14 December 2019

Well, hellooooo

I can not believe it's been 2 months since I posted. Time flies. This year has flown by so quickly.

I started a new job at the beginning of November. I have tried not to show it, but the last company I was with was not a good fit for me. The working from home part was nice, and my coworkers are really amazing people, but there were so many factors that were not good for us. Money was incredibly tight and I was always having to depend on overtime, which is NOT a sound financial strategy.  By the end of the summer, it was so bad that my depression was taking over, and I was not the partner or parent my family needs. I woke up one morning and just said, "I can not do this for another 30 years" and started looking for another job. I prayed about it, and this job opening happened.

 It's not a work from home job, but it's only 16 miles past the preschool my son goes to, and the money is worth the drive. It's still in insurance, but working with premium, not underwriting policies. I am finished with training, and I am doing OK. I am still confused about a lot of it, but I am determined to rise, so I will figure it out. It feels nice to be able to provide for my family in a meaningful way, and to breathe. I am still going to try to live tight for a while, to pay off some bills that just couldn't be cleared on what I was making, and put away for the inevitable rainy day, but I can see a future now. And, if this doesn't work out  . . . that's OK. I am not stuck anywhere . . . and I can go out on my own terms.


The new office is near to where they were putting in a new AC Moore. I went there the day of its soft open, and then the next week, found out they were closing. WHAT THE HECK!  I can't imagine they didn't know this was coming and still hired people to work there. Crazy. I have been back since the announcement, but, in a weird way, it feels mean. These people just got these jobs and they're closing tomorrow, so I just decided to not go in anymore. They are opening another craft store near there (honestly the idea of 4 craft stores within a 2 mile radius seemed silly to me, but what the heck do I know), so I hope these employees can get jobs there. I did find two nice tobacco baskets there. One I thought I could display smalls in, the other, I would like to find an old hand me down pair of skates and some mittens and make something to hang on the wall.

I haven't been stitching much though. I read a lot, but my day is broken up so oddly that stitching is hard. I have picked up my needle in the last few days, so we will see.

17 October 2019

Greetings from a very windy Crazyville

This month is flying by so fast. So far, we have celebrated Lolo's 3rd birthday (he insists he is 4), and our 9th anniversary. Where has the time gone? We still have candles left over over from the reception; I started burning them last week. Not sure why I was keeping 40 votive candles, but they still smell nice, and it was time. I spent all week decorating the inside of the house, and Left-brain put up our outdoor display. We had a frenzied run to Walmart on Monday because two of the blowups wouldn't blow up this year. I hate that! Next week will be the Halloween parties and trick or treating for the kids. This is my favorite time of the year, after all.

The year of stitching spookily is moving along. I have worked on 5 projects so far this month and have two finishes:

Designs by Barbara Ana
design kitted up by my LNS with GAST threads

My LNS kitted up this design, which was a freebie through Creative Poppy in 2014. The designer doesn't remember it. I have passed my copy on. It was a fun little stitch. I want to have a bigger fall tree, or else festoon my banister with opulent garland and place my fall ornaments down the length of it with some twinkly lights. This would be cute. 

Brittercup Designs freebie
kitted up by my LNS with called-for threads and various buttons.

This is a little kit my LNS did in 2008. Y'all, I managed not to lose the buttons for 11 years. I am so proud of myself!  It was a very fast stitch and will be another design made into an ornament. 

We went on a ghost tour the first Friday night of the month. It didn't feel like October here in Maryland. The whole week was in the mid-90s, and then that day, fall arrived. We went on a nice walk around the county seat, and ended at our old jail. The tour guide said strange things happen in this building all the time, and we were allowed to walk around in the basement. They have set up a cell so you could see what it was like. When this cell was in use, for the majority of the time, it was miserable. You got food,but the only time you got a blanket was if your family provided it, and a candle was a rare luxury. It was a place of despair. I walked in the cell and got a terrible feeling like you get when you look at a bad car accident, like you don't need to be looking at that. I snapped a picture, and this is what I got.

