Mark that book

May 26, 2009

Friday was the last day of work for one of my coworkers who is moving away (probably driving to her new home right now). I made her a bookmark as her “goodbye” present. Bookmarks are easily my favorite gift to make for my friends and family. They are personal and practical, and combine 2 of my favorite activities – stitching and reading (if only I could find a way to do them both at the same time)

Ashley

I think it is so much fun to pick out just the right colors and fonts for each person.The precut bookmarks I use are from Michaels, and come in quite a few colors (red, blue, green, pink, beige…?). Best of all they’re affordable ($1.20) but the final product looks like so much more!

Throughout the years I have made many bookmarks for friends and family, and below I’ll share just a few of them

bookmark GBookmark CMbookmark MRBookmark KJBookmarksbookmarks jade kim 2

Quick tip: Stitch a line or two of white on the top and bottom of the precut bookmarks. This helps stop the fraying that comes from years of use and love.

Quick tip 2: Keep track of who you have made bookmarks for, using pictures or lists. This year I made bookmarks for my family for the holidays, and my sister-in-law reminded me that I had made her a bookmark before. Whoops! And, of course, I didn’t take a picture of her bookmark this year either, so I’m likely to do it again. Good thing she reads a lot!

My friend made me a bookmark as a college graduation gift 2 years ago (wow, it’s been a little over 2 years already!) I use it every day, and think of my friend each time I do. I hope others enjoy my bookmarks as much as I enjoy this one!

My Bookmark

(and for those of you who are curious, my current read is Seed to Harvest, by Octavia Butler)

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Wonderful Wedding

May 25, 2009

On Saturday, I attended the wedding of a girl who I went to HS with, as the date of a mutual friend. I had not seen the bride since she graduated (8 years ago?), and it was so much fun to catch up with some kids who I went to high school with…..with whom I went to high school.

I have to say, this wedding was my ideal — fabulous food and company! Now, some readers may have been wondering what happened to the food portion of this food/needlepoint blog. Well, I’ve been trying to do the Nutrisystem diet for the past few months, so I didn’t want to bore you all with pictures of my (surprisingly tasty) prepackaged foods, but on Saturday we went ALL OUT! This wedding features a 10 course meal, not counting the passed appetizers and desserts!

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The appetizers included sushi, egg rolls, and bbq beef skewers. I only had an egg roll and passed on the others, knowing that a 10-course meal was coming.

The food came out one dish at a time over the course of 3 hours. The plates were all family style, but servers would come around give each person at the table a small portion. I tried all but one of the dishes, and they were all fantastic! I also tried to snap pictures, but I was often too caught up in the moment…

Course 1: Lobster Salad – This salad actually didn’t have any greens. It consisted of fresh cubed cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple with large pieces of lobster in what I think was a mayonnaise-y dressing. Although I’m not a typically huge fan of lobster, I really appreciated how light and refreshing the melon was to start the meal.

Course 2: Roasted Suckling Pig and Cold Cuts – Yum! The roasted pig skin was deliciously crispy — probably my favorite item of the night! The bright red item on the plate was a whole baby octopus. I was the only one at the table brave enough to try it, and I actually liked it. It just tasted like calamari, so if you can get over the fact that you can really see what you are eating, it’s pretty delicious. There was also cold-cut meat (that I couldn’t identify but was pretty good) and a salad of jellyfish and cabbage (tasted a bit like kim-chee to me, but it was probably just the fact that it was cured cabbage). This was also my first time trying jellyfish, and it had in interesting jelly texture — no surprise — but was otherwise very mild in flavor. It’s probably not something I would go out of my way to have again, but it was fun to try!

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Course 3: Baked Scallop with Seafood in Birds Nest – I picked a bit at this course. The seafood was mostly shrimp, which is not my favorite. As you may be starting to realize, shellfish is not my favorite. I don’t love shrimp or lobster, and I think I’m allergic to crab. The baked scallop was really exciting though, baked with a creamy sauce and covered in cheese.

