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01 May 2018

Two More April Finishes

Two more little finishes for the month. I already posted these on Instagram and FB, but I am still pretty pleased and wanted to share

Bebunni Freebie
World of Cross Stitching
stitched with called for theads and card stock

This was a free little card kit in an issue of WOXS from 2016. I like Bebunni a lot and have been looking for small designs to stitch. I liked this one immediately. I don't make cards, so wasn't really clear about how I'd use this, but I had been thinking about making ornaments out of the Christmas card kits. Well, my son took one look at this and started chirping (he doesn't talk yet; we don't know if this is from being a preemie or just him being a normal kid, but he is getting help) and was so excited, I decided it was perfect for him. I just trimmed the panel that referenced the magazine information, and then folded  the card stock so that that was inside. The panel that now makes up the back is prettier. I will get a pretty marker and personalize it for him. I think it will be so cute on the tree this year. 


Happy Snowman
Shepherd's Bush
stitched with Weeks on Weichelt linen


I did this one last week. It didn't take too long, maybe a day or two. My LNS kitted this up a few years ago (look, y'all, I am catching up!) I seem to have lost some snowflake charms that were on it, but I still think it looks good. If I could ever unearth all my sewing fabric, I would just make a bunch of ornaments, but I need to go over my sewing machine and see why it is not sewing a good seam. I do like this pretty little guy and his sweet little sheep, don't you. 

28 April 2018

April Update

Weird how the time flies along when you are busy. I lost my mojo for most of the past 6 weeks. It was getting used to a new schedule, having to spend so much time in the car, and dealing with some other stuff. I was offered a position with the postal service, but turned it down because the schedule wasn't going to work with my family needs. My test results are good for 6 years, though, so I am not too upset. They are always hiring around here--one of the benefits of living in a busy area.  I do have some other good news, but will talk about that in a few weeks.

I did, however, make some decisions about my makeup subscriptions. Y'all may not know this about me, but I love makeup. A lot of my technical theatre work in college was with makeup, and I love following makeup artists and admiring their creativity. Especially with all the new shades and formulas out there. I've been an Ipsy subscriber for the past 3 years and I got a lot of fun new stuff to play around with. Ipsy is a basic makeup membership-- $10 a month for a makeup bag and 5 samples of cosmetics and skincare. You give your preferences and they try to match them. One of the best things was getting a red lipstick the month Lolo was born. I have this motto that red lipstick makes any situation better, and when that came in my bag, I wore it like armor to the hospital to buoy up my spirits.  I actually got a lot of compliments on it. But I also get a lot of black eyeliners and cleansers; I don't wear eyeliner, and I don't know how to do winged liner, and some of these cleansers made me break out. And there were a lot of brown eyeshadows in those Ipsy bags. A lot. Even when I changed my physical description and preferences, I still got a lot of brown. So, I have been considering one of the other companies. I ended up subbing to Boxycharm. I am already really pleased. I was only not overly thrilled about one product--a lipstick in cocoa brown, but I change my hair enough that I will probably have the right color hair for it at some point this year. I did get a brown eyeshadow, but it came in a palette of 12 and they all aren't brown. And it's only $21. Not bad, because the stuff is always worth more than $100. And I did a major makeup cleanout this month, so I have room for it!

I did get some stitching done. Nothing major, but wars are won with small battles, too, right?



Summer Ball
Pamela Kellogg
stitched with called-for threads on unknown evenweave

I have had this pattern, and the other ones in the set for years. I distinctly remember working on a version of this the weekend after I picked up a new dog, and that's been 10 years.  It was not an easy chart and I kept putting it down. I had to restart it at one point, as well. My friend, Enid, saw me working on it at stitching group one time, and she liked it so much, she ordered the whole series. She was a fast stitcher, so she had them all done in what felt like a month, but I was still putting it down.  I found it after Enid died last fall, and I determined to finish it. I feel like she grinned the whole time I was finishing it last month, and asking what was taking me so long. So this one is for her. I plan on finishing it as a cube, but not sure when I will have time to do it. Wouldn't it look lovely with strawberry print fabric and a wide velvet bow?