My cell phone is brand-new--I am not bragging, the old one died and I had to get a new one a month or so ago, just pointing out that it can't be malfunctioning. The camera is good. That is not a fingerprint on the lens. The room was fairly dim, and there was not light coming in from outside. On the bed is a dummy. What is by the dummy's foot? There was nothing like that in room and no explanation for the source. Just something kind of crazy and slightly spooky. What do you think?

30 September 2019

The year of stitching spookily

Have I mentioned this? Tomorrow starts my year-long project to focus just on Halloween and fall designs. I have been pulling them like crazy and I am ready to go. I know I won't get them all done, but a year of playing with fall colors, whimsy and foxes? Perfect! A few little finishes, a WIP, and Gibbs, the box office dog. We started trying to decorate at work. He is very patient. He is now the Pumpkin Spice pupper.

18 August 2019

So Much Stitching

Another month or so gap between posts. Ooops. Is it just me or is this summer flying by? We have had a few random days off. I took the first Friday of the month off to spend the day with my daughter. We went to a nearby state park, did a little hiking and swam in the lake before thunderstorms chased us out, then hit up a nearby Goodwill. I have been starting to try to find some work-appropriate clothing, since I think I want to start working in an office again. It's amazing what you can find, if you think outside the box. Left-brain took the kids camping at Gettysburg last weekend. It's not a bad trip for them, and has sparked some interest in the Civil War for him, but the kids got to missing me and came home on Saturday night. Or rather I drove up to the campground after work and got them. Ooops. Oh, well. I keep telling my husband we need to plan trips far enough in advance that I can get time off. Or else I need to change some things to enable me to work less. One of my goals for the next 12 months is to get down to one job that pays enough of an income to make me feel like I am taking care of my family well. Maybe this isn't the right place to say something like that, I don't know, but we live either feast or famine in our house and it's exhausting. We deserve better. I'm coming to understand the last year has been the equivalent of a branch where one rests after pulling themself out of quicksand in order to rest and regroup, but now it's time to fly onward. That scares me to realize, but . . . it's time.

 Some finishes . . .

This is not a recent finish, but I finally got a picture of my sweet bunny finish. This was a Christmas gift from my mom. It was not a quick finish, and isn't perfect, but I love it. I forget the name off the top of my head. It's a Russian kit, but I think you can get it on 123stitch.

This is a little kit I have had forever. It uses overdyed linen floss. It was fun to work with. I wish people still made it. It didn't fray like I thought it would. 

Lost Spirits
Birds of A Feather
stitched on PTP Raisin linen 
w/ DMC conversion

This was a long time work in progress. The pumpkin head took a crazy long time to complete. But I have discovered podcasts and those help pass the time. 

Walt the Malt
JCS Ornament Issue 2008
28 count Monaco with DMC conversion

I like this one because I was able to use one of the new DMC colors. I used the color they call White Violet. I think it adds a bit of a difference to the cup. He is supposed to have some buttons, but those have to wait. He isn't finished yet. 

Winter Sampler
Prairie Schooler
DMC conversion on 28 count Wichelt linen

I am pretty proud of this. I did not like the colors the designer pulled. This was all muddy browns and greys, and I wanted something to be blue and hard and crisp. So I did this conversion. This had languished for a while as a UFO, so I pulled it out and decided to finish it. It took a few weeks and that border got fiddly. I like this a lot. I think I will make a wall hanging out of it, something to decorate the walls this winter.  

Boo Steps Out
Cricket Collection freebie
stitched with random overdyed threads from Polstitches 
and Hand-Dyed Fibers on 28 count Monaco

I just pulled different Halloween-y colors to play together. I think I want to make a wind-sock-type ornament out of this, but not 100% on that. I used one strand to get a more wispy effect.

So that's all from here. I hope everyone is enjoying the end of summer here in North America. 

13 July 2019

A long-neglected update.

