Ode to Embroidery Floss and Egg Sandwiches

I spent my Saturday afternoon having my tires rotated and oil changed at the Toyota dealership. I’m sure you can imagine how much I look forward to this task. Like most people, this is one of those errands that I try to put off–but my Prius has these helpful little lights, one of which reads “Maint Reqd” and the other of which looks like <!>, that glare at you from the dashboard and are pretty hard to ignore.

To make this somewhat painful chore a little more pleasant, I decided that I would use this as an opportunity to take advantage of my recent hand sewing obsession. Normally I rely on knitting as my portable craft so sewing on the go is an exciting new development for me.

I should take a step back to explain what exactly I’ve been working on these days. In addition to my Mexican napkin nine patch, I recently completed a small (12″ square) quilt. I’m having a bit of quilting attention deficit these days and having a hard time sticking ot just one project. This idea popped into my head and I decided I simply had to execute it:

You may recall that I’m a bit obsessed with elephants. And I’ve been reading Elephants on the Edge, by G.A. Bradshaw, and thus have had elephants on the brain even more than usual. That combined with my recent fondness for hand stitching and voila.

I was so pleased with how this little elephant quilt turned out, I decided I had to make another (which is going up on my Etsy store, so keep an eye out!)

Anyway, I packed a little bag of embroidery floss, scissors, and needles, and took this project to the dealership. Let’s just say it was by far the most pleasant car servicing experience I have ever had. I was so excited to be sewing on the go, I almost took a picture–but the waiting room was pretty fool and I think I already looked a tad crazy.

I’m discovering that hand sewing, a  slow and peaceful process, has some mental benefits as well. Another woman there was having car troubles that are too long/boring to relate in detail, but she had come to the conclusion that they were entirely the fault of the mechanics–and didn’t exactly keep her cool. In fact, pretty much everyone in the waiting room listened to her rant and rave for about 20 minutes. I don’t mean to be judgmental because I’m sure this was frustrating for her, but the anger vibes were palpable, and I personally feel like being nasty to others is never a good way to handle a tough situation.

This is the kind of unpleasantness that would normally get to me, but sitting there with my sewing, taking one stitch at a time, I felt a wonderful sense of calm. In fact, since I was so sorry for the mechanics who were doing their best to keep the yelling to a minimum, I made an effort to be a very patient and cheeful car owner. If only everyone sewed 😉

I even managed to not get too annoyed when I discovered I was about this far around the perimeter of the elephant when I ran out of blue embroidery floss:

Bummer. So once my car was taken care of, I headed to Joann’s and stood in the embroidery floss section for about 15 minutes, holding up every navy blue I could find. I never realized how many different colors of embroidery floss there are–and trying to find the right color is a bit like trying on a bunch of different perfumes at once…before long, you can’t tell the difference. So I walked away with these three:

After a little thread-staring break, I declared #803 the lucky winner, and I’m about 99% positive it is the exact same blue.

I also loaded up with a couple more packs of embroidery floss to add to my collection.

Beautiful, no? Looks like I may soon have a thread stash in addition to my abundant fabric and yarn ones. Fortunately it’s pretty inexpensive stuff–and given its de-stressing benefits, I’m considering this an investment in my health.

Of course, there are other effective ways to unwind. Like spending Saturday night with friends and drinking–wait for it–mojitos. Yes, apparently my Mexican mojito obsession has tracked me down back in Boston, and on Saturday night, I enjoyed an apple mojito made by this lovely gentleman (Welton) who I’ve known since my days as a wee little freshman undergrad (which, I realize, was not that long ago):

I would highly recommend one of these if you’re in the mood for a refreshing, let’s-pretend-it’s-summertime kind of drink. We used the following ingredients: Bacardi Big Apple rum, lime wedges, crushed mint, sugar, and apples for garnish. I wish I could be more precise but we weren’t exactly measuring all that closely…Mixing drinks to taste is the way to go.

On the other hand, I do believe it’s time for me to impart one of my favorite sandwich recipes, inspired by Darwins. This is an excellent morning-after sandwich, good for an in-between breakfast and lunch kind of meal. I often make it on big slices of whole wheat, in which case I use two eggs and therefore more of the other ingredients as well, but I bought a package of Arnold Sandwich Thins the other day (delicious) which makes a slightly smaller sandwich (so if you’re hungry, make two). And if you’re lucky enough to have freshly laid eggs from your mother’s chickens, use those 😉 Otherwise, any old egg will do.

Smoked Salmon & Egg Sandwich

  • 1 whole wheat Arnold Sandwich Thin, or bread of choice
  • 3 tsp cream cheese
  • a few thin slices of red onion
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 2 thin slices tomato
  • 3 slices smoked salmon
  • 1 egg, over easy
  • salt to taste

I realize sandwich-making isn’t exactly rocket since, but the right preparation can make a difference. First things first, spread the cream cheese on one of the bread slices. Cover the cream cheese with the capers, onion, and tomato.

Lightly toast both halves in a toaster oven (keep an eye on this so the cream cheese doesn’t melt too much). Meanwhile, prepare your egg over easy. (This site does a better job explaining it than I would, but my one addition is to lightly sprinkle the egg with salt before flipping.)

Remove the bread from the toaster, and top with the smoked salmon and egg. Eat immediately so that the yoke is still runny. Yes, it’s a bit messy. It’s supposed to be. Runny yokes are oh so good.



Filed under cooking, quilting, sewing

4 responses to “Ode to Embroidery Floss and Egg Sandwiches

  1. Dear Pippa,

    These are so beautiful! And comprise a true tribute to the elephants of the world. Thank you so much. If you send a photo and perhaps a paragraph that speaks to your inspiration, we would be honored to display on the Kerulos website.

    Gay Bradshaw

    • pippapatchwork

      Dear Gay,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am so honored! Of course, I will send you a paragraph about my inspiration and a photograph of the quilt. What email address should I send this to? (The blog doesn’t allow me to view your email, but you can send it to me directly at philippa.eccles@gmail.com).

      And thank you for your book. It is truly moving and has heightened my love and appreciation of elephants.



  2. Thanks for the compliment! I love your handstitched elephants…. funny, I just finished a crocheted elephant.

  3. Anonymous

    Wonderful Elephant! I cant tell you how many times I have stood in front of the floss section with my little snippit of floss trying to match it up. Not as easy as one would think it to be! Hand stitching has a bit of the zen to it. I know for me I become so involved in the cloth that little else exsists while I sew.

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