Course 4: Dried Scallop with Vegetables – This was delicious. There were many scallops resting on top of a bed of greens. The scallops were delicious, and I think the vegetable underneath may have been my favorite of the night — though I wish I could identify what it was! It tasted and looked a bit like spinach, but each leave had a long stem. Whatever it was, it was GOOD!

Course 5: T-bone steak – This steak was cut into bite-sized pieces and then breaded and fried. I only has a small taste (already starting to get full and only half-way done!), but the crispy coating was really interesting with the meat.

Course 6: Shark Fin Soup with Crab Meat – I was so excited for this dish, and yet so nervous about it. I’ve always wanted to try shark fin soup, but my mild allergy to crab made me approach this cautiously. I took a small taste and then decided not to push my luck because I was having too much fun to get sick! The soup base itself had a texture much like egg-drop soup, but the crab and other fish in soup obviously gave it a different flavor. I thought it was good, but not worth getting sick and missing out on the rest of the evening!

Course 7: Abalone and Sea Cucumber with Oyster Sauce – This was by FAR the dish I was most excited about. I have seen Sea Cucumber on TV so many times and wanted to try it, but had never had the opportunity before. The two fish were served over bok choy. Sea Cucumber has a really gelatinous texture that was very interesting. The weird thing about it was the taste reminded me of my grandfather’s potato kugel (the loaf version of a potato latke or pancake). I think this is because the sauce had an onion flavor and the sea cucumber flavor reminded me a bit of potato. Very strange. Again not something I would go out of my way to have again, but I am SO THRILLED that I got to try it!!!!!!! And, abalone is pretty delicious, too.

(in the picture below, the sea cucumber is on the right and the abalone is on the left)

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Course 8: Hong Kong Style Crispy Fried Chicken – This was actually the one course I didn’t taste. With so many new and exciting foods to try, I wasn’t as excited by the fried chicken, though reports were that it was delicious!

Course 9: Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions – While I am awful at identifying the type of fish, I can say that it was excellent! The fish was brought to the table whole and the server helped us pull the meat off of the bones. The meat was perfectly flaky and moist. Yum

Course 10: Braised E-Fu Noodles/Seafood Fried Rice – Cheater! This was actually an 11-course meal, because these were 2 separate dishes. Though I didn’t taste the fried rice, the noodles were easily my favorite item of the night. I actually took home the leftovers of the noodles and can’t wait to have them for dinner!

Dessert: Red Bean Soup – I love red bean. It’s so delicious as an ice cream flavor or mochi filling. I had never had it as soup before, but it did not disappoint. The soup was served hot with tiny tapioca pearls. It was actually not very sweet at all, but the preparation brought out the wonderful mild sweetness of the red bean.

Dessert parts 2-4: With the dessert they also brought out a plate of sliced melon and pineapple, as well as a plate of cookies (sesame and…another kind I didn’t try). There was also of course wedding cake. Their cake was vanilla with a butter cream frosting and fruit used as a decoration. The cake was displayed throughout the night in 5 tiers on individual pedestals in a spiral arrangement. Very pretty, and most importantly, very tasty!!!!!

Overall – WOW!!!!! This was easily one of the most fun meals of my life. The great company and fabulous celebration made this a fantastic occasion. And the food…oh my…delicious and adventurous — what more could you ask for??

Congrats again to the bride and groom!!!


Wow!

May 24, 2009

I am so touched by the thoughtful response I received from Chilly Hollow Needlepoint. I saw on her blog that she added fingers to her adorable Golden Rabbit using a bullion stitch. This stitch is one of the ones that has been plaguing me for my second dragon, as it’s in my stitch guide but I can’t figure out how to get it right. I posted a comment asking for tips on the bullions and she thoughtfully replied back with some suggestions. Then this morning I was blown away by her long, detailed post with several tips for bullions. I am completely floored by her response to my questions. Thanks so much!!!! I will definitely be practicing my bullions this weekend!

dragon3 head 052409

I’ve been working on the head portion of my dragon in 3 parts. Since last time, I’ve stitched the ear (satin stitch) and the face (continental). I also stitched the eye in a black satin stitch. I covered over the dot the artist had left in the middle of the eye and plan on adding a bead later. I haven’t picked out the bead yet, but there’s a wonderful beading store in town that I look forward to visiting!

