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Nerd Alert.

I've been impatiently waiting for my eleventy billion ebooks to come off the hold shelf at the library, so in the meantime, I checked out one from the history section. 

Because...I'm a nerd.

And also because, the American Revolution, Civil War, and Turn of the Century eras in American History are really intriguing to me.  European history will always completely fascinate me, as well the Ancient Egyptian, Greeks and Romans, so I really gravitate more towards books that deal with those time periods before anything else.  And, any time there is something on tv about The Templars, I'm in.  Hook, line and sinker.  A order of knights sworn to secrecy and to gather and protect ancient religious treasures and relics??  IN.  I have a book called Christopher Columbus, The Last Templar.  A Templar?  Chris?  Almost 200 years after The Templars had been forced to disband???  SO IN.

Fun fact: Although not the origin of the superstition, Friday the 13th is linked to the fate of the templars.  

Back to the book.  So, I'm impatient, and I decided to check out a book called George Washington's Secret Six.  

George

 

I kept gravitating toward this book whenever I'd be in Barnes and Noble, so I decided to check it out on ebook from the library instead.  It was a very good account of the spy ring that helped GW squash those pesky Brits and get the American Rebels ahead in the war.  I won't spoil it for you, in case you're as big of a nerd as me and you want to read this, too, but there are four plots that the spies foiled, including the big one involving Benedict Arnold.

I was expecting this to read much like ever other history book I pick up to read for fun (again. nerd.), which is usually akin to a college textbook.  However, the author of this book really made it accessible and it reads more like fiction.  It's a quick read, keeping it as general as possible as to not get into the real nitty gritty details of the circumstances surrounding the war, but giving enough details so you can piece everything together and see how much these spies really risked in the name of freedom.

The best part?  One of the six was a woman, proving vital to the ring because she was able to get into the inner social circles of the British officers, and her identity still remains a mystery.

Next up is the new book from Eric Larson, Dead Wake, which I started last night, and I'm already loving it.  

What are you guys reading????  I'm always looking for recommendations!  You guys have given me some great ones so far!! 

Happy Thursday!!

Sig


"Rear Window"

It's no secret that I love old movies.  Love them.  TCM is in my "favorites" on my channel lineup, and I had a ton on my DVR back in Philly....but lost them all when I had to give that box up for a VA approved box.  So sad.

Recently, TCM has been releasing certain classic movies in the theaters, but I've never been able to make it to the one random theater in Philly that would have it for the limited run.  I really wanted to see "Gone With The Wind" in all it's big screen glory, but couldn't make the show.  The most recent move they released in theaters is "Rear Window".  

When I saw that, I about died.  To see my favorite Hitchcock movie on the big screen would be incredible.  I knew I had to make it happen.  Down here, unlike in Philly, there were multiple theaters I could have chosen from.  I was stupid excited, and picked the theater about 5 min from my apartment for the showing yesterday afternoon.  

I snuck a quick pic when the beginning credits were rolling.....

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Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart are phenomenal in this movie.  And Grace Kelly's clothes!!!!  I want them all.  Her dresses and jewelry are perfect.  (Fun fact: she's a Philly girl!)  If you haven't seen "High Society", I highly recommend it - it's the musical version of "The Philadelphia Story" with Bing and Frank.  So good.  And "Dial M for Murder", which is another great Hitchcock that's she's in.  I love Hitchcock movies, can you tell?  Oh! And "Strangers on a Train" - Grace Kelly isn't in it, but it's so damn good, so go rent that now if you've never seen it. 

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Thelma Ritter is great as the nurse - she's a great character actress.  And, of course, Raymond Burr!!  

If you love this movie as much as I do and wish you could see it in the theater, you still have a chance!  TMC released this for more than one day - the next available times are this Wednesday, March 25th.  Go here to see if it's playing at a theater near you!!  If you go, let me know how you liked seeing it in the theater!!  I loved every minute, and definitely noticed things that I didn't see in the 847 other times I've watched this movie - nuances & such.  

