Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crustless Quiche, Jack, and a New Book

First of all, let's just get this out of the way...can you actually say that you've ever seen a more beautiful little peapod? Isn't he Grammie's darling boy?! :) Jack has his eyes open, and on his first visit to his pediatrician yesterday (3rd day here!) he lifted his head from his tummy position, pushed up with his left arm and politely turned himself over. Now, I say, "My grandson is a genius!" :)

On to other, more mundane things: I've promised through Teejay's blog, and Kathy of Kathy's Sit and Stitch (see my blogs sideline) reminded me I owe you, my favorite all around recipe for nearly every occasion. Good for breakfast, brunch, dinner and for comfort food! :)

Deborah's Crustless Quiche Recipe

Saute' 4 strips of bacon or ham in sauce pan until crispy, drain, crumble, place in bottom of quiche plate...or lg. pie plate

Add 1/2 small onion finely chopped, and 1 clove garlic finely chopped to bacon grease and saute' only until onion is transparent. Pour all contents of pan into the quiche plate.

In mixing bowl whip 8 whole, large eggs until lemon-colored and thickened well with hand wisk. Add 1/2 Cup of milk or half & half (I use skim milk, but it doesn't matter...) and whip to blend.

Add 4 heaping Tablespoons of Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs to the egg mixture and mix in with wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

Put any additional ingredients you'd like in the quiche plate at this time: I put spinach, mushrooms, or broccoli, artichokes, leeks....whatever you'd like. Put about 2 Cups full of these or enough to loosely cover the bed of the plate.

Over these, I put a nice covering of grated cheese(s) of my choice: parmesan and asiago, cheddar & munster, monterey jack and mozzerella, ...whatever I'm in the mood for tasting.

Now, pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the quiche pan. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 35-40 minutes, depending upon where you live. I check the quiche at about 35 minutes. You are looking for a firm, souffle-type, golden brown top. If the middle is still's not done. If the edges have begun to pull away from the sides of your quiche plate, the quiche is probably done.

You can garnish the top with sliced small tomatoes and fresh basil leaves and bits of goats' cheese or mozzarella...or any way you like. I serve it with a small greens salad and fresh fruit. Or, I just eat it alone with a chunk of fresh buttered bread.

Hope you like it! Everyone, please feel better this weekend, keep your fingers and hands from slicing and cutting things (Becky!), your noses and eyes from itching, your ears from aching, your backs from bulging and breaking, and your heads from migrainey hurties.....have some quiche with a mimosa and lounge!!! Enjoy, dear Kathy! I hope your cold and wheezies are better! :)

BOO To All of YOU !!!

Now, the book: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. This is an amazing read. Do you remember the "Lovely Bones?" Alice Sebold is the author of that incredible book, as well. Her writing is razor sharp and eloquent. You can "see" every detail as you walk through the story with her. I cannot put this latest book of hers down. Love it, love it.

It's the story of a woman who murders her mother, in the short, but it's so much more. From the first lines of the book, I was was hooked. Here they are: "When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily. Dementia, as it descends, has a way of revealing the core of the person affected by it. My mother's core was rotten like the brackish water at the bottom of a weeks-old vase of flowers." The book gives a picture of their relationship through the years, of who they were, why they became themselves, and how their relationship evolved. It's a small gem of a book. You'll read it in a weekend...probably with a huge slice of my quiche! :)

Hugs and love, Deb

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fun in the Sunshine State!