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Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!


About Face

May 17, 2009

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I started the head of the dragon a few days ago. As you can see in this picture, I did a vine stitch around the body and to outline the head. I used the medium blue around the body and under the head, the dark blue for the facial features, and the medium wrapped with the dark for the top of the head. I continued the rickrack pattern through the body, and the horn is a simple continental. My current plan is to stitch the ear in long stitches going bottom R to top L (backwards), then do the face in continental. The spikes will be the same as in the tail. Still not sure about the eyelashes or underbelly, but hopefully that will come to me while I stitch the other parts.

In other news, I joined the American Needlepoint Guild. I absolutely cannot wait until their next cyberworkshop opens up. It will be my first workshop like that, and as you know, I love hearts!


Tailspin

May 13, 2009

I finished the tail!!!!!! Well, maybe…

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This is the (maybe) finished tail — taken with poor lighting. I stitched what looks like a woven pattern into the dark blue. Though it’s a little silly in the very small sections, the other 2 parts of the dragon have large sections of the dark blue, so I like that this pattern will work for both

dragon3 tail closeup on darl

Now, the reason why I’m not sure if the tail is really finished or not is that I decided to try backstitching over the diagonals in the scale pattern. I started a small section, and I just can’t decide if it adds or detracts from what was there before.

dragon3 tail with backstitching

In the photo above, the backstitching is on the left side under the spikes. It’s very subtle in the picture. I chose to stitch it with one strand of the medium blue used for the vine stitch boarders. So, here’s my question: Should I continue with the backstitching?

I also need to figure out what to do with the background, but that will have to wait until I decide how to finish the piece (3 pillows, or one framed piece with a mountain drawn onto the matte, or another way someone wants to suggest??).

Any suggestions/voting backstitching or finishing would be greatly appreciated!


Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2009

(for those of you who, like my mom, read the ends of books first, here is a picture of the finished project I will be talking about today)

house finished

.Today we celebrated Mother’s Day for the third time (taking Mom out last Sat, dinner with my grandmother and family on Friday, and now today!) My family met for lunch at my grandmother’s assisted living facility, where they held a nice brunch for us all. Though the food left something to be desired, the company was great.

While I was there, I was FINALLY about to snap some photos of the other needlepoint my grandmother and I stitched together. This was the last piece she purchased before she got sick, and she had not started it.

Although I didn’t snap  true “before” picture, here is one pretty early on in the process. Please note that this picture was taken through my iMac, so it’s mirror image and blurry.

Photo 18

While the quality is not the best, I did take pictures in small intervals while I was stitching this piece, so (if this works right) the gallery below will show the progression

As you can see, I took a lot of liberaties with patterns and colors. I know I changed a lot, but I love the colors of the final product. I’m a huge fan of blues and purples, so the chairs and pillows now suit my tastes a little better.

house finished

And of course a few close-ups. I tried to make a tile-like design in the floor. The table cloth is a gorgeous over-dyed thread that was really fun to work with.

bottom left closeup

And here you can see the French Knot flowers (my first time trying a French Knot!), the textured walls, blue and green over-dyed vase, and the most important CK MK in the corner sky.

top left closeup

My grandmothers has been found in her room looking at this picture, so like to think that means she approves of how I finished her piece 🙂

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!!


Blurry, backwards, and blue

May 7, 2009

I forgot my camera at work again, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to share the progress I made on my dragon tail! So, here is a picture taken with Photobooth – low quality and mirror image, but it’s better than nothing right?

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I finished up the scales with the same rickrack pattern, then continued the major zig-zag pattern in the tip of the tale. I’m very pleased with the results!!

I also stitched the silver spiked in a simple continental. Simple, easy, and shiny!

Plan tonight: brainstorm patterns for the dark blue webbing between the spikes. Any suggestions?

In the non-needlepointing world — Courtney of The Hungry Yogini is having a Lipton Tea Giveaway. I enjoy my 16oz of tea each morning, so if you’re like me you should definitely check it out!