Happy Monday!  I hope you all have a great start to the week!

Sig


It's Fridayyyyyy!!!

What a week, friends, amiright??

And what's with the snow today??  Isn't it supposed to be spring?!  So over it.

But onto more important things, like donuts.  Browned butter baked donuts from Joy the Baker, to be exact.  Because, delicious.

So, since it's Friday and it's snowing, and we needed something to make us feel better about life, I whipped up these bad boys, and glazed them with a light & luscious maple cream cheese glaze.

browned butter donuts from Joy the Baker

No, these are not on my candida detox diet, but I wanted to make them for my coworkers, since, you know, snow and all that crap, so I made them gluten free so I could taste one.  Good god are they delicious.  It's been so long since I've had sugar, so half of one was really plenty for me at this point since I'm not used to the sugar anymore, but I will definitely be making these again in the future.

That's how we're gonna be starting our Friday in the office - donuts.  And copious amounts of coffee.  

Happy Friday, friends!!

Sig


Book List.

So, I've been on a reading rampage.  I haven't had much time over the past couple years to read much, and I miss it.  This summer, I started making sure to carve out time to read, and flew through some pretty great books.  Erik Larson is officially one of my new favorite authors - I read both In the Garden With Beasts and The Devil in the White City over the summer, and they were incredible.  He has a new book coming out soon about the sinking of the Lusitania, and I'm really excited to get my hands on a copy.

I told you all recently that I had an incredible amount of time on my hands after work, now that I live so close to the office, and picked up reading again.  I finished All the Light We Cannot See, and loved every bit of it.  In between working out, unpacking, (yes, unpacking...my den is still somewhat of a disaster...) and carving out time during work at lunch, I've managed to keep up my rediscovered love of reading.

A few weeks ago, while trying to figure out what book to read next and how I was going to afford all these new books I had to read, it hit me: the library.

One of my first orders of business when I moved down here was to get myself a library card.  One of the local branches is literally two blocks away, so one morning, to get away from all the unpacking, I walked over and got a library card.  Fun fact: most local libraries now have an ebook catalog, and you can check out books for your e-reader online - you don't even have to leave your house! You may have to download software to allow the books to be transferred to your e-reader (I have an ancient nook from B&N, one of the first gen editions, and the books transfer perfectly, so you don't need one of the up-to-date new-fangled things to have it work), but it's really simple and totally worth it.

You should have seen me that night when I remembered I could do that.  OMG.  I was like a kid in a candy store....only I was a nerd at the library website instead.  (sigh)

Some of you had given me great book recommendations, so I went searching for the ebook versions of all of them.  They're not available - they're all checked out - but you better believe I got myself on the holds list!!  I went crazy - I currently have 6 ebooks on hold, and that's because I've read 2 that became available already.

First up was In the Woods.  A great suspense novel that I highly recommend if you like those kinds of books.

In the woods

Second, The Language of Flowers.  One of the ladies at my LNS back home told me about this book, and it was very good.  Definitely not what I expected based on the title and the story that transpired, but still very good.

The language of flowers

Currently, I'm on the hold list for the following books:  Orphan TrainBroken HarborThe Miniaturist, Girl on the Train, A Spool of Blue Thread, and Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  I'm sure that list will grow as I devour every single one!

What are you guys currently reading?  Do you have any suggestions for what I should add to my ever-growing holds list at the library?  Have any of you read the books I mentioned above?

Sig

 


Prettified notebooks. | Papercrafting.

And just like that, it's March.

Not only is it March, but we're a week in already, and we just lost an hour.  I will let you know when that is ever ok.  Especially this past week, when I seem to have gone from unable to stay awake to completely and totally incapable of falling asleep.  Thank you, Lyme disease and adrenal fatigue.  I see a nap in the very near future.  Hopefully.  Maybe. 

Aaaaaaanyhooter.

It's Sunday!  Let it be a lazy day, shall we?  The snow will be melting around here, thanks to predictions in the 50's for most of the week (with one day in the 60's!), and I'm just really hoping that spring is, in fact, right around the corner.  Winter is always rough for me; it wreaks havoc on my body, and I'm through with it.

