12 February 2017

January Roundup and

January was a pretty good stitch month for me.    I had 4 finishes for me, and they weren't particularly easy finishes for me.

Summer House
Country Cottage Needleworks freebie
LNS kit up with suggested threads
This was an older freebie that I have had for a while and just decided to start over the Christmas holidays. I finished it on New Year's Day. It's pretty sweet and will end up a cube finish.

July Floss Tag
Needle's Content
stitched with called-for threads on 32 count evenweave
This is another one of those floss tag things. I really want to get this project done. I like these designs, I just do not like the physical process of stitching them.  Because 2/3 of it is a line border and I hate stitching those. There, I have said it. I don't know why I have felt so awkward about admitting that. But I only have 6 more to do, and then the finishing. The finishing isn't hard in and of itself, it actually maybe takes 2 hours to make this into a floss tag, but I also balk at that. I think these are things I can work on while the baby is napping or at lunch breaks, but I really do want to get this completed this year. I just have to get the tool that lets you put in grommets so I can get it done.

 How to be A Mean Mother
Lizzie Kate
stitched with called-for threads and fabric

This was a gift from a friend after I had Lolo. This is not the best phot I chose this as my January 1st start. I think this is the only January 1st start I have ever completed. I love it.  I am going to hang it between the kids' rooms. I just have to have it framed. I plan on doing her "Promise Me" as a gift to the NICU for the excellent care they gave to our family. It won't be ready for this year, but maybe next year's NICU reunion.

Winnie the Pooh blanket kit
I have talked about this one. I finished it and took it to the hospital last week. It's very comfy for him, just a light blankie he can use in the car or at daycare. Lolo enjoyed it in the way only small children can show their appreciation--he spit up on it. It's OK, though. It came out. I still love him, LOL.
And these are my finishes for Feburary.

Year of the Dragon
Dragon Dreams 2012 JCS Ornament Issue
stitched with called for threads on opalescent linen
I have been wanting to do this for Someone Small since she was born. I didn't want to do a Baby's  1st Christmas in the traditional pink and blue for either of my kids, since they have those in other materials. I already stitched Lolo's ornament, so it was time to get on the ball with this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Dragon Dreams designs and I think this is the coolest one of the all the JCS designs. Someone Small is not that big of a fan of it yet, but she will. Hopefully . . . LOL If not, just leave it at my house.

Happily Ever After SAL (January Block)
Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery
called for threads on PTP Crystal Barnwood Lugana
First and foremost, I need to say that I am passionately in love with this fabric. I want, like, 20 yards of it. This has been a kind of challenging stitch. I didn't realize they were releasing the new parts on the first of the month, so I got the second part and had done very little on the first part. So I worked like a frenzied ferret this week, then realized I had miscounted the border and then had to pick out and restitch all that flower border. But I have finished the first block. I am going to try to work on the second block this week, and maybe try to do some of the March block border. I don't know though. I kind of want to work on that border when I get to March.
Other than that, it has been a busy week or so. After many attempts to get him to take a bottle, we finally decided it was in the baby's best interest to put him on a G-tube until he develops the ability to coordinate all his swallowing reflex. It was not an easy choice to make for him, but he turned 4 months old this week, and my insurance is not going to continue to pay for him to be in hospital. So he had the surgery on Friday, and he should come home this week. It was amazing to see him without his nose tube in. He has never not had some sort of tube in his nose. And I have seen him without it twice for maybe 5 minutes, so I am learning my baby's face. And I love it.
He did well. He didn't feel too well on Friday and not so hot yesterday, but this morning, he had a smile for me. He is just the happiest little guy. I went in the other night and he was lying in his crib, smiling. I mean, how awesome is that? He has such joy in life.  I know some of it is that he doesn't know this is not how most babies start their lives, and he doesn't know anything different, but he can choose to be fussy and unpleasant, and he chooses to be gentle and sweet. It inspires me. I can't wait to show him the world.