I hadn't realized it had been so long since I posted. I really need to step up my posting. It's just been so busy here. We celebrated my daughter's birthday last week. Her birthday was on a Sunday, so we went to a nearby state park with a swimming lake and spent the day. Neither of the kids wanted to get out of the water, even to eat lunch and dinner. I mostly spent the day under the awning, watching them. And then, somehow, managed to fall over a beach ball and jack up my ankle. It has been two weeks and it is finally starting to not hurt so much. Though, driving is not a pleasure. Last Monday, we had to help my beloved cat, Gus cross the Rainbow Bridge. Mom has had him since I moved in with Left-brain; we didn't want to take him away from his siblings, and Left-brain has cat allergies, and had the dogs, and it just didn't seem like the best choice for him to be with me. I agonized over the decision, but he was happy with my mom and he was still mine. He was 20 years and a month old, and had not been doing well for a while. It was his time to leave us. He was quiet all day, but when he felt I was near, he perked up and "talked" to me. I told him it was OK and thanked him for being mine for so long. I was 22 when I got him, and he was wonderful; I was the luckiest girl in the world to have him as my first great love. His little paw-print is in our china cabinet with the Fenton cat my gramma had painted to look like him, and I found a little ginger tabby figure today to put next to his ashes when they come home. But on to nicer things.

I ended my Stitch Maynia shortly after the last post.   I had 3 finishes during the month of May, and then have finished two more since then. First, my finishes

This was from an Etsy seller. I plan on just making him an ornament to hang with the other Halloween ornaments. I think I am going to spend September finishing things. It would take up so much less space that way. I was digging around in the garage the other day and found some of my finishing stuff, so it's a message to get started, right?

This little boat was in my stash. I think someone either put it out at stitching group or it was an inheritance from my friend, Enid.  I forget who it is by and it was not the easiest finish. I have visions of it on top of a painted box, maybe to hold some of our seashell collection?

 This  little guy was from the book of bookmark-sized charts by TIAG. I want to do several of these as an afghan. He is on a little scrap of some king of afghan fabric. He is super cute, but I am not pleased with how his butt looks. I know  . . . but it just looks like he is wearing a diaper. He will still be a cute little ornament!

Another Stitch Maynia finish. I am totally and completely in love with how this turned out. I planned to originally stitch it as I watched Southern Charm on Bravo, but it was too much fun to put down. I enjoyed learning about the houses while I was stitching it--the house on the right was originally built so that it would be the first house ships saw as they entered Charleston Harbor, and then the other two houses were built. Can you imagine! That probably made for a few awkward interactions at parties.  I have fantasies of having a South Carolina wall and this will be the start of that. I may try to see if one of the craft stores here has a decent rectangular frame for it.

After all the starting, I just wanted wanted something somewhat simple to work on for a while. I won this fabric on Ebay back in the day when hand-dyers used to do Dutch auctions on Ebay. Do any of you remember those days?  They were great to build up hand-dyed stash. This was by Dovestitch. I haven't used a lot of what I bought as it was random small offcuts, but this worked so great to bounce the bright hot orange off of. The chart has been out there a while. It's a freebie on Casa Cenina's website. Not the easiest chart layout, but I love how it turned out.
I pulled Summer Ball out again last week, along with Shores of Hawks Run Hollow. I haven't really worked on this since last summer. I just got burnt out on it, and, TBH, it reminds me that a lot was done when I was unemployed and I hate that time. But, I really would like to at least get this section and all the backstitching done by the end of the year. Once I get past these men, it's all pretty linear from here to the end. I hate to say it, but I HATE stitching on these guys. This one looks like he has a porn 'stache, which is neither comforting or period appropriate. It's just a lot of fiddly stitching. The women are much more fun to work on, but I actually love working on the architectural details of the project the most. I really want to see this done and up on the wall.

I am starting to think about my stitching for next year. If I get decent progress on this (and, who knows, I might end up getting a fire under my butt and finishing this, LOL.), I think I want to spend the year stitching Halloween and autumn charts. Imagine spending the year using those rich rusts and oranges, wines and purples. I have one project kitted up that I just tossed a bunch of left over fall floss in and will improvise as I go along. Doesn't that sound fun!!!! I would be in heaven, I think.

19 May 2019

I am awful at Stitch Maynia

Some people are so organized about this whole thing. They have a detailed shopping list, they order everything prior to the start of the thing. They take photos of their stops and starts. Me? I am like, "Let me grab something up and see how it goes." I am on day 19 of this adventure. And starting to lose steam.

I have started something almost every day since May 1st. When I get to the end of the month, I will make a big post about it all. Yesterday, I was so busy, then so tired, I couldn't start anything. I started two this morning, but I am not that comfortable with doing it like that.