Look at these pretty squares from my friend and partner, Kathy Roberts, from Australia and Oklahoma! She and I were Fair & Square partners, as you may recall from my earlier posting. I love the tiny alphabet for my granddaughter's quilt. The threads Kathy sent are interesting and so thoughtful, too. Especially interesting are the which Kathy says are newly produced hand-dyed and wound by her LNS in Australia. The feel of this thread was awesome. I've asked Kathy for a color chart.
Jessica, my perfectly lovely only daughter, should be happy to know that her "Mermaid of the Pearls" has risen out of the depths of the WIPs and is back in Mom's lap frame. I've been stitching on her for the past 3-4 days, and enjoying her again. Found some counting mistakes, however, but I'm not going back or time to do that....I'm just compensating and forging ahead. Once I get through this section of the front "tail/body" then the miscounting will be taken care of and I can resume well. I hate I made a mistake, but can't find it, anyway! I'm sure none of you have done this....
Jess is just happy that the Mermaid is getting attention! LOL
This is the Glendon designs "Pumpkins..." that Martha (Goin' Stitchin'...) and I, and some others from our EGA and Sunday Stitchers' Group are SAL for the Fall. Not a difficult piece. I may not add the leaves at the bottom. And, I'm thinking of stitching them on black fabric or opalescent...
Just a note to all my friends who've been following the saga: Our house in Massachusetts finally sold...closed on it today. It's finished and we can be at peace about that. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers and lifting me up over these past months. Thank you so much for your emails and sweet words of support and caring. You've been the best of friends during a difficult time. Love you each one....and you know exactly who you are!

I want to express my deepest appreciation to Juls who is under some kind of personal deception and gave me the SMILE AWARD!!!
Thank you, Juls!! I can't believe it! I'm so glad to make you smile. You make me smile! If anything I write can make you and anyone else have a day that gives you a moment of joy in your heart, I'm just delighted.

It's my pleasure, as before, to pass along this gift by choosing 10 others who make me smile and tapping them with the official:

You Make Me SMILE AWARD!!!

1) Lizzie of Lizzie's Kindred Spirits for taking such pleasure in her double twins and being a great mommy with lots of personal style, to boot!

2) Mrs. Stagg of the Merryville Chronicles who in her own little world has created a hide away for me and others to believe in times past that were more beautiful and more gracious and a little Village far away...

3) Carol of Garden of Stitches who proves that you can count on some things always being there...somewhere in NH somebody is stitching and keeping the faith...

4) Deb in CT, my Stitching Cat friend in thick and thin over the years, always stitching beautiful things, always somebody you can trust for the truth, always steadfast with the best sense of humor!

5) Juls....back at you, dear friend!!!

6) Carissa the happy heart in Canada! Wow can she stitch and knit. I'm in awe of her fairy-light shawls, her stitching and her smiling, fun attitude. Carissa's the friend I'd like to take a roadtrip with!!

7) Isabelle.....bella little French girl....heart huge as the Eifel Tower....

8) Sally quietly being who she authentically is. I love that about her and she always makes my heart smile.

9) Vonna....thank you for sharing and always giving more than you take. I see your radiance coming through everything you "say" online!!

10) Helen....Lena Lou....your stitchery, your kindness, your gentle color selections delight me and make me smile. I love having you as a stitching friend, and I'm so glad you blog!

Please go visit each of these wonderful stitching friends and see for yourself how great they are! You can find their blogs on my side line....

Hugs and thank you each one for always leaving me a note. I check to read what you have to say because it's like talking to you every night, and you mean so much to me. Please keep in touch! Hugs, Deb

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Grandson!

I simply could not resist sending you this first picture of my first grandson, Jack Gardner Duncan, II. He was born today at 12:17 PM. He is 7 lbs, 13 oz., and 20 1/4 ins. long. I'm so thrilled. Jack is the son of my youngest son, David. They tell me he was gently born and didn't fuss...bearly cried, and has been very happy and contented. He scored nearly perfect on his ap-test and is perfect physically. David was just like that. He was the calmest of my babies, and was always the best child...just a delightful, happy little boy, and gifted child. Everyone has always loved him and been drawn to him. Very charismatic person.

They live in Las Vegas, NV. (Juls, I'm coming...Nov. 20th, to see him in person over get ready for a LNS trip!!!) The new mother wants time to bond with Jack, and David alone, so I'm allowed to come over the holiday to see him.