Secret Needle Night, August 2005
Silver Needle Limited Edition
kit--stitched with the called for threads

This has been kicking around my stash for a long time. I bought it a few months after it came out in the shop, right around when I started subscribing to these kits. I still have a lot of them left undone, but this one is now on my "done" list. This one wasn't even that hard--the threads weren't too funky--but it still took me a while to do. I just feel very awkward using the Rainbow Gallery threads and they take a lot more time to work with than plain DMC, so I never rush to do these. I subscribed for 3 years and I don't miss this one. I would rather use my money for a makeup box!


Lastly, we have this:


Summer Ball
Sandra Littlejohns
Anchor floss on 32 count Jobelan

This one really suffered with my loss of mojo. I just couldn't bring myself to pick it up for over a month. This week, I decided I HAD to suck it up and start working on it. And I have made good progress. The area from the yellow dress over has been done since February, and I would say half of this was done this week. I'm so excited to think that at least this page might be done this week, or at least this month. That way I can say it only took me 12 years to do half the chart!  Whoo hoo! The stair step stitching method is working incredibly well for this chart, and I think that is helping me make progress.  

I hope everyone has had a great month. Happy Stitching. 

18 March 2018

Tears



Not a heck of a lot of stitching went on this week, since I was trying to get the house put back to order before starting work. We did, however, take some time to get the kids' picture taken with the Easter bunny, since I don't know what my schedule will be for the next few weeks. K was quite happy to visit the bunny, but her brother wanted no part of it.

I have no idea what bothered him, except he was tired. His stroller is in the back of our truck, which is at the repair shop, getting the transmission replaced. We just had the flipping thing rebuilt last spring, and it went out at the end of February. At least, when it broke, it was NOT when the kids and I were in the car. And it did have a warranty. So . . . but that is not helpful when you are trying to corral a rowdy toddler at the mall on a Saturday afternoon. He was full of energy. But that bunny . . . oh my. He cried for another 45 minutes after we got out of the center court--I had to calm him down with an onion ring.

I start my job tomorrow. I'm so nervous, and, to be honest, upset. It's not that I don't think I can do this job, because I know I can do it. It's the change. And I have had so much unwanted change in the last year or so. It's all taken a toll on me that doesn't seem to heal. I got to thinking and I want the life I had in 2015 back. I was happy, we had a good income, I thought I could conquer the world. Now I don't know who I am, or what I want to be. Logan is the only really good thing that happened since then, but even that took so much from me. And I sometimes think I'll never get back to being OK, and that scares me, because I have these two wonderful little people who depend on me, and I don't want them to grow up remembering this version of me. I don't like her. I just don't really know how to get rid of her. I've spent the last few months praying to not be one of those people that falls through the cracks. I even felt the need a few nights ago to wish on a shooting star. We'll see how  that works out. I'm going to do the best job, and use this time to see if this is really what I want to do.

I am sorry to be a downer. It's just one of those days . . . I have been crying a lot lately. More lately than before.

08 March 2018

Is it March already

February actually ended up being kind of a bust stitching wise. My depression at the job hunt took over for most of the month, despite my best efforts, and I spent a lot of time in bed. Job hunting is hard. And frustrating. I spent 11 years as a insurance underwriter, a very good underwriter, and I only last week got a response for an interview I had in January for a 16 hour a week job at the bank I use; they didn't offer me the position. I did get a job at a theatre in Baltimore, though. I just found that out last week. I'm nervous. I have never attempted to do any theatre job full-time, and I'm not sure how well I will do, but I am going to try. I am grateful to have a job with benefits and want to do my best to justify my hiring.

Anyway, I did get a project finish last month.  The little kitten mitten is done. I love the vibrance of the blue of the mitten on that crisp white fabric--remember, it's not the called-for floss, but I just loved how it looked at my LNS.
Snowflake Kitten Mitten
Cross Eyed Cricket
14 count aida with mostly called for threads and RG Splendor
 
 
I'm planning on finishing this. I know I say this a lot, but I think my non-stitching time this year will be used for finishing. I just bought some finishing boards, and think I can probably spend some time getting it done. 