I am kind of pleased at myself for taking the time to include projects I have hesitated in the past to start. One of the things I chose was Lizzie Borden, by Monsterbubbles. Does anyone remember them? She was a fun, quirky designer, and I loved that she came around when quakers and the monogram samplers were the rage. Lizzie Borden was a controversial design, or so it seemed at the time, because of the subject matter, and there were blood pools under the head of Lizzie's parents. I liked it, though, but never stitched it, first because it used all Weeks and Gentle Art, but later, Leftbrain doesn't like the morbidity of the design. Well, he isn't the one who has to stitch it, so I kitted it up and started it and I LOVE working on it. My progress so far can be seen here. I was concerned about the small printing on the chart, but it isn't an issue so far. I can't wait to work more on it.

I also did decide last week that I don't have to spend all day on one project. If I just start the project and move on to something else, it still counts as a start. I had a tiny little start from Mother's Day I made good progress on, but had to put down for other adventures (namely, I got my ears repierced and we made BLTs, which is about as perfect a Mother's Day as I could ask for). It can be seen here. It only needed a few more hours of work to be complete, so why let it sit for the rest of the month? My other project for the day was a WIP I had started last month. So I finished it. Although I don't want to do that all the time, it felt better to complete a project, not just start one. I have three completions so far this month, which is pretty awesome!

That's all for today. I will try to post pics of all this stuff soon.

04 May 2019

Stitch Maynia, part 1 (pic heavy)

I originally was not going to participate in this. I have a lot of WIPs and UFOs and have been going back and forth about adding to them. But in the days running up to it, seeing people kit things up, I decided, since I don't have to actually work to kit up projects for this thing, and I have a lot of projects I want to start, but have resisted, why not just do it? So I started. As crazy as it seems, I am embracing one project for each day in May. Some may be UFOs that need love, some are new projects. Some will be large and some not so much. I plan on finishing these, but probably not this year. Pardon all the pics, and please forgive me my terrible photography:

From an issue of Cross Stitcher. It uses DMC Light Effects. I am a masochist, LOL

From a 1999 issue of Cross Stitch Collection. I just love the colors:

I just love this little design. Something fun to brighten up winter afternoons.
Kitty and Me started posting these on her Etsy shop. I just thought it would be nice to have as "not a Halloween" fall project.

I have had this chart forever. I just love the little puppies' faces.
Everyone posts this Prairie Schooler. I have been wanting it for a while, recently bought it and thought it would be a good start:
I found this in an old Gloria and Pat book. I thought it would be cute for my daughter, since she and her brother don't see eye to eye. Ever.
This is one I may end up removing. Another project I have had forever as a UFO. I started it with Anchor, but I don't like how the Anchor floss converted. I am unpicking it, but it's slow going.
I saw these little bunnies years ago in a letters section of Cross Stitcher, and spent a year or so searching out the design. I love it. But never stitched it. I splurged and bought some of the Etoile threads to see how they will look on it.
This is my start for today, in honor of the Kentucky Derby. It's an old Janlynn kit I have had for years, but never had the "spirit" to start. I think it will be a magical piece, but it's very large! 

A freebie I found somewhere. I am playing with the colors.(Pardon my thumb)
And another freebie I found. I am using some of those new DMC Colourist (or whatever they are called) threads.
Cricket Collection flip Flop. One of the LNS' kitted these designs up and I am slowly working on it.

Now, if you have made it through this, these are the progress photos so far:

Day 1 of the Waxing Moon piece. I bought this fabric in a grab bag at CATS in 2006. I don't know who it is by. I am using DMC and loving how this looks so far.

Day 1 of a JBW Designs, Country French Pig. This was a little UFO I had kicking around. He just had his front leg when I picked him up, but now he is complete. I love these little animals--they look so pretty, no matter what you stitch him with. He is done on basic black evenweave with Needle Necessities floss. 

I have more future choices to show, but that is enough for today, I think. I ordered the materials to do Lizzie Borden by MonsterBubbles, which I am excited by. Left-Brain thinks it's morbid, but he can have his opinion, LOL. 

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls