I’m so proud and pleased to introduce to you my very first finished embroidery project!

(well actually, I had the embroidered card I sent Jenna earlier. But this was the first big needlework piece)



Lurvely, right?

It started out with a simple pattern like this:


I loved the colors that I chose. And then when finished, I trimmed it to 10X8, sewed on 3” strips around, and chose a colorful backing (sorry, not in the photo).

Now it just needs a coating of dog-proofing scotchguard, and we’re ready to go!


Adventures with needle and thread

DSCN0426 Above are the “longhorn owls” that I embroidered on cardstock to make a good luck / study card for my sister, who’s in the middle of her exams as we speak at the Universidad de Tejas (good luck on your Arabic final tonight!!).

Embroidering on paper is fun but also requires preparation time – you have to manually punch all the wholes in the paper before you start. But it looked great in the end!

And yes, I’ve been getting some kind of owl obsession. I keep finding myself on etsy looking at things like this.

image Of course, now that I have a sewing machine, I should be able to make said items.

We got this beauty last week from a large evil corporation who my mother insists on supporting.

It’s been sitting in the dining room ever since. I’m dying to sit down and make pillows and stuffed owls and sock monkeys. But I don’t know how.

One of my Australian friends talked to me last night, supporting my interest in sewing. I shouldn’t be at the point of impressing anyone yet. I don’t even know how to start the machine!

But I can impress you with this….


Girl and duck tea towel is complete!

Now on to the other side with her male counterpart and his ducks.

A Tale of Two Tarts


Dinner last night: A tomato tart (on pie crust) and a mushroom tart (on puff pastry)

DSCN0369 Pie crust topped with provolone cheese, sliced tomato, a little olive oil, salt + pepper


Puff pastry, brushed with egg washed, topped with seasoned ricotta cheese, sautéed mushrooms and green onions, salt + pepper + parmesan

Both were fabulous, vegetarian options. Always exciting when my dad eats a  meatless meal without grumbling! Oh and yes, we did have a side salad. You didn’t think we’d just eat pie crust and cheese for dinner!? haha…..

After dinner = DVR catch-up + embroidery.


OK OK… it was intended to be an “I love coffee” kind of thing. But I think it’s now looking a lot more like “I love my green watering can”. The green color didn’t help, nor the wonky-shaped coffee mug. Better luck next time. I need to actually start on a real project, rather than sewing random designs on the same piece of cloth.


Today’s been off to a good start – my parents got up early with me, and my dad cooked belgian waffles! It’s also Secretary/Admin Assistant day, which = boxes of Dunkin Donuts all over :)

Today’s creations

A creative day – both in nutrition and needlework

(haha, I know I’ve been killin’ it with the recent alliterations. They’re too much fun!)

E is for Embroidery

I took my newly purchased embroidery supplies to work today, and practiced some of the basic stitches today at work while patients were in group therapy. I’ve enjoyed the beginning stitching tutorials from sublime stitching, peptogirl, and early bird special. Thanks guys – saves me from having to buy a book!

This afternoon I decided to try out an actual design – copying a free pattern of a cupcake (what else do you expect from me?) from peptogirl. After having some difficulties threading needles (it’s been a long time) and getting the right number of strands figured out (6 works better than 8), I ended up with this!


Close up:


Not bad for my first project! And really didn’t take more than 20 minutes – part of which were spent out on the hammock with the border collie (dangerous, I know), while the rest were inside on the couch while watching last night’s Big Bang Theory (love that show!)

S is for Super Salad

Another project based on a purchase from this weekend in Nashville :)

While in Whole Foods (to buy my squash seeds) I picked up the whole-wheat naan that I love so dearly.

image I used it tonight in a flatbread cobb salad that I haven’t made for at least a year. I discovered the recipe from tastespotting (I think) when I was living in Nashville – and loved the salad! For a vegetarian, a lot of people are surprised at my lack of salad-eating, but I’d honestly rather have my vegetables cooked than raw.

This salad looked something like this:


  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
  • 1/4 avocado, chopped
  • couple handfuls of mixed salad greens
  • tossed with 2 tsp of honey mustard dressing

All those delicious toppings are mixed in a bowl, and then plopped on a toasted naan (who had a little EVOO and italian seasonings on before going in the toaster oven).

Soooo good! Nice mix of food groups, carbs, fat and protein.

If only all salads tasted like this….



My domesticity continues

From my blog searching and perusing, I was in awe with this post about using an antique college card catalog cabinet (alliteration!) for awesome organization.

image Source: smallnotebook.org

This website talks about the popular demand of buying antique card catalog cabinets. Apparently anything less than $500 is a bargain. They also list a wide variety of uses for them.

And so, I started to look around online and see if I could find one for myself. What piece of furniture could be more perfect for an OCD organizer? Little drawers for every type of household doo-dad? haha

The amazing thing is I found one located here in Knoxville!! Of course, this is all very impulsive – I just started reading about these things today and I’m already to hand over $500? Well… I’m hoping I could get it for less than that, although it’s actually a pretty good price.

Part of me thinks I’m being ridiculous. Why invest in a huge piece of furniture when I’m hoping to move in the next year or so for grad school? It’s been nice living in furnished homes, and just having to box of my belongings, but now I’ll feel like a real, grounded, person who owns furniture. haha.