This is my progress on Summer Ball. Everything from the guy's sleeve over is new for this month. I realized I don't like stitching all the men on this piece. Lots of complex shading. The women are easy to do, at least everyone but the yellow lady! I think there are only 3 men in this section, though:
Summer Ball
Sandy Littlejohns for Cross Stitch Collection
stitched on 32 count Jobelan with  Anchor threads
 
 
And this happened. My theatre is putting on a very different, amazingly beautiful show about the effect of suicidal depression on the family. It's a lot of audience involvement, and the actor often goes up in the audience. The entire box office staff attended the dress rehearsal, where the theatre's photographer takes the promo photos. We ended up in the photo they used in the review for the Washington Post. And who ended up in the middle of the picture, but ME (I'm the redhead in the wild shirt.)!  Luckily I had dyed my hair that day and did my makeup. It's not a bad picture; I think I was on the verge of laughing, but at least I don't look awkward!
 
I hope everyone has a good week.
 

25 February 2018

This week

My stitchy bug left me this week. I was pretty busy for someone who doesn't have a full-time job, so that is probably part of it. But I just didn't feel like working on Summer Ball.

Monday, the kids were both off school. Stitching with a very curious 17 month old is basically impossible, so I spent a lot of the day playing with them. I also met with my career transition counselor, who had some good ideas to refocus attention on me. I am hopeful those will start panning out.

One of the career paths people suggested to me when they found out I was losing my job was to work for the post office. I've taken the personality part of the test more than once and passed, but never had the time or courage to take the 473 exam. It's the most competitive exam for the federal government and 80-90% of people fail. If you fail, you can't retake the test for 6 months, so I had been putting it off because I would rather not try than fail sometimes. But, I need to start being brave. Cowardice is a luxury my family can not afford, same as pride, so I signed up to take the test. Tuesday was the big day. It was gorgeous out, but my test site was in Hagerstown, roughly 2 hours from the house, so I got started on my way right after getting the kids off to school. My truck might have been built to conquer the desert, it was not, however, meant to climb the Alleghany Mountains, plus I got wonky gas and the CEL came on (quite frustrating when I JUST SPENT $650 to get the thing turned off for another problem), so I was all in a dither when I got to the testing center, then spent 20 minutes circling the block, looking for the right parking lot spaces.

That test was so hard. I won't go into detail, just google "practice postal service exam" to see what it's like. I did my very best to follow the guidance that some of the YouTube videos (because there are YouTube videos for everything) had given: take your time, check your work when you can, and use the time you are given to memorize, even if you don't want to. And I gave myself a pep talk. Because I am smart enough to pass the test and my kids need me to take care of them. I need me to take care of me. But, being a realist, knowing how many people fail, I called my mom and told her not to get her hopes up. The nice thing is, you know within an hour if you passed or failed, so, after stopping at AC Moore to get some floss, I checked my email.

Y'all . . . .

I passed!

A 70 passes, but you need about a 76 to get an interview. I got higher than that. So I am applying for any close position. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I had two other job-search related activities this week. One interview and another test, closer. It wasn't as hard. I got a 95% on that one. Which I am fine either way with. And, knock on wood, the CEL went off when I put different gas in. The truck was running OK even with it on, I just don't like looking at it.

Friday, I started this little piece, just to get another finish. This is the Snowflake Kitten Mitten freebie, from CEC. I subbed out the aquas for Splendor and a metallic from Rainbow Gallery. I love the Splendor, but the Neon Rays doesn't work on 14 count. Poop! It looks good and it's finishing up SUPER QUICK. It feels smaller than the other mittens, but that can't be true, but maybe it just is fun to stitch and that is making a difference to me.


 
 
Hopefully I can get this done tonight. I really would like to get myself disciplined enough to sit down and spend a day just finishing stuff, but it's hard. There is always something that needs doing: dishes, laundry, trying to clean up small pieces or toys before someone steps on them (Left-brain stepped on a Little People figure of Lolo's a couple weeks ago and nearly fainted from pain--I told him Shopkins hurt way worse.
 