29 January 2017

Working towards another finish

This is my project for the week.
I have no idea what the actual name of the kit is called, I know I bought it when I had just gotten back into stitching. It's been kicking around my house since 1999, maybe 2000 at the latest.  I thought it would be lovely to wrap one of the babies I thought I would have with my then-boyfriend in, but obviously we didn't have kids together. I finished the stitching years ago, but didn't know how to finish it without a sewing machine at first, and then it was a pretty intimidating project to attempt to finish. I am not good at tying knots, and the idea of tying the knots all around the aghan was distasteful. So, it got put away and forgotten about.
In the meantime, I did two afghans: Santa's Journey, from an old issue of the UK Cross Stitcher, and this cat afghan from the American Cross Stitcher. I had done a freebie tabletopper from Dutch Treat Designs that used nun-stitching to edge the finish as well and I liked it. It seemed like a more pleasing option to finish. So to find out you could edge an afghan!  But it's not a quick technique, so I still didn't use it.  I probably wouldn't have used it on the other two except they were fair entries.  So it stayed in the drawer.
When I found out I was pregnant, I remembered it was there, and what I wanted to do with it, so it came home, where it spent the summer by my couch . . . Do you see where I am going with this? 
Anyway, now that we may be starting to get closer to the end of our NICU stay, I really want to get this done to cover Lolo when he comes home. I started working on the edging a while ago, but I miscounted threads, so all that came out and I restarted it. So far it seems to be moving along. There are 24 block-lengths to do, I have 9 completed. I should have it done by mid week, then I will have this washed and ready to go when we need it. I am not planning on backing this one. I find putting the batting in makes it stiff, and I can't find a flannel I like, nor do I have time to put it on correctly. This project is far from perfect, but it's intended to be used. It was stitched with love and hope, so it needs to be useful.
I have found out that this is not one of the more commonly-known stitches, so I have included a diagram tutorial on how to do it. One of the tips I picked up through the year is to take the threads that are going to be pulled off the sides to do the stitch--it matches the afghan, you're using threads that would be thrown away, AND it costs nothing extra. I like the look of it. Just don't pull them from close to where you're stitching til you are done that side.
So that is all that is going on here. I hope everyone is having an enjoyable stitching week.

22 January 2017

2016 year in review

I am so far behind in updating my stitching projects. It's almost the end of January, and I haven't had a chance to finalize what I did last year.

2016 Finishes

  • 30 December-A Child is Born-JCS 2016 Ornament Issue
  • 20 December--Sleeping Peace Fox-JCS Ornament issue 2016
  • 17 October-Brittercup-JCS Ornament issue 2011
  • 6 October-Friendsheep freebie
  • 28 September-Mitten Mitten-Cricket Collection freebie
  • 21 September-In My Daughter's Eyes-custom chart
  • 4 September-Snow Kid-JCS ornament Preview 2014
  • 31 AugustHallelujah-Little House Needleworks
  • 10 August-Noel freebie
  • 4 August-Winter mini-block-Hinzeit
  • 15 July-Snow Baby-SamSarah-JCS Ornament Issue 2014
  • 8 July-Little Fan Freebie-Cricket Collection
  • 6 July-Icky Spooky
  • 29 June-Salem Sisters-Plum Street Samplers
  • 22 June-Delivering Summer-Homespun Elegance
  • 16 June-Haunted Tea Party-Brooke's Books
  • 27 May-Celebrations-Summer--Country Cottage Needleworks
  • 10 May-Birdsong 1-Prairie Schooler
  • 23 April-Autumn Shadows-Gathering Place
  • 13 April--The Gift-Blackberry Lane Designs
  • 24 March-Rabbits-Prairie Schooler
  • 5 March-Frost is on the Pumpkin-Just Nan
  • 3 March-Santa's Pets-BH&G 2009 Cross stitch Calendar
  • 28 January-Kitty's Life-Prairie Grove Peddler
  • 21 January-Fox Ornament-Bucilla
  • 20 January-All Dressed Up for the Holidays-JCS 2005-Vermilion Stitchery
  • 15 January-Language of Flowers-UK Cross Stitcher
  • 12 January-Autumn-KissyCross
  • 8 January-Pumpkin-CM Designs

