Friends, despite some freezing rain and snow on Tuesday morning, it’s been a delightfully sunny and warm week. We’ve even gotten above freezing a time or two! The birds have been busy at our window feeder, the cats have been frolicking in the house, and I’ve been soaking up the sunshine with a warm cup of tea in hand. Spring is coming!
Despite spring’s approach, we’re clearly still steeped in winter because the Winter Olympics started last Friday. I love watching athletes at the top of their game; it is so inspiring! I consider the olympics a special occasion and watch way more television than I typically do and enjoy every second of it. I especially love all the technology we have these days: we can record absolutely every televised event and replay whatever we want. We can pause if we need to take a break, rewind if we want to rewatch something, and fast forward through all the commercials. Goodness, we are so lucky to be alive right now! I have lots of thoughts about social media and how much pressure we’ve put on our olympians these last few cycles, but I’ll spare you (for now, at least).
I’m also all caught up on the second season of All Creatures Great and Small. I was excited to watch it but hesitant. I was worried that 1) it wouldn’t be as good as the first season; 2) I was in a weird mental space and wouldn’t enjoy it; and 3) I wasn’t smart enough for it (as I worry with all Masterpiece shows). Friends, if you are waiting to watch All Creatures Great and Small for any of those reasons, then wait no more. The second season is pure perfection. This show is comforting, beautiful, funny, and hopeful. I’m looking forward to sneaking away from the Super Bowl on Sunday night and watching the next episode as it airs with a cup of chamomile at the ready.
It’s been challenging to cross stitch and watch all of this television! I should really switch over to a knitting project while watching the games, but am loving all of these tiny x’s too much to do that. And remember when I said that I can rewind and rewatch anything that I missed? I’ll risk annoying you by repeating it: we’re so lucky to be alive right now!
I’ve been playing with the tension in my stitches and am paying close attention to how to make them lay nice and flat. It’s been a challenge for me, but one that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve stopped stitching in hand (cross stitching without any sort of hoop or frame) and have switched over to a q-snap frame to see if that helps. My stitches are still imperfect and that’s okay… but I’d still like to get better!
Winter Rose Manor has gotten a lot of attention in the last few weeks. I recently shared that I ran out of thread for the house, so I’ve moved on a bit and have been able to finish the door, front steps, and roof. Now I’m filling in the windows. Next week will be flowers!! And bring on all of the pink and red houses because I’m in love with them.
Consider the Lilies is my Sunday Stitch. It’s on 28 count linen, which takes some getting used to after the 36 counts I’ve been stitching on. The pattern calls for one strand of floss for each stitch. I tried that on the tree (the brown bit on the far right in this picture) and didn’t like the fill at all. So when I got down to the text, I tested 2 strands to see what it would look like. Much better. The problem, of course, is that I’ll go through twice as much as thread.
I’m strongly considering picking out all of these stitches and ordering a 36 count piece of linen. That will mean starting over but I’ve only put 3 or 4 evenings of work into this project, which is a tiny fraction of the whole project. I’m only halfheartedly working on it because of all of my doubts, which is a shame!
Annie Bayliss will look familiar because I haven’t worked on her at all since I last shared a picture. My needles are all too big for the tiny stitches in the pattern, so I’m waiting for new ones to arrive. I’m hoping they’ll be here next week! I keep going to Joann’s and Michael’s to see if, by some miracle, they’ll start stocking smaller tapestry needles. No luck yet. I still hope to finish this by June of 2022, which is when the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee are scheduled to end. It’s already February, so I better get to work!
ON MY BOOKSHELF THIS WEEK:
One of my goals this year was to read more BIG, sweeping sagas. Kristin Lavransdatter was the exact book I had in mind when I made that decision.
I’m listening on audio because that’s my strategy when a book intimidates me. It’s 45 hours, so will likely take me several weeks to finish. I’m just a couple of hours into it right now and am happy to report that it’s approachable and compelling. Phew!
Just a tiny snapshot: it’s set in fourteenth century Norway and follows the protagonist, Kristin, throughout her life. This saga is often broken up into three smaller novels: The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross. It was originally published in Norway in the 1920s and it won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!
IN MY KITCHEN:
I’m still trying to keep meal planning front and center. I’ve started sharing my weekly menu here to keep me motivated to cook at home and to share some yummy recipes with all of you. As always, please feel free to share any of your favorite recipes in the comments. I’m always in desperate need of inspiration!
Saturday: Spaghetti with Arrabiata sauce + salad (I made a giant pot of sauce over the summer from our tomatoes and basil in the garden, then froze it in Ziploc bags. This was a refreshing taste of summer in the dead of winter!)
Sunday: Spicy Peanut Butter Tofu (I printed off my recipe from Instagram a couple of years ago and can’t find the post to share a link. The recipe I linked looks exactly the same. I double it to use a full block of tofu.)
Tuesday: Black beans and quinoa bowls. We have this dish at least twice a month. This time I added two cups of corn that we roasted and froze from the garden. Perfection!
Wednesday: Fish sticks and curly fries. If you’re keeping track, this is two weeks in a row that we’ve had fish sticks!
Thursday: Creamy Italian Chicken + rice + green beans (frozen from the garden). I cook this in the crockpot and do it differently than the recipe. I put everything in but the cream cheese (and omit the corn entirely) and cook on high for 4 hours to maximize the flavor that cooks into the chicken. Add the cubed cream cheese in the last 20 minutes or so. Also: chicken thighs are amazing in this recipe! I almost always opt for chicken thighs even when breasts are called for, especially with crockpot meals.
Friday (today!): I’m planning to make Shepherd’s Pie (using corn roasted and frozen from the garden).
And that’s another wrap for me. I am so relieved that it’s Friday! I’m looking forward to a weekend of playing with the kids and then settling in with stitching and the olympics in the evening. And of course, the Super Bowl is on Sunday night so we will be having my favorite food: nachos!! I hope you have a lovely weekend. Stay safe and cozy!