 
So that is all that is going on here. I hope everyone is having a great week.  

19 February 2018

My literary weekend

It was an interesting weekend here in Crazyville. Not a lot of stitching was done, but I added to my book collection!

I took another trip to A Book Thing on Saturday morning. They were calling for 3-6 inches of snow and I wanted to get there early, so that I could get to work on time and not be trying to drive in bad weather. I am driving my husband's H3 now, because my car has developed major issues and I am not driving the kids around in that anymore, but just because it has 4WD and looks like it could fight a war doesn't mean  I should be skidding around on ice in it!

It's so easy to get to, but parking is a pain(I know, stop complaining about the parking to get free books, RACHEL!). Last time, I could park on Greenmount Avenue (right by the shop), but Saturday, I had to park a block over and walk through an alley to get to the store. Usually, I would not walk through an alley in a city, even the county seat here (especially not our county seat), but it didn't look unsafe and there weren't a lot of places for someone to hide, so I took the chance. And saved myself some walking.

I will have to post a picture of my haul later, but I got a bunch of books off my Amazon wishlist, and some other books that may be interesting companions to things I have just read. I wish I had a lot of time to look around, because they have a lot of books, even recent releases. I have really gotten into Anne Tyler lately, because she sets her books in Baltimore and she is a master of capturing the city. When I read "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant," I just pictured the neighborhood it was set in and . . . pretty sure it's right near A Book Thing. I also found a nice copy of Widow of the South, which is a great book from 2006 or so, based on a true story. I think I ended up with 40 books or so--if you can, imagine me hauling myself through an alley with an enormous Disney Store totebag over my shoulder and my arms full of books!

It started snowing at about 2. One of the things I love about my job is that they understand I live in the back of beyond and need to be able to get home safely, so, as we are watching all this snow come down and beginning to accumulate, I made the choice to come home. It wasn't as bad up here while I was coming home, but we did end up with 2 or three inches and it was cold enough to freeze. So I settled up for a nice home, home with my family. And my new books!

Yesterday, I did the coolest thing. I live in a really rural county, but whoever is in charge of our library system schedules THE BEST programs. In October, they had someone from the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore (which is also the Maryland State Archives) come out and do a program on Edgar Allen Poe, and they always have REALLY GOOD authors come through for readings and book signings. A couple years ago, Wally Lamb came. He is my favorite living author (in case you're wondering, Pat Conroy is my all-time favorite), and I ended up crying in front of him while telling him how much I loved The Hour I First Believed.

Anyway, yesterday was Andrew Morton with his new biography about Wallis Simpson. I have read pretty much all of his books and really liked them. He was very nice in person. I have all my signed books personalized to my kids and he enquired after K's name. HOW COOL!  He discussed Wallis' life and even told us she spent time at a relative's farm out in this area.

I have already started on the book. It's really good so far. Easy to read and interesting. I will let you know how it turns out.

12 February 2018

FInish #2 for the year

I have another finish. It looks odd to see only two finishes at the mid-point of February, but I know my reasons! Sorry for the bad picture!

 
 Love You Forever
Forever in My Heart Freebie
stitched on Monaco with Anchor floss of my choosing
 
 
I spent much of my past "vacation" week working on a cottage design by Victoria Sampler, but I had kitted up this sweet freebie the summer before last in two options, this one and one that is all blue and pink. At some point, it was a freebie on the Wichelt website, but not sure if it's still available.  I'm trying to be a more adventurous stitcher and not use only the called-for colors, and I think this is one that could easily be altered to fit the recipient. At least this colorway worked out well. I plan on doing this as a little door hanger for K to put on her bedroom door, but will also stitch it in the blues and pinks for her little brother. I think he will like it, even with it not being Mickey Mouse--Lolo LOVES Mickey Mouse!
 
Today I am back working on Summer Ball. I am trying not to be overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done. But at least I got about 50 stitchies in. 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