I'm just one delighted and proud mom and grammie today!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stitching Bits

Group picture of our Sunday Stitching Group that meets at Martha's (she's in front at the far left) house in Punta Gorda, FL. You can see me poking my head out on the back row 2nd from the end on the far right. What fun we had! I robbed this pic. off Martha's blog (Gone Stitchin', etc... see on my blog list..) since this was the first time I was caught without camera in a long time!

Stitching blogging friend, Nicole Neville, is on the front row 2nd from the right side! Many of you know her, I'm sure. I was delighted to finally get to meet her. We discovered we're both stitching Shepherd's Bush, "Happy Hauntings." And, Nicole helped me sort the threads on it while we caught up with eachother. She's a beautiful and very sweet person.

Wow! I want to thank Cheryl ( on the side...) for thinking of me as one who makes her smile in the blogging friends awards!! I'm just delighted that I do! Wow! Thank you so much, Cheryl. I'm supposed to name 10 others...but there are so many others who do, for me. It just wouldn't be fair. So, I'm pulling names from a hat and these are just the Fall representatives: THOSE WHO MAKE ME SMILE AWARDS

1) Patti from England (Queenie) My first blogging friend. The "Smile Though You Feel Like Crying" Award

2) AnnMarie from the Netherlands She's not Wackey...but wise!

3) Barbara Mainely from the Netherlands, too and the Most Thoughtful of Others Award

4) Harmien from the Eternal Sunshine of the Sparkling Mind.... :) and the "I Can Make You Gasp With Joy Award!" Harmien doesn't know selfishness.

5) Simone from the Joy of Gardening in a Dutch Country Backyard. It's Simone's joy to bring happiness and inclusion wherever she goes.

6) Lesley from Tintock Tap--- A fair, wispish lady who stitches like an ancient, wise celtic maiden in a faraway land....she may be there, and then, again, she may not be.....she's a Avalon, Lady of the Lake, girl

7) Heather of Jeweled Elegance....ooooh her spunk, her gorgeous pictures, her ideas and artistic eye!!

8) Kim's Threadheads Unite because she is alone with all that glorious creativity and beautiful work surrounding her magical mind and home!

9) Martha from FL, who is the "Heartlight" of my stitching world in FL

10) Marie Antoinette companion in obsession! See her flipping over historic costumes and movie classic dress designs, museum embroideries and fashions of the centuries... Soak in her love of Red, and eyes for color!

These are the best of those who I just adore and make me smile for the Fall.

Hugs, Deb

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Big Questions Continue.....

I was so delighted to find that Lesley of Tintok Tap is reacting and reaching for more of the question I started in my earlier blog entry about how people stitch. Please go to her blog and follow her thread of thinking. I loved hearing how strong she is about who she is as a stitching woman and why. It's a good exercise for all of us.

It's not just that we stitch fast or slow, but why we do that. Didn't you enjoy hearing from our USA stitchers, Vonna and Becky? I think Carol opted out...she's had some big things on her plate lately.
I posed the question to stitch faster so I could put more self expression into my stitching....have time to change the colors or the stitches more, add tidbits of charms and beading and different fibers that the charts don't instruct to use, or to add a totem of my own, a verse that means something special to me or my family or my friend, even a secret symbol that only I understand... I don't want to just spend time faithfully reproducing all the charts. I want to do that some of the time, but not all the time.

When we stitch exchanges or in RRs do we just quickly stitch off the chart? Or do we take a minute to add something of ourselves or the person we're stitching for? Is the purpose to give it a quick stitch, or to give it as a present of our own handwork to a friend?

Just some thoughts.

Like Lesley, I don't like to be confined in a box of rules. I like the freedom of self-expression in stitching. I like that old ideal that only God is perfect and that a mistake proves it! LOL I like to keep my stitching clean and pristine, but my stitching area and my surroundings are chaotic and messy. The profusion of stash and threads and messiness inspires me and gives me creative juices! I like to grab and include things in my stitching like an artist. It's serendipity! It makes for creativity.

What do you like?

A Finish and a Check In with Friends

Here's what I've been up to most of this week, stitching my Fair & Square blocks for my partner, Kathy in Australia. She loves Victorian things, so I decided to create a mock-crazy quilt for her. Don't know what got into me! These are the two squares just set side-by-side so you can see them. It was fun. Because it's near Halloween, I couldn't resist a little web all over my name and the spider just poised for the pickin' by a blue bird! Where on earth was my mind this week!!??

I've completed the lace row now of the "Marie Antoinette Sampler," and am starting to add the glimmery part of the lace fill-in. I read on the Plimoth Plantation background that though much hand embroidery was done to the rich and aristocratic garments, they were really nearly invisable at night...only the shimmery and "cheap" sequins and such would show up at night by candlelight. This prompted me to decide to stitch the lacey insets with balger and to add some I'll soon have an update for you on that.

On a scary note: I was walking the beach last week on Wednesday afternoon and noticed that the medium sized fish were starting to jump out of the water very close to the shoreline. It startled me and I started looking out to sea a bit. Out there, I noticed dark fins on the close horizon. There were several dark fins. They were just sort of standing still in the set of three were just slowly there in the near distance...pretty close in, as a matter of fact. Then, to the left and right of these fins, there were more...just there, pretty much hovering there. The fish were really panicing. Needless to say, I got out of the shoreline and went up to the boardwalk and asked a guy standing there who was looking out to sea. "Do you think they're sharks?" He said he did. He was thinking they were pretty close in and moving very slow and not going down and up for air like dolphins do. I said I thought so, too. It was really eerie! Then, today, I see this picture online......hmmm..... This is not that far from our shore given that it was only 3 days later.

An 11 ft., 844 lb. shark found in Destin, FL, in the Gulf of Mexico. Just up the coast a few days from Naples where I live.

What a very odd blog entry this is. I apologize! Want to know what I'm reading? Maybe it's influencing me....

1) How to Say No and Live to Tell About It...a Woman's Guide to Guilt-Free Decisions by Mary M. Byers "In a world of stressed-out women, Mary points the way to sanity and serenity in practical ways." Author-- Men are like Waffles - Women are like Spaghetti

2) The Meaning of Night, A Confession by Michael Cox "As beguiling as it is intelligent, full of great country houses, epic loves, fierce anger and vicious habits." -- NY Times Book Review

3) The Schopenhauer Cure by Irvin D. Yalom "Yalom's melding of philosphy...psychiatry, and literature results in an engaging novel of ideas." --San Francisco Chronicle

That's all, folks!! Hugs, and thank you for taking the time to give me a pat on the back about Plimoth you all!! I'm so happy!!! :))

Your best stitching friend, Deb

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Plimoth Plantation Project Celebration

Please take a moment to just be happy with me. I am so thrilled and in awe, and grateful. I am sooo thrilled that I feel like my whole formal education and stitching life has been building up to this time in my life. That's how much this means to me. I know this sounds a little over the top. But, for me, it's the truth.I heard today that I've been chosen/allowed to work on the Plimoth Plantation project organized by the museum which is recreating the embroidered 17th c. jacket worn by a woman on the Mayflower II! This is a once in a lifetime stitching project! I am so excited and humbled to be able to work on it! I'll be in the December session.

Such jackets were very rare for those times, especially for women making hardship trips to the New World by tiny ships! The jacket has been researched by the museum and consultants. Tricia Wilson Nguyen, whom you may know as a needlework designer and co-owner of Tokens and Trifles, is a significant member of the recreation and teaching team.

Lauren Sauer found the picture I've posted above as a type or style of the jacket/dress worn in the 1600's. Evidently, only very wealthy women would have had one of these...they were very rare, and they would have cost a fortune with all the embroideries, silks, gold and silver threads, etc. Which makes the jacket a curiosity for being on the ship to Plimoth! Makes one wonder if the woman was running away or planning to use the jacket as a bartering tool, or if she was a dressmaker or fine needlewoman herself!

Please go visit the website and read all about it at: You can click on the Embroideries section at the upper righthand side. Did I tell you I'm so thrilled, yet!!!??? Most of the story and pictures of the actual stitching is in the "general" section.
This is a picture of the "sample kit" that the Plantation sends out to prospective stitchers for the Project. It was designed by Tricia. Isn't it cute. It's a likeness of the jacket imagery. You can see some of the different stitches here.

They will send you a kit if you email and ask for one. There's a fee of $40 something.

This picture above is work being done on a section of the jacket. When you view the site entries under "General," you'll see the types of frames and lighting everyone uses. And, how the copies were recreated.
A couple of celebrity stitchers!! Shay Pendray, and did you know that Lauren Sauer stitches with her feet, too? LOL
This beautiful woman below is called "Laura the Extreme Costume" woman. Evidently she made this jacket and cap of hers. I don't know people like this...they intimidate me, and I probably will never meet her. So, it's safe to say that I will not be taking an outfit like this to my stitching sessions. I will try to dress a little and not wear my usual floridaish pants and RL golf shirts. And, I promise not to embarrass any of you by looking like I'm a deer in headlights and it's my first time with a needle in my fingers. But, I doubt I'll be carrying around a portfolio or wearing a hand-stitched glorious outfit. Yikes! Those of you who really know me will be rolling on the floor right about now. All I can offer is lots of flashy jewelry to keep up face in the midst, okay!? :) Which I'll probably have to take off because it could snag the yarns or linen, anyway....:[

Did I tell you I'm so thrilled and so psyched??? I can hardly breathe!!

Call me, email me, comment, do something!!!

More Darling Dresses

Please do yourselves a favor and go see Heather's Jeweled Elegance blog. Just start scrolling down her blog and look at the amazing little paper dresses that I was telling you about in my previous blog entry! I told Heather I was going to pirate a couple of her pictures just to get you motivated!!

These darling little ones are Heather's own designs. Don't you just love her spiderweb dress!? The dresses at the top of this entry are from her friend in a "swap." Look closely for the Halloweenish one on the right!

Any of you interested in joining me in a Dress Swap? I thought it might be fun to do one as a sort of Journaling RR. We would each get an artists' sketch book, create a personal theme for our dress "closet" or a "stage" or "setting" just as we do for our "neighborhoods," and then we would send the Journal around just as we do our stitching pieces.

Each member would then create a dress entry and whatever else they want to add to the Journal, and send it on to the next person in the RR, until it comes home to the original owner.

If you have any interest, please let me know.

One of the rules would be that we use paper for the original form of the dress, and then embellish it in any way we like using threads, ribbons, beads, pearls, fibers, textiles, lace, bones, ink, whatever we like!!

I don't really know how to start RRs or how to set up a site for them, but I'm willing to help organize and moderate if somebody is also interested in this. I was thinking of starting in January....but gathering people interested now.

Just couldn't resist ending with a needlepoint canvas of "you know who!" :)

Hugs, and happy stitching this weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Old and New Ideas - Please Read!

I'm nearly to the end of the border with the lace! It's really slow going with this one, and I'm not sure why. It's a rare time that I stitch "in hand" on so large a piece and I think this might be slowing me up. *Isn't Kirsten Dunst a darling "Marie?"

Some new soul searching....after all these years of stitching:

What makes a faster stitcher???

Can you tell me, those of you who seem to be able to get through several things at one time rather quickly. Do you care if each stitch is perfect?

What are your stitching techniques?

Do you use frames or Q-snaps, or stitch in-hand?

Do you "sew" your stitches, or cross all the "x's" as you go?

Do you have a special way of visualizing or starting your charts...or breaking down your pattern that makes it work up easier and faster?

What can you share with us any of your scheduling or other special tips that would help us move along our stitching more quickly and/or more effectively?

I'm wondering if I could take a poll from the following, and if you can answer on my blog by posting below with your answers? Or maybe just in comments.... Would the following please let us know the answers to the above questions: Just those in the good ol' USA to start with...(I hope to poll our Euro friends next.)

1) Becky SC

2) Carol Sutcliffe

3) Vonna Pfeiffer

So, I'm wishing I could go faster with this because I have so many ideas clicking around in a file and in my head! Here's another picture, which I'm not sure is better. If any of you have any ideas or pictures you'd like to contribute to the Sampler, please feel free to email me with them for consideration. It would be fun to have this be a group design, too!! I'm happy to share my findings with you, if anyone's interested.

Once the roses and laurel pattern get to the end, I start with the lacey backstitching that makes it look like a real piece of lace. I'm guessing this will take me another two weeks at this rate!! UGH! Thankfully, I still love my fabric color and the winter white floss. I'm saving my silks for the other parts. I've discovered this is actually 36 ct. linen. But, I'm still using 2 strands on the pattern to make the lace raised and dense in the longrun.

Ginny of "Twinkle Pink" blog...see my side bar for her addy link, somehow led me through a labyrinth where I saw on one blog, a darling example of paper, ribbon and beads and pearls creating handmade paper dresses. Fancy dresses that were hung on tiny black clothes hangers. They are just darling! I have to re-find the sites for you! I thought to myself, I have to make some of these, and we must get a group up to do these exquisite little things! The first ones I saw were of ballgowns for a pretend fancy dress ball. They were just phenomenal!

I found these to the left tonight on My Cherry Heart blog as another example. Each type of dress types appear larger than paperdoll dresses and can be made of anything, really. They could even be made of perforated paper and embellished. What a perfectly gorgeous exchange or journaling RR it would make! I just don't know how to start these Exchanges or RR things, but I would love to make one and then see if anybody would want to join me in a group. What I mean by a journaling RR is that they could be done for each other and be kept safely in an artist's sketch journal book, so at the end, they would be fresh for framing or whatever we'd like done with them.

I'm full of ideas tonight!! Somebody email me, I must be very lonely and in need of some chats!

Hugs to all...and thank you for taking time to talk to me....:)

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Reading Weekend

This was simply a reading weekend for me. I stitched a little on my
"Marie Antoinette Sampler," but mostly I just read.

The book that had me racing to the end was "Keeping the House," by Ellen Baker. It was a good story, well written, but mostly just a flowing and easy read about the personal history of a wealthy family during the 2nd WW. The house mentioned in the title is the elegant mansion they lived in for generations which has come to some ruin by the 1950's when a young married woman takes an interest in it, and the family who once lived there. On the surface, it's she who wants to 'keep' the house. The book flashes back and forth between the 1917s and 1950s eras.

Sometimes I love to just fall back in time with books. This one let me see how families handled the love and the stresses of the day....great families, WWII, the suppression of women before women's rights, infidelity, town gossips who destroy the hearts and homes of others, life and death and mistrust, loss and redemption, love stories of soldiers and girls.... all the things we deal with today. But our stage is shakier, isn't it? Or, maybe the human condition can't be measured when it's misery and love... it's all the same intensity no matter what the times or era.

When I see that the human condition is much the same, but with some scientific and technological improvements, I'm a little calmed by that knowledge for a moment. But, then I remember that we're at war in a different way, that we face the perils of Global Warming, famine and plagues, that our young men are dying on a battleground we didn't expect to be on for such a long time. That we face a world where absolute destruction is possible. I acknowledge that America is approaching the same conditions as the Great Depression era, except we have weather conditions that will increase the hardships, and lack of oil supplies that create other problems. I see that most people don't understand why morality counts anymore...and I don't know how they will live through a universal crisis.

So, while "Keeping the House," is a good story to read, it also brings up alot of current thoughts and fears. Sometimes medicine doesn't taste very good and has to be disguised with a bubblegum coating to make us like it better. I found more in this book than I was bargaining for. At the heart, we really haven't changed much over the years.
Go to Barnes & Nobles books to see a review on this book. Most gave it a 5 star rating. I would, too. Such was my weekend!! :)