Thursday, October 25, 2012


I don't dress up for Halloween, but with two toddlers I am in the costume spirit. Here is a sneak peak of the costumes I am making this year:


Pumpkins!  I love autumn,  mainly because of the food and that definitely includes pumpkins.

I grew up in a country where Halloween was certainly not a big deal.  We put out carved pumpkins, but no one really went trick or treating, it was only something we saw in American movies and tvs.  Then of course the next big Fall Holiday; Thanksgiving.  Simply doesn't exist. 

After first moving to the US, I halfheartedly got into the spirit of american holidays, but after 12 years I am now completely on board and my favourite part is the fact that you can get Pumpkin flavoured everything.  This year rather than just buy pre packaged pumpkin everything I decided to bake my own pumpkins and use that to make some goodies.

It was so much easier than I first thought.  The only hard part was cutting open the pumpkin, it took knives of all shapes and sizes to figure out how to cut it in half.  I had to leave my husband to it, as I was sure he would lose a figure and I could not watch.

Once it was open, we scooped the gunk out and put the two halves covered in foil in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes.  Then all that pumpkin is scooped out and put in a blender, and voila pumpkin!

Out of the two pumpkins, I made soup, cupcakes, cookies and chocolate cake.  We are putting those holiday pound on early around here.

Stitched to a Tea

Why Stitched to a Tea?  I decided to start trying to sell some of the cross stitch work I have made.  Currently I am on etsy at
but here are some sneak peaks on what I have been working on:

I have been doing cards and the little favour bags you can see.  Both I am still experimenting with and trying to figure out the best designs but it is fun to play around with ideas. I have a bit of a problem when it comes to shopping at Micheals, so I am always picking up fun new techniques and items. Some of them work well, such as my current obsessions with punching.  So simple and easy, you can make the paper look that much more special.  On the other hand I have experimented with stamping and that it a work in process  It got really bad when I used a special stamping glue so that I could add glitter.  I thought glitter would make everything better, but I was wrong.
I am fairly new at working with Etsy.  I am a big fan of  so know of it and have certainly laughed at it, but never got into the nitty gritty of it. So far it is all very straightforward,  so hopefully I will have some success.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Loyal Husband here, with beer!

Loyal Husband here, and I'm hijacking this blog for a minute to describe one of my favorite pastimes: Making Beer. Darn near anyone can do it*, and even bad home made beer is still pretty decent. I have constructed this neat little tutorial on how you can make your own. Below, your screen will be filled with the glorious images of our kitchen, my ingredients for making this batch of beer, and *gasp!* shots of myself! (H would be seen here, but she is terrified of cameras**)
I hope you enjoy!

Hannah's Notes:
* As evidenced by the fact that the American succeeded. (See I can make lame jokes about nationality too).

**I'm not scared of camera's, I'm scared of the pictures. There is a difference!

*** I hope you take note of the fact he copied and pasted an image for the body of the blog. Which means he doesn't get someone picking apart his work.  Honest mistake or scared?  Let's split the difference and just say American. I will work on formatting this, and reposting another time ;)

This is where I learn to embroider

I have been doing cross stitch for many years and have decided to jump into embroidering. The first thing I am going to tackle is lettering as that will be a nice stepping stone to incorporate into cross stitch.  Then if all goes well I can transition into some more complicated or fancy embroidering.

First things first is to get the equipment.  I already have the needles, thread, hoop and fabric, but I need a design.  The quickest and simplest methods seem to be the ones that use tracing paper which allows you use any design you want*.  I traced letters (I have zero drawing ability) with a sharpie and then put a scrap piece of white cotton over it and traced once again the pencil outlines.
This was the result:

I was rather proud of it for a first attempt. The letters aren't quite straight but that I will blame on different size letters.  I thought I was on a roll, and decided to try something new.  I used the satin stitch to make an leaf:

Still not too bad, all things considered for a first attempt **.  I wanted to try bigger and better things:

A classic example of you should quit while you are ahead. I'll be doing some practicing.

