>Learning to cook again…

>I married a man who cooks. He cooks marvelous things with rich sauces, lots of pasta and lots of things that go over rice. I learned to cook when I was younger but I cooked for 10 or more which is a lot different than cooking for 2 to 4 people and I learned to make lots of casseroles which feed many people for little money. My husband detests casserole.

I loved the way my grandmother cooked. I loved to eat at her house. Most of the food was grown in the back yard by my grandfather. She would cook potatoes, carrots and onions together and they were wonderful. The only spices I ever saw her use were salt and pepper. I don’t remember her serving anything with sauce but she did teach me how to make gravy from the drippings of a roast.
As I look at our budget, I keep thinking we should eat out less and eat at home more. I reached this conclusion at the same time DH decided he was going on a strict weight loss program. He feels it will be best if he doesn’t spend anymore time in the kitchen. So for the first time in 24 years, it will be up to me to cook and cook in a way that fits the dietary needs he will have along with feeding two teenage boys.
Which brings me back to my grandmother. She would cook with lots of vegetables and very little meat. There was protein at the meals but only a small portion for each person. If anyone wanted more, there were vegetables to fill up on. In my mother’s house the filler for meals was bread. My mother makes wonderful sweet breads full of sugar and slathered with butter and homemade jams and jellies.
It’s been a long time since I tried to cook. Last week I made North Carolina Red Rice because I had sausage and tomatoes and it looked easy. It wasn’t. DH said my big mistake was adding more wild grain rice halfway through the cooking time. Needless to say, there were crunchy parts. He salvaged it a few days later by using the leftovers as the base for a sauce in which he baked chicken. The boys loved it. I’m envious of people who can through together a dinner with what they have in the house. It’s never been a priority before but it’s time I learned how.
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>Letting the subconscious out to play…

>I’m doing better this time around keeping in touch with people who helped me with my job search. I stopped in to visit the group that Mary Cosgrove runs because she announced she was doing Dream Boards and mine desperately needed updating. I should explain that believe strongly in Dream Boards although I do dream boards a bit differently than many people. I get a large selection of magazines from second hand shops or the library. Then without really looking, I grab a magazine and just flip through and rip out pages. I ended up grabbing Architectural Digest, a Pottery Barn catalog and Fasttrack. After I had my ripped out pages, I cropped and arranged and then pasted. It’s not until things are glued in place that I stop to think about what the poster says. I have a lot of rooms with beach views, a house in the mountains, two bookshelves, a stack of furs throws, a commercial refrigerator with the line – It’s what’s inside that matters, and the eBay logo from a headline surrounding a huge garage door.

The door symbolizes opportunity and change. The one thing that hits me every morning though is a headline from a Fasttrack ad – They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But what if it’s broke and you don’t know it?
I’ve been pondering the line and trying to decide if it refers to my life or if it refers to analyst jobs that I should be looking for so I’m not bored to death at work.

>One week progress…

>Just so you know, I did not complete my January goal on Winter today but I came pretty dang close!

I was thinking that I could spend one week each month on the horses but Winter is going to get some extra days this month. I finished the netting but I have the metallic backstitching to finish, backstitching the leaves and adding the beads still to do. Then it’s on to the Fall horse. I did get all my threads onto a single ring and I’m missing 2 colors for Summer.
So my goal for Summer is completed. I’ve done the color conversion and I’ve even pulled the threads and bought bars. I want to put some stitching into Spring before I mount Summer if only because I have this horrid fear that I’ll somehow mix them up if I have the two blank fabrics up on bars.
And as for progress on my other goals, I only used the elevator once – I accidentally left my keys to the staircase in my office when I went to lunch with DH so I had to ride the elevator up after lunch. Not bad for a whole week of work.

>A picture frame with instructions?

>For Christmas my kids gave me a digital picture frame. Here I am 3 weeks after Christmas and the only pictures on my frame are the ones that came pre-loaded on the frame. I have it plugged in. I know where the port is to plug in the USB drive to load pictures on the frame but I haven’t loaded anything. I’ve thought about it once or twice. Today I thought about it even more as we visited with the Aunt that my kids call Grandma. Aunt Dorothy has taken the south wall of the family room and put up family pictures.

I’ve never been big at putting up family pictures. We take them every year and some years they even get printed. I have some candids of my kids on my hard drive but the majority of my .jpg files are stitching and crafting pictures. Yet even then I’m not current on those either. I finished the 100 project challenge over a week ago and my credenza is still filled with projects waiting to have their picture taken.
I also have several rolls of film to be developed – none of them Kodachrome – including a roll of Elph film that I’m not sure anyone still develops. The sad part is the Elph roll is my trip to San Jose when I visited Whizgidget and the Winchester House. There is a parquet floor in the Winchester house that would make a really cool quilt and the pictures are trapped in the camera. I have a bad habit when it comes to pictures – I take them and then that’s it. I’m married to a photographer and after I shoot a picture, I give the film to him for development and printing. I have many strips of negatives. I have proof sheets. I have been offered lessons in how to print if I want actual prints and that’s where it stops. I have a digital printer. I have a photo frame with an instruction booklet.
I still don’t have any pictures…

>Setting Goals for the New Year….

>I don’t like New Year’s resolutions but I do like taking time each quarter to review my goals and see where I am. 2010 was the year of survival mode. I don’t think I really did much in the way of goals beyond living day to day and just surviving.

So now that I have some breathing space, it’s time to look around and figure out what direction to go and what steps to take to get there.
I have hobby goals for this year –
1. One thread a day in the carousel horses – more if time permits.
So now to look at other areas –
Environmental – 15 to 20 minutes of house cleaning every day after work. Try to get rest of the family to join in.
Financial – Continue to work on the Debt Snowball.
Social – Blog at least once a week. Try to meet at least one new person a week.
Physical – no more elevators – It’s only 4 flights up to work, even that much exercise will make a difference, Get back to a dance class.
Spiritual – read at least 15 minutes of holy writ (not just my religion but others as well), spend some time each week listening to silence.
Academic – read at least one classic from the great classics on my Nookcolor or on my shelf each month
Sounds ambitious but do-able.

>2011 – The Year of the TW Carousel Horses

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Back in 2000 I discovered the Teresa Wentzler bulletin board. I had completed all of the rocking horses and Fantasy sampler. I was working on Fruit Bell Pull and Dragon Ride. I had purchased all the Seasonal Carousel Horses and had dreams of doing them on the same fabric. Thanks to someone on the board, I ended up with enough 40 ct fabric to do all four. 40ct meant that it had to be stitched with a single strand so all those great TW blends needed to become a single strand, which I did by converting the DMC colors to Anchor.
A good friend I’d met on the TWBB worked a trade and I sent her about 2 pounds of DMC and she gridded the fabric for me. I got it back and started Winter and that’s about as far as it’s gone. In Ten years, this is my progress –
Summer hasn’t been touched. I haven’t even done the color conversion.

Spring has been color converted but it hasn’t been started. I did put the fabric up on grid bars though.Autumn was started in February 2010 as part of the stitching Olympics.
And with 10 years of work on it, here is Winter.

In the last few years, my eyesight has reached the point where I can’t stitch without a magnifier or at least magnifying glasses. It’s made me realize that if I’m going to finish these, I need to do them soon. If these were solid like an HAED pattern there would be 50,000 stitches in each one. That means, if I hadn’t started any of them, I could finish all of them if I did 550 stitches every day. I will settle for putting at least one strand a day into at least one of the carousel Horses every day this year. And so begins the year of the TW Carousel Horses. I have a goal to post progress pics each month, if I don’t post them – email me?

>The 100 project challenge…7/1/07 to 1/1/11

>So back in 2007, I became overwhelmed by the amount of unfinished projects I had laying around and the only person I knew with as much stash and ongoing projects was Terry from the Yuku boards. So we talked a little and came up with the 100 project challenge: No buying any new patterns until 100 items on our lists were finished. We started on 7/1/07. Terry was finished in about 18 months. Going into this, I figured it would take me 4 years. I’ve finished ahead of schedule.

Today I put the last stitches into Bent Creek’s Ocean Voyage and that’s it. 100 projects completed since 7/1/07. Now, not all of them were on the list when I started but none of them were patterns I went out and purchased. I had them all in stash at the time of the start of the challenge or they were obligation pieces which cropped up afterward. It’s kept me focused on finishing and it’s been interesting to see how things changed in my life over the last 3.5 years.
One thing I changed was the way I list my projects. The active project list is only projects which actually have stitches in them – – Nothing kitted, no patterns I’m in lust with, no painted canvases without stitching on them – those all have their own pages in the workbook now.
My rotation page has a calculation of what type of projects I should be working on based on the ratio of the number of unfinished projects in that category. I can’t say I work on them in order but at least I’m aware of them.
I also realized that I don’t have to finish everything. It’s okay to give something away when I’m no longer in love with it.
I’ve also decided I will no longer stitch or quilt for people who do not appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to make things. For example, I will never again make anything by hand for the person who told someone I was “cheap” for making things instead of buying them. I know she has no clue the cost of the materials on the quilts and ornaments I’ve made in the past for her. Not to mention the cost of my time and as such, she will not value what I’ve done and knowing her, my heirloom quality projects will end up in a 2nd hand shop or on her eBay auctions listed at .01 starting bid.
I finish things in clusters. I’ll see something which inspires me and I’ll run home and work on projects for several weeks and then I’ll lose interest or I should say something else will catch my eye and I’m off chasing that wild hare.
Quilting is going to sit for awhile since the politics of the local quilting guilds has left me with a desire to never walk in a quilt shop again; let alone look at any of my existing projects. – and that’s enough said on the topic.
Now on to the future…. I have a new wild hare in mind I’ll blog about later.