope to be guest blogging again soon.  Working on my topic.

Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.