Yesterday, I got my scrapping mojo back, and decided to stop hoarding paper and make something to make the day a little brighter, since it's still pretty damn cold out there.

For Christmas a year or so ago (probably more, because, you know...hoarder...), as part of my gift, my sister got me a few sheets of gorgeous fine paper from Paper Source.  It's seriously gorgeous.  So pretty, I would unroll them all, just to look at them, ponder about making something with one of them, and then roll them up again, not wanting to ruin the perfect rectangle by cutting them all up to use in projects.  Which is totally normal.

After having to pack up and move my entire craft room this winter, I decided it's high time I quit that nonsense and use the damn stuff already.  My sister didn't get me that paper for it to be just looked at, she wanted me to use it!  

This week, after having a few meetings to go to, and hating the wide-ruled (which, ugh - can't it at least be college-ruled?? seriously.) Gov't issue notepad the size of my entire arm that I had to use, I decided I needed something way cooler than that to have with me to take notes. Not wanting to spend any money on something like this, I went rooting through my stash to see what I had in order to make something.  I found two Moleskin kraft notebooks I'd totally forgotten I had (they come as a set of three...so god only knows where the third one is...), which are perfectamundo for this project, and unrolled those fine papers my sister got me for Christmas all those years ago.

And because I want you to be able to make your own gorgeous notebooks everyone will be jealous of, I'm gonna show you what I did.  It's wicked easy.  Ready?  Here we go.

Take the notebook, open it up, and lay it face down on the wrong side of the paper.  Trace the outline of the notebook, and then cut about 1/2 inch - 1 inch outside the traced line.

covering kraft moleskin notebooks #DIY #papercraft #finepaper @Paper_Source

Using a paintbrush, quickly brush Mod Podge all over the cover of the notebook (I had to work quickly, so I couldn't take a snapshot of this stage.)  Carefully place the traced and cut paper on top of the Mod Podged notebook spine, and smooth out both sides from the center.  The edges of the paper will hang over the edges of the notebook.  Let it dry for a few minutes.  This shouldn't take long - Mod Podge dries relatively quickly.

covering kraft moleskin notebooks #DIY #papercraft #finepaper @Paper_Source

Once it dries, flip it over, so the front or back flap is showing.  This is the back flap.  Cut the overhanging paper at the spine and at the corners, so you can easily flip it up and over to glue it down.  Since this particular notebook has a pocket in the back for hiding super-secret-on-the-down-low stuff, I had to make sure I also made a cut at the top to allow me to tuck the overhanging piece under the pocket, so the pocket could remain open.  

covering kraft moleskin notebooks #DIY #finepaper #papercrafting @Paper_Source

Do the same thing on the front flap, until the entire book has the overhanging edges secured on the inside.  If you're making more than one notebook, like I did, just repeat the process.  Both books took me a total of 30 minutes.  For realz.  It'll take a few extra minutes if you choose to also cover the inside flaps of the notebook.  I wan't really concerned about having them covered, so I decided to just cover the outside for this project.

covering kraft moleskin notebooks #finepaper #papercrafting #DIY @Paper_Source

Below is a shot of the back of the finished book on the left - this paper was made from strips of various fine papers, so the front is different from the back.

covering kraft moleskin notebooks #DIY #papercraft #finepaper @Paper_Source

Now, this paper is pretty enough to have that be the end of the project.  But, we all know I can't let it end there.  I didn't want to do anything that would be overboard, but I wanted a little something extra on these books.  So, I got out my Versamark ink pad, my "j" stamp, and my favorite gold embossing powder.  I stamped the "j" on front, embossed, and viola! You can see the "j" on the above pic, in the lower right-hand corner.  I did this on both.  Took all of 1.5 minutes to stamp and heat emboss.

Then, on the inside, I decided to stamp only on the first page from a roller stamp from Kate Spade I got a while back (WAY more than I ever spend on stamps like this, but I loved the sentiments, so I splurged...):

covering kraft moleskin notebooks #DIY #papercrafting #finepaper @Paper_Source

Simple.  Awesome.  Total win.  People will be totally jealous when I show up with these beauts to boring meetings.  

covering kraft moleskin notebooks #DIY #papercrafting #finepaper @Paper_Source

That's it, friends! Two gorgeous notebooks that took a mere 30 minutes!  And they're totally personalized, and the best part - they're in my favorite color.  Purple.

I hope you have a fabulous Sunday, and that you're able to find time to create something today!

Sig


Friday.

What a week, friends.  What a week.

It even started with a holiday! Then, on that holiday, it snowed in DC.  And people forgot how to drive and act like normal people.

Thank God for AWD and the guys at Firestone who fixed my tire earlier in the day on Monday.

How have you guys been?  So remember how I was losing my mind about all that extra time I have after work?!  Well, I filled it with a great book this past week.

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Has anyone else read this?!  I kept hearing about it, kept getting annoying emails from Barnes and Noble telling me IT'S 40% OFF THIS WEEK!  BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT.

Eventually....those B&N emails got the better of me when I found a B&N a mere 10 minutes from my apt, so I got out my member card for that additional 10% off, and made the leap.  

It was. So. Good.  So good.  My only gripe is that the author goes back and forth between years during WWII, and where I normally don't mind that time flip every once in a while, in this book, I legit forgot what year we were in as I was reading, and each time it changed, I had to go back and see what year I had just been in.

Does that make any sense at all?  I feel like I'm in an episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon and Leonard are discussing the possibilities of time travel.  Also, that wasn't a paragraph up there, but a giant run-on.  You're over it, though. 

Anyways.  If you're looking for something new to read this frigid weekend, check out All The Light We Cannot See.  I highly recommend it.

What are you guys reading?  Do you have any recommendations of great books you just couldn't put down?!  I'm looking for suggestions!

Stay warm!

Sig


Always with the greatest intentions.

There have been quite a few times over the last two weeks where I've sat down and gone, "I need to write something," and then never did.  I had all the greatest intentions of filling you in on the last two weeks, but, as I'm sure most (all) of you can relate, life got in the way.

So, this is my feeble attempt at getting back into writing posts.  I now have a full hour (an HOUR) after I get home from work that I haven't had in 10 years.  That's how much time I saved myself by choosing the apartment I'm currently in - it's legit a 5 min drive.  I can walk there when the weather gets nicer in 15...20 if I'm lollygagging with my coffee.

Not even kidding - for the first week, I would come home and just kinda stare at nothing.  I had NO idea what to do with all of that extra time!  AN HOUR, PEOPLE.  That's FIVE HOURS A WEEK.  TWENTY in an entire month!!!

Now.  I'm sure you're all going, PLEASE. I could fill up that hour in no time!  Trust me.  I'm sure I'll be able to as well, but this is gonna take some getting used to!

Anyway.  Back to the situation at hand.  Life, and how it gets in the way of very important things, like writing blog posts and stitching and making pretty albums.  (sooo far behind on my project life album, it's not even funny...but that's quite alright...there's a lot of winter hibernation still ahead of us...it's only 15 February...).

I also found out a little over a week ago that I have Lyme disease.  This would explain a lot of health problems I've been having (and i literally had to fight with my doctor for this test...he wanted to do another food sensitivity test on me, and i flat out refused...i don't eat anything anymore that could be inflammatory!), and it's been a weird 1-2 weeks getting used to the twice daily dose of antibiotics, among a few other things I need to take to counteract side effects of being on heavy antibiotics for an entire month.  

To help counteract the side effects of antibiotics (the major one being too much yeast in your body), I'm also following the Candida diet, which eliminates dairy, sugar, and fruits (the sugar from these foods feeds the yeast, amplifying the problem).  The first week was near impossible.  I needed chocolate! Stat!  But, it got easier, and my cravings are becoming less frequent.  (Fat bombs like this one have been saving my life over the last week and a half...)

