Sunday, August 01, 2004

The wonder of cold-brewed tea and the Stitching Blogger's QOTW

I am a total iced tea freak. I wasn't really until I moved to North Carolina with my family at the age of thirteen, and anyone that lives in the South can attest to the fact that iced tea IS the house wine. Except, in the South (and I'm not talking about Texas, I'm talking true deep South...North/South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, etc.), if you order iced tea in a restaurant, it automatically comes sweetened and you have to specify that you want unsweetened. I loved that. When I worked as a waitress at Lone Star in college, there was nothing more refreshing to me than a freshly brewed glass of sweet tea with lots of lemon. The only places I have found here in Texas that serve sweetened tea are Chick Filet and a couple of barbeque places.

So then I hear about this animal called "cold-brewed tea". Which, to me, is kind of a paradox considering that the hot water is what makes the tea leaves brew. I've never tried it until today. My method of making tea has always been to boil water on the stove, throw a couple of family-sized Luzianne bags in there, and let it steep until it's strong strong strong. But at the store I noticed that Celestial Seasonings has come out with this new flavor called "Lemon Ice". I look at the directions, and voila, all you do is add cold water and ten minutes later you have iced tea!

How it works, I don't know, but it is pretty darn tasty, so if you are a tea fan like me, and don't want to wait for the water to boil or for the tea to cool down afterwards, try this new thing "cold-brewed tea". It was slightly reminiscent of the fakey powdered tea mixes that you can get, probably because of the lemon ice flavor, but the overall flavor was good. Definitely a thumbs up. I can't wait to try the unflavored kinds and take the Pepsi challenge against my freshly brewed stuff. Any recommendations for some good brands, I'm all ears!

My Sunday went well, and I accomplished everything that I set out to. I went to the gym, sporting one of my new racerbacks, and got in a rocking back/bicep workout. I managed to make myself sit down and work (ok, so I lugged my laptop out to the couch and watched tv while I typed) for about two hours. The dogs were walked. I had a barbeque lunch with my husband, made a meatloaf and went grocery shopping. I even got to stitch on the Precious Moments ark for about four hours. It wasn't quite the agony that I anticipated...I am stitching the area where the goldfish are, and mostly just stitched the waves, which are half stitches with Anchor Marlitt, which, FYI, is almost identical to DMC rayon floss. Very pretty, very silky, and slightly fussy, but the best tip I can give anyone who is working with that is to get a wet washcloth and run your strand of Marlitt/rayon through it to dampen it before looping it to start stitching. The dampness makes the Marlitt/rayon "unkink" and the end result is that the stitches lay much nicer and flatter. Very nice effect. And I think I figured out the reason why the PM Ark is one of my least favorites....because I know in my head that it is not going to be perfect, not that any of my stitched pieces are, but you know what I mean. About a year ago, I was frogging another part of the ocean and accidentally snipped one of the linen threads. Yes, I was pissy...yes, I was frustrated....yes, I was rushing! And the bad news is that I have so much of this piece done at this point that trying to make it so that I could weave a piece of evenweave thread in there to recreate the fabric would be an impossibility at this point. The only thing that I could do was to stitch as quickly as I could around the hole and secure it as best as I can...and then when I take it to my framer, warn him so he is extra-careful. It's not that noticeable and you can't see the spot where the hole is, but I know it's there and hence it bugs me. So Moira's tips for the evening...#1: use a wet washcloth to dampen your rayon, and #2: be super-careful and make sure you are not frustrated beyond belief when frogging lest you snip a linen thread! Anyway, I'm not going to sweat's just irritating. I'm sure my framer will be able to work around it.

I also watched Win A Date With Tad Hamilton tonight. Cute flick. Predictable, but cute! Made me see Topher Grace in a totally different light than the dorky nerd on That 70s Show, that's for sure! And does anyone watch Six Feet Under? On HBO? I love that show...I've been watching it since it premiered. My husband and I were wondering if that show is getting ready to have a "jump the shark" moment. Let me clarify what that is...according to my husband, a "jump the shark" moment for a sitcom is where the show hits the point of no return...the point where you know it just won't ever be the same and it's just a matter of time until someone puts it out of its misery. Example: When the Fonz jumped the shark on Happy Days, you knew that was it for that had just lost its edge. I think another "jump the shark" moment would be when Monica and Chandler started talking about having kids on Friends. It just kind of killed the magic. Anyway, I just think it will be a very "jump the shark" moment if Rachel winds up pregnant and, due to her extra-curricular activities with Nate, has NO idea who the father is. I also think the path they are leading Claire down is starting to get a little surreal. So we'll see how that show goes. For the moment, it's still VERY entertaining to me...and I'm counting the days until George pulls a Houdini act on Ruth...that woman is just downright annoying. I just want to swat her with a fly swatter and tell her to take a chill pill!

I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be extremely busy, especially if I get that fire in Fort Worth, and by coincidence, the Stitching Blogger's QOTW is already posted, so I'm going to go ahead and respond a few hours early before I hit the sack!

If you could only finish one of the pieces in your stash as it is at the moment, what would it be and why?

It would be Four Season Fairies by Teresa Wentzler...I'm stitching all four fairies on one big piece of linen. Reason why, because I just LOVE that piece and I know it's going to be a masterpiece when it is finally finished. I also enjoy stitching it each and every time it comes around in my rotation. There's never any struggling to get the ten hours done, I love the colors, I love the blends, I love backstitching as I go and watching the details of the border and the fairies and the flora start coming to life, and I just think it's going to be a classic piece when it's that I will treasure forever. I love fairies. Plus, I am using the alphabet from Father Winter by Teresa Wentzler and have charted the season names to stitch under the individual fairies. The reason why I'm doing that is because I have Four Season Cats by Donna Vermillion Giampa done (the picture is on my webpage under Finished and Framed Pieces, so you can see what I have in mind), and it has the names of the seasons under each square, and I just think it's a great look. It really pulls the piece together. I'd love to one day have them hanging next to each other...maybe a seasonal wall!

Ugh, it's Monday again? And what's up with August being here already?? Where has this summer gone? Or, for that matter, this entire year? It's hard to realize that before we know it, we'll be in jackets and long-sleeved shirts again, the holidays will be upon us, and I'll be at fires freezing my tushie off like I did last year. I need to remember that when I'm sweating my tushie off tomorrow at this house! I really don't know what is worse...working a fire in the winter and not being able to feel your fingers, or working a fire in the summer and having to deal with the oppressive heat and smells.

I'm off to bed. Nighty-night and thanks for reading! And look at my new "I Tattled" blinkie! Isn't it cute?


Blogger Kiwiflowa said...

Hey Moira :) man your blog looks cool - hope to get mine like this one day. just like to say that i also plan on doing the 4 fairies in one piece one day - it will be a masterpiece!

Lisa in NZ

8:06 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Hi Erica! I know what you mean about the South's tea - I live in Memphis, and the best tea is at the Rendezvous, our famous bbq landmark across from the Peabody Hotel. I took a look at your stitching album, and you have some incredible pieces in there!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Carleen said...

Hi Moira! I lone Peach Ice tea..though I am from the west and not a big sweeten tea fan...there are some good sweet teas out there!!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Boy can I relate to your love of iced tea, Erica! I'm originally from Tennessee and grew up on it practically from my bottle days. LOL That has definitely been one of my biggest adjustments since moving to California several years ago. I do still make it at home, but sweeten it with Splenda these days since I'm trying to lose weight. ;-)

4:40 PM  

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