I had 29 finishes last year. 17 of them were Bin of Good Intentions finishes, things that had been started and put aside. I am pretty proud of that. Since I had at least 80 WIPs and UFOs at the start of the year, That is over a 20% reduction in that number, and it included 2 very large projects: Santa's Pets and In My Daughter's Eyes. In 2015, I kitted up SC Noah's Sub, but have never started it, because I set myself the rule that I could not start it until I had finished my Dimensions wolf cub kit, Sleepy Hollow, the 12 monthly floss tags a designer put out in 2009 and the above-listed charts. I only have to finish the floss tags at this point to start the project, which is awesome because getting 4 large projects completed in just over a year is a big deal for me.

I don't have any set plans for 2017. I started the Frosted Pumpkin Happily Ever After SAL this week. I am stitching it on Crystal Barnwood Lugana from PTP and I have to say, as of now, I like it. I think it's going to be a project I can complete while Logan is still a tiny guy.  I will try to post pictures this week of it. I also have a project of seasonal snowmen from Sanman to work on. I noticed a couple people on Flosstube were planning on doing seasonal projects, and only working on the season they were in during that time, so I figured I could do that. Sanmans aren't that complicated, so it should be something I can do quickly. And I want to focus on finishing things. I actually completed 4 projects this year, the pillow I showed in my October post, a small winter pin pillow, and two ornaments. I am getting a little more comfortable with my sewing machine, and starting to learn some better finishing tips (Twisted Stitcher's YouTube videos are wonderful, but I also have some exceptional finishers in my stitching group), so that helps.

I know that I'm not going to be able to have a lot of finishes this year. Not with a small baby who will require more doctor visits than typical. Not with trying to get the house ready to move. But I'm learning to live a little more contently. Every stitch is one more than I had. And that's OK.

21 January 2017

My life now

Since the last time I posted, my life has become very different. Most of the people that read my blog know me via other forms of social media, and so they know that, at 9:29PM on October 7th, our lovely little boy, Logan James, was born. They had wanted to try to keep me pregnant for another 5 weeks, but my blood pressure soared out of control and he was born to save my life. I was all by myself; Left-brain had been in to visit, but he took Someone Small home, and the call came just when he walked in the door, 45 minutes away. He wanted to know what he should do, I told him that he wouldn't be able to get back in time, and he couldn't come into the OR with our 4 year old, so it was what it was.

The anaesthesiologist was my birth coach. The entire high-risk staff was awesome. My OB was able to do the c-section for me; he teaches at the hospital once a month and it was his night to be there. Someone was watching out for me. The nurses were talking to me and letting me know Lolo was OK. And we'd get through this. They were actually playing music and talking about their weekend plans while everything was happening and it was bizarrely comforting. This is what that team does and they do it well enough that they can chat about the weekend.  

 He was 2 lbs, 4 oz, small, but not with any real health issues. Since then, he has been in the NICU, growing and getting stronger. He did have some issues coming off the nasal cannula and the caffeine they give preemies, but those resolved by Thanksgiving. He is now having some feeding issues. The doctors are still trying to decide if they want to send him home on an implanted feeding tube or if it's just a matter of waiting. He also has reflux issues, which could be adding to the problems--the NG tube he is on now holds his stomach sphincter open and allows acid to go up and then when he eats, it irritates his tummy. Feeding is a slow process for him and stresses him out. He is doing a little better now that he is on some reflux meds, but it's a slow process.

 I have been off work since I went into the hospital.  8 weeks of that was healing from the surgery, but I had an addition time that was unpaid. A lot of parents with long term NICU patients will go back to work, and then take the rest of the time when the baby comes home, but I did it all at once. I was SO sure that he would be home by Christmas that I didn't want to go back for two weeks, then go back out for 8 weeks. So I took the time, made sure we had a beautiful holiday ready for him. We were even trying to figure out how to get Christmas pictures of him, would it be possible to get them before Christmas, or do them after the holiday and pretend. And then he didn't come home. And it was devastating. His presents were still under the Christmas tree when I took it down earlier this week. One of the NICU nurses gave us a tremendous gift of photographing him in a Santa hat and wintry ensemble, so we have our Christmas photos. It was a little piece of "normal" and I treasure that. 
They have all been so kind to us, even when I walked in that room, looking like death warmed over, sat by his warmer, and cried because the future is so unclear, and I just want to know he will be OK. Several times I have had to remind myself or have friends remind me, to "Be still and know that I am God." This is Lolo's journey, this is how he was meant to come into the world. I am so very grateful for the time I have been given to sit with him and enjoy him. I am so proud of him, honored he was given to me to love.

I go back to work next week. I had the legal option to leave my job to take care of my child, but we need my income and benefits, so it's back to work.  It is going to be a hard transition; I went from 60 to 0 overnight when I went in the hospital and now back to 60.  At least for now. My career stuff is up in the air as well. I am trusting that this is happening for a reason.

What kills me the most is that all this has happened because of a disease no one talks about. Before this, it was something that killed Lady Sybil on Downton Abbey, not something I thought would affect me. A lot of people we talk to since this happened have had family members affected, but no one can give a good explanation for why it happens.  75,000 women and 500,000 babies die from pre-eclampsia every year and the best explanation I could get from a medical person was that my body was allergic to the placenta. One doctor even asked me if my children were with the same father. YES!  There isn't even a decent treatment for it other than delivering the baby, which, as we see, isn't really a great option when you are only 28 weeks along in pregnancy. And I know it has to be frustrating. Obstetricians work to get babies in the world healthy and safe, and to see a tiny person fight to live has to hurt. 

So I decided to chronicle our journey on Facebook. I post Lolo's pictures. Even the early ones that are painful to look at because he has this worried look on his face and he is so tiny--his head fit with room to spare into my palm.  I want to bring attention to this, I want to show our journey as we recover from this awful change in our plans. We survived pre-eclampsia twice, it has to mean something. We didn't live to be the same as I was the day before it happened.  My hope is that maybe someone sees this and it spurs them to be a researcher and figure out why it happens. Because no mom should have to wait three days to hold her baby to keep him from having a brain bleed. No mom should have to choose her life over her baby's health. No mom should have to worry that, when she walks out of a NICU, she won't see her baby again.

So that's me in a general sense. I have been stitching. I will keep stitching. Tomorrow, I will probably post something stitch, I just wanted to explain where I have been and what I have been through.

07 October 2016

Hospital stitching

I have been placed in the hospital for pregnancy complications. I will be here for the rest of my pregnancy, however long that is. Left-brain brought me some stitching supplies (see, it's a good thing to keep random stuff in bags around the house) and I stitched this yesterday. It's "friendsheep" by Shepherds Bush.  It was easy to do.  I am giving it to DD, since she is having a rough time with me being here. We talk about our hearts all the time, and she knows my heart is always with her, so now she has a heart she can look at from me, til I get home at least, hopefully with her brother.

As far as that, today is not a good day to talk about what is going on. I've been here since Tuesday with blood pressure. Yesterday was a good day, but I got very little sleep last night because Wee Man was being monitored and then, having nothing better to do with my time, I realized today is eleven years since the accident that took my gramma, and I got to freaking out that something is wrong with my baby and he will come today, way too soon.  We have 18 hours to get through so it will be a long day. I hate being here. I hate being tested all the time. I know it's for the best, but I hate it. Tomorrow will be better, I bet

02 October 2016

New Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Start

I realize this picture is truly awful, so my apologies. This aida, from a yard or so I had in my stash, is quite wrinkly. I joined the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery National Park Birthday Club this year. I thought it would be fun because we have spent so much time at national parks, battlefields and seashores, and I love so much that we have this access to these beautiful places. It's a Mystery SAL, and we have gotten the first two pieces. I haven't printed the second one off yet, I would like to get this first piece finished, at least the center, before doing that. I am not 100% sold on this fabric, but I had it, and I see people making adventurous choices with their fabric, so I am trying. If it's ugly in the end, I'll just hide it, right? I have to say, this has not been an easy stitch for me. I was pretty tired this week. I am getting to that stage of pregnancy where things start to hurt that usually never hurt. I had to tell Left-Brain I can't take our daughter to swimming lessons anymore because the chairs are uncomfortable to me and I can't lean over to help her get dressed if she needs help after classes. Trying to do that was causing back spasms and wears me out. I didn't have this issue with DD, but every kid is different--I just wish I could figure out how two pounds of person takes up so much room and weighs so much. And I just felt ugly this week and not in a mood to do anything but hide in bed and read. None of my pants fit and things were uncomfortable, but I seem to have pulled out of that. My mom took me birthday shopping yesterday and I own 3 pairs of jeans that fit and are cute and comfy, along with three new shirts. She told me to put on some perfume and lipstick today and feel good, so I did. And I do.

24 September 2016


 In My Daughter's Eyes
Custom Chart from  personal photo
stitched with DMC on 18 ct aida

After almost 4 1/2 years, I finished the photo of my daughter and I this past week. I really wanted to have it done before the Wee Man gets here, so I pulled it out Labor Day weekend and it's been my focus. I am quite proud of this finish. Not only because it is pretty, but it was also a lot of work (although when I look at how large it is, compared to how long it took, I shake my head). I just think when I started it, back in July 2012, it was a little beyond my skillset at the time. Finishing Santa's Pets earlier this year gave me the confidence to know I could finish this. Now, maybe, I can work on some of my other full-coverage pieces without getting so intimidated. But, I am happy that this was one of the 5 projects on my list that I determined I had to finish before starting Noah's Sub. The others were Soul Music by Dimensions, Sleepy Hollow by Cricket Collection, Santa's Pets, and the year of floss tags by Needle's Content. It seemed like a lot to ask of myself last summer, but, out of them, only the Needle's Content remains to be done, and I have 4 of those stitched already.  So, it's possible that Noah's Sub will get started next year, but later, probably. Heck, getting two large projects done in one year is impressive!

I thought I would rotate Little Wings back in and make that my weekday stitch, but I adopted a UFO from stitching group, a Precious Moments baby blanket, that would be nice to have for Wee Man, so that is going to be my weekday stitch. It shouldn't take too long, and it will be nice for him. The already-completed stitching is beautiful, so I am trying to match it.

I am also trying to follow the Keeping Christmas challenge, to stitch an ornament a week. It has not been easy--somehow I find myself wanting to do more involved ornaments. I have been working on Mitten Mitten, a freebie from Cricket Collection from 2009, it has taken about 3 weeks of weekends. Ooops! I am stitching it in Sullivan's floss. I have used that floss before, but I am still up in the air about it. Part of me really likes the colors--this ornament is very cheerful and luscious--and I like the way it feels. It doesn't feel like regular cotton floss, more like linen, and it just feels very crisp and nice, maybe a little fluffier than regular DMC or Anchor. But they don't have all the colors DMC has. Maybe if I ordered it from them, or bought at an LNS, but I got mine at Hancock, and, considering no one seems to use it for anything, every time I went in there, the floss bins were a horrible mess and they were missing colors. Even if it had the number on the bin. I wish my LNS would carry it, because I do like it for designs with minimal shading. As it is, I am being creative with this finish. But it will be personal! Do you all use Sullivans? Do you like it?
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