You're also supposed to eliminate coffee on this diet because of the caffeine, but we all know what I did when I saw that recommendation.  

Laughed outloud, then went and made a full pot of fresh ground coffee from Starbucks.

All of this, plus adjusting to my new job and trying to  make sense of the remaining chaos in my apartment, has meant little time for creating.

BUT.  This past week, I found all my stitching supplies, and decided to start a project I've been dying to start for a long time.

"Shores of Hawk Run Hollow." I'm not sure if any of you have attempted any of the Hawk Run series, but I have three, including this one, and I've been itching to start one.  I decided no time was better than now, so I got everything together (and, unbelievably enough, I'm missing four of the DMC colors for this project. just when you'd swear you have every single one, you're missing some. ugh.), and got to it.

Shores of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings

So far, I'm loving it.  I shouldn't have waited this long to start stitching one of these from the series, but there were so many other big projects I was working, I couldn't justify starting another.  

The fabric I chose is 40 ct Tundra from Lakeside Linens.  It's tough to tell, but it's like a sea green - it looks kinda grey in this pic - which I thought was perfect for a summer/seaside piece.  With the record wind chills today and the high wind warnings, I'm dreaming of warmer days...

I'll leave you with that - I don't want to bore you with too many things all at once, and I hope soon I'll be able to get out more on the weekends and investigate all our nation's capital has to offer!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Sig

 


DC Bound.

I've debated whether or not to write a post about my pending adventure, and ultimately decided I needed to write a little something.  Mainly because I've been gone for so long (packing is my life right now - I miss writing posts and sharing with you all!), and because I think the direction of my blog might take a slight right turn.

This week, I will be having my house packed up and moved to DC.

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Yep.  DC.  This girl got herself a job with the bigwigs.  I'll be doing the same thing I do now, just more intense with more responsibility, and for the Marines instead of the Navy.  Still all one big Navy...but don't tell the Marines I said that....

That said, I'll be more absent here until I can get my act together with Internet connection and whathaveyou in my apt., but I'll do my best to keep up with Instagram in the meantime.  

Also, because of this huge change I'm embarking on, the things I post about will vary more than they have in the past.  I started this blog with the intention of only sharing my cross stitch WIPs and finishes, yet I've ventured into SO many other creative things that I feel they should be shared as well.  So, my cross stitch posts will absolutely continue, but peppered among those posts will be DC adventures (and others! there's an entire coast of VA beaches I'll have to check out this summer!), scrapping nonsense, baking extravaganzas, and all of the fun in between.

I hope you'll bear with me during the transition, and come along on this 2015 journey with me!  It's gonna be a fun year, peeps!  Let's get this party started!!!

Sig

 


Baby Shower Goodies

My baby sister is having a baby! 

Naturally, I had to outdo myself, and make everything for the shower.  

Ok, not literally everything...but close.

First up:  the invites.  Why buy them when you can make them, amiright??  Especially when you don't know the gender of the baby - much easier to make non-gendered things than try and buy them.

I went to my local Paper Source, and picked up some mint green flat cards and envelopes, plus fine papers to line the envelopes.  (If you haven't tried lining envelopes, you totally should)  I also used a cutie stork stamp I got from there to put a simple flourish on the bottom.

#babyshower #invitation #PaperSource

How cool is that Color Box stamp pad!!  It matches almost perfectly to the paper I chose.  Awesome.

#babyshower #invitation @Paper_Source

That liner paper!! GAH.  I can't get enough.  

The invites were super simple and easy to make - since I was using Paper Source paper, I went online and found their templates for printing inviations at home (You could use their templates with other paper, you'd just have to scale it to what size paper you're using, if the dimensions aren't exactly the same.). You can buy blank invitations from them and print at home, so they have Word templates to account for paper size and margins, depending on what design you got.  I used this one, since it was closest to how I would be stamping the image on the bottom of the invite.  I typed in all the info, hit print, and viola.  Then, I stamped the image on the bottom, and embossed it with clear embossing powder to give it a little something extra.