Husband's Notes:
*The more complicated methods involve bananas, shouting, and tubas.
** If my wife has a fault other than Being British, it's that she's overly critical of herself. She could dive out a 2nd floor window, save a baby falling from a helicopter, bake a delicious cake for thirty people, and be upset that she couldn't whip up a proper butter cream frosting*** while she was at it.
***Butter cream frosting is the finest of all the frostings.


Sewing the pattern is my favourite part.  Mounting the piece afterwards is where I run into trouble (Well, so is distracting my kids enough to actually sew, but that's for another post).  Wrinkles are all over the piece and it doesn't matter how much you iron or how much you try* the wrinkles won't come out so you have to wash the piece first.**
This filled me with dread the first time...what if the colours run?  What if the stitches start coming out? To test it out I just filled a bowl with lukewarm water a little dish soap and placed the piece in for 15 minutes.   When it was still wet I ironed the back side and thenonce again when dry.  It was a definite improvement but not as neat as I would like.  The next batch will be put in the washing machine which I am dreading.  Adding laundry to a houshold with two toddlers is not ideal ***. I guess we'll see.
H xx
Husband's Notes:
*Unlike a nice steak and much like housecats, cross-stitch patterns don't take well to being hit with a tenderizing mallet, and a steamroller was impractical to fit into our apartment.
**I was afraid at first that if H dipped her cross stitch patterns in water, they would mutate and take over our town. Then I remembered that only happened with Gremlins and my worries promptly vanished.
*** Adding lots of things to a household with toddlers isn't ideal. Always remember people: No matter how responsible your toddler may look, don't trust them with your napalm. Trust me.

Black Thread

So this is a little rant on using black embroidery thread as I have a love/hate relationship with it.
Just like in any form of art black is an essential colour but you have to be careful.
I have learnt that this is very true in cross stitching.  Now the first tip I have is if you are ever in a craft store and see Black embroidery thread, BUY IT!  Normally it is sold out. Once when I was in Micheals and was lucky enough to buy some the cashier got very excited and asked me how much was left and that she'd have to buy it up on her lunch break.  That didn't leave me feeling very confident on the chances of finding more very freqently. *

So, assuming you have been lucky enough to find some, on to incoporating it in the sewing.  I have found that you have to be extra careful with not having excess thread when you start or end a block.  If you leave the black threads loose they get picked up and are strong enough that they can be seen through the other lighter colours**.  This will often make the other colours look murkier and not as clean, just like if you were painting.  I tend to just try and keep the threads very short and not over use the black thread.

H xx
Husband's Notes:
* I hear Black Embroidery Thread is traded on the Nairobi Commodities Exchange. I'm being very bullish on it at the moment. I'll let you all know how that turns out.
** The more astute of you may have noticed that my wife spells "color" like a Fog-eating Limey. That's because she IS a Fog-eating Limey, and only I am allowed to call her that. 


So, welcome to my new blog!

I am really unsure how to start this or begin without sounding awkward . I will tell you a bit about myself and what I am all about.

I currently stay at home and look after my two toddlers. I have been cross stitching for about 10 years now as a hobby, but have also dabbled in knitting, crochet (that went badly) and other paper-crafting.  It got a little out of control and every room is now decorated with my art. Since then family have received lots of gifts and now I've run out of people to give crap to gift I have decided to share what I do with the rest of the world.

I will keep up the blog, which will probably consist of posts on my inspirations, talking about my children (which I can get a little out of hand) and tips and tricks I have learnt when crafting. My husband will probably also pop in once in a while to give us his thoughts on things*.

I hope you stick around and take a look at the site!

H xx

*HI THERE! I'm the aforementioned husband. For commentary, I'll be listing my thoughts down here as footnotes to H's blog posts. This format has proven irreisistable for those of us with a history of Terry Pratchett Withdrawl.