But think about it – a great investment, awesome storage/organizing capabilities, and will probably make me the talk of the town :)

And here is a recent blog post of a woman who was determined to find her own card catalog – even made a road trip out of it!

I’ll keep you updated on what happens.

In other domestic news – I planted my new, organic squash seeds today, and am hoping to start practice my first embroidery stitches tonight :)


Feeling itchy and stitchy

Today’s is a two-part post, as you can see from my catchy title :)


Matrix gave me a reading of 90 degrees on my way home from work. Good lord!  Knoxville set a record high of 86 degrees today (so my car was probably a little off). Mr TV Weatherman says this is typical June weather that we’re having in this first week of April. I’d much rather wait 2 months and enjoy some more 60s and 70s :)

I was brave/foolish enough to get the grass cut – leaving my entire body itchy from bug bites or allergies. The yard sure looks a lot better, but I was quite red, sweaty and itchy. Well, actually my feet were green – I mowed in flip flops (much to my mother’s horror) which left my feet stained from the freshly cut grass.

The topsy turvy tomatoes are doing well – watering every day as SOON as I get home from work, and the plants look like they’re already growing upwards towards the sun. My squash seeds haven’t emerged from their egg carton container, probably another week for them.


After reading this morning’s post on (never home) maker, I suddenly had an interest in embroidery. More research into doodle stitching and sublime stitching shows some really cool designs that look like a lot of fun. And definitely not the grandmotherly embroidery that you think of. This could be the perfect hobby to pick up for the spring. At least something to do during evening TV watching, or afternoons sitting out in the sun. And I can think of a couple summer birthdays that might receive a stitched-with-love gift :)

Of course now I want to run out to hobby lobby and buy a box-full of supplies. Thread. Hoop. Needle. Pattern. Fabric. Design book. And then I saw the starter kits from sublime stitching and was tempted to order it (love supporting a local Austin, TX business!), but decided to slow it down a second.

After a quick search, it looks like I can purchase sublime stitching’s products at Textiles and Fabrics store in Nashville, so I’ll check that out this weekend. Or at least peruse Barnes and Noble for design books and make sure this is something I want to do, before investing in the materials. Although really… it’s only $20-$30 to get started. Much cheaper than the massage I’ve been pondering about getting ;)

The Boy was obviously not thrilled about the new hobby. “Let me guess. Is this something old people do?”. Well… maybe. I tried to remind him that many crafts (like knitting) are experiencing a re-birth with younger people, but he isn’t impressed. Did I mention that he’s considering giving up the PhD to become a rich and famous rock band drummer? Yeah….. I think the embroidery sounds much better :)

Time for dinner. No idea what to create. Maybe a tofu recipe I copied from the March 2010 Cooking Light. Adios readers!

Baking bread.. making wreaths..

Who’s ready for The Pam and Jim baby to make it’s big entrance tonight? Me!

I had a fairly normal day at work today. Stopped by the gym on the way home to finish my book – fastest 30 minutes on the stationary bike ever!

After the gym I hopped next door to Good Will, where I spent 55cents on a stuffed animal for Bess’s Easter present. It’s a floppy-eared bunny that goes quite well with Sheff’s little lamb. But shh, still a secret :)

Speaking of Animals….

Today has been quite the animal day. It started off with my commute to work, where I found a field of cows had somewhere escape through the fence, and were in the street and the neighboring land. Poor cows! I couldn’t see where/how they got it, but I sure hope their owner woke up and got them all back on their property!

This afternoon, while outside with the dogs, we spotted an opossum roaming around our back field. Of course, the dogs went berserk barking. But it’s weird – I thought those guys were nocturnal!? I’ve never seen a live one out in the daylight.

And then Bess continued to bark at every horse, deer or other four-legged creature she saw. I’m sure the border collie in her is dying to get out there and herd!

I’ve also been following the facebook updates for Amigo, the miracle horse here at the UT Vet Hospital, who is still in serious recovery from being stabbed with a massive tree branch. He almost died in surgery the other day, but is making a comeback (yet again). His owners are so worried about the financial burden of his treatment (the bill is over $10,000) and may have to bring him home early and care for him themselves to save money. If any of you horse/animal lovers would love to make a donation, please do so! They’re hoping to get his story on the Ellen DeGeneres show – I know she’d love to help out!!

Lessons in Domesticity continue…

After receiving a Mario Batali Pizza Peel for my birthday earlier this year, I have finally decided to go ahead and start baking crusty loaves of bread myself. Last year I received the book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, but never got around to baking it. My mom recently tried out the fool-proof method and became obsessed with having hot, crusty, fresh bread baked every night. It also got my dad to come home from work earlier, so that’s saying something!

So.. I prepped my first batch of dough and will bake my first loaf tomorrow after work. Fingers crossed! I used their master recipe (read = all AP flour) but hope to later experiment with whole-wheat flour, oats, and other whole grain wonders :)

The Easter Wreath adventure is still ongoing – I found that you can indeed make the wreath with alternative candies (Hershey foil wrapped chocolate eggs work here!). However.. I know just realized that by choosing the high temperature hot glue gun (as opposed to the low temp version), I was making a mistake, and will probably burn/melt all the candies.

Embarrassingly enough, I found my Hobby Lobby receipt to exchange hot glue guns. The receipt was in the trash, covered in food scraps. I brushed it off and dried it out. Gross but it’ll work, right?