#babyshower #invitation @Paper_Source #kellypurkey

I stamped each one on the back with my Kelly Purkey stamp, and signed and dated them all.   

Perfect.

Next up: the favors.

In my mind, favors must be useful.  Or, they should be food.  Chocolate is usually a winner, but in this case, since it's fall and I have serious problems when it comes to great ideas and underestimating how long things take to make...I decided making apple butter and apple cranberry jam was the way to go.

I know, right.  Delicious.

So, I got 4 oz Ball canning jars, made the recipes, then hot bath canned them.  That way, people don't have to feel pressured to eat them right away.  Using scraps from cutting the white paper for the invites, I made little "thank you" tags for each jar.

#babyshower #favors #jam #applebutter #BallCanning

Super simple little tags stamped with this expression stamp, hole punched, an eyelet smashed on, tied it with some twine, and boom.  Favors. 

Delicious favors.

They all went into baskets at the shower for guests to grab on their way out the door when the festivities were over.  

Each basket had a tag, so you knew which one you were grabbing.

#babyshower #tag #favor #label @Paper_Source

 Um. So. Do you see that sideways "L"???  Yeah.  That's what happens when you pick up the letter stamp, and swear it's going the right direction, but it's not.  Then, your almost uncontrollable OCD freaks the f out, and you begin a panicked search for more blank tags.  Unable to find any, you decide if anyone even notices, you'll say you did it on purpose - it is a baby shower, after all, and it's cute to make stuff look baby/kid-ish.  If that makes sense.  You know, like when I used to write my "J's" sideways when first learning how to write my name.  Now I just stamp letters sideways for effect.  And to drive myself insane.  Literally.

So, there was a sideways "L" on the tag at the shower.  And now you know the story behind it.   Just in case anyone asks.

Ahem.

Lastly:  the dessert table.

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Hello, sugar coma.

Cookies.  Pumpkin cake.  Pumpkin bread.  Luscious cake balls that my lovely friend, Angela, volunteered to bake.  Scones.  Maple cakelettes.  

Homemade baked goodies overload.  I think I'm done baking for the entire year.  My mom and I baked everything on that table, with the exception of Angela's cake balls.  

I made the cards to label the goodies, too.  Glitter pumpkins are all the rage.

#placecards #babyshower #pumpkins @Paper_Source

 Glue stamp pads make using glitter SO much easier for stuff like this.  You use the stamp on the glue pad like you would a regular ink pad, stamp the image, then pour glitter over it, and tap off the excess.  Let dry.  Glitter pumpkins abound.

That's it for the shower goodies I made.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve for when the baby arrives, but until then, the projects are super-secret-on-the-down-low.  

Have any of you done any handmade things for showers or parties?  What did you make?? 

Sig


American Panorama | Cross Stitch

I have a lot of patriotic graphs in my stash.  A lot.  This one I've been working on here and there as I completed other bigger projects, just to keep me sane, since I picked a larger count fabric to do this on.  

I love doing anything patriotic.  In fact, I just picked up another patriotic piece to stitch now that I'm done this one.

Gotta keep at least 4 projects going at the same time, or it's just not right in my stitching world.

This is American Panorama from Blue Ribbon Designs.

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So cute, amiright?!

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I love that sailboat with the teeny American flag!!

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The sheep!  I die.

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Can't have a patriotic piece without a bald eagle!!

I loved stitching this piece.  It was a relatively quick stitch, and it's so fun and full of Americana!  You could also stitch each one of the squares individually and make smalls, if you didn't want a long piece to frame.  Belinda includes finishing instructions if that is something you'd prefer to do rather than stitch them all as one.

I stitched this on 32 count Heroic from Picture This Plus fabrics.  It has the perfect balance of red and blue dyes streaking throughout to add to the whole patriotic-ness.

Now I just need to get it framed and find a place for it on my walls!

What are you all stitching this fantastic August weekend?!

Sig