04 November 2015

Sleepy Hollow is FINALLY finished

A little over 8 years ago, I started this project.  I never dreamed it would take so long in the beginning, I never dreamed it would end in the end.  LOL.  But I put the floss away and took the picture and I have the finish!

I do have a few notes for anyone thinking of stitching it.  Take the leap of faith and invest in a teal hand-dyed.  You will need 2 fat halves. Don't go lighter or more purple blue. The color makes it look stormy and spooky and the oranges and greys will pop. Maybe choose a darker grey, if you can't do the teal.  But I love this Loch. This is my go-to Halloween fabric now.

You will need more than one skein of London Fog. Which is a pity because it is the ugliest color Weeks ever made and you will probably never find another project that will ever use it. You could sub out for CC Bunny Honey or GAST Woodsmoke, but toss that against the other colors and your fabric to see how it works.

So that is that.  I love this project. I keep imagining how it will look finished as a stand up. I think awesome, right?  Now to find the fabric!

22 September 2015

More pictures (new and improved)

I thought I would share a few pictures of my current WIPs. I'm still trying to figure out how to safely put photos on the laptop--I don't have an anti-virus on there at the moment, so I'm a little worried about hooking my phone up to it to get the ones I take off. I should just buck up and buy the anti-virus, shouldnt I?

Plum Street Samplers
40 count linen with recommended fibers

Something possessed me to start this a few weeks ago. I have had this chart since it came out, and I also have the "sequel".  I just love them.  The mix of the hand-dyed floss and the 40 count is proving a challenge.  I had to frog out that pumpkin and restitch him. But I can't wait to see what this will look like when done. I have a lot of these witch charts, and I would like to set up a display of them, but the question becomes . . . are they just Halloween charts, or is there a history lesson in here?  These people were innocent of the crime. So is it appropriate to just have them up at Halloween, or should it be up all year. But, if it's up all year, would people think it odd?  Hmmm . . .


  Sleepy Hollow
Cricket Collection
Picture This Plus Loch with recommended Weeks and DMC floss
My progress on Sleepy Hollow, the final panel. I find the trees very confusing to work on because of the hand-dyeds. If this was regular floss I would just stitch the outline and fill in, but I can't do it with the Weeks, so it's slow progress. I usually do a length of black or hand-dyeds and then work on something else and come back when I am steeled for battle. I really can not wait to see this finished. It has been such a long project and I want it set out, not in a box in pieces. So we'll see. It's my push project, along with the one below.

Garden of Eerie
Plum Street Samplers
DMC on cream evenweave.

My progress on our wedding sampler. Since we'll be celebrating our 5th anniversary in 3 weeks, it's time that I get this done. I feel like I should feel awkward stating this is our wedding sampler, since it's not hearts and flowers and wedding-y, but . . . There's a reason we got married in October, and I don't think a quirky wedding sampler means we don't respect the institution of marriage. After all, we've lasted 5 years at this. I  really don't know if I will have this done in time, but I'm going to do my best.  I do like it, but I am not a fan of stitching black trees.  I seem to be stitching a lot of them lately. 

No Spend September has been a bust, but I am trying to minimize spending from here on out.  It's not easy to turn around a thought process, but I'm trying. I've been in the fabric store once this month, and that only because I needed something really badly. I bought some ribbon the other night at Walmart, but only because I want to finish something into a no-sew cube, and I just didn't have the right ribbon. I'm not willing to compromise the quality of a finish to save 50 cents. That's ridiculous.  But I am also finding a lot of UFOs and having them to work on for a few months makes it easier to not spend.

02 September 2015

No-spend September

How many times on this blog have I mentioned that I want to get myself in a position to buy a house? Did I tell y'all that a few months ago, I bought a house? Or rather, I bought half of the house Left-brain owned when I met him?  Well I did; we refinanced and my name is now on the deed . . . and the mortgage. I guess you could consider it a killer belated wedding gift from my husband, part of that "with all that I have and all that I am" clause we said as part of our wedding vows, and I am thrilled to be a homeowner, but, ummm, it was a little shocking to look at my credit report and see that figure on there.  And I owe other money, due to poor choices I made at the stupid age of 23 and how that rippled down my financial life (If I have one piece of advice to offer young people, it would be that, if you want to break up with a romantic partner and don't know how to do it, loan them money, the more the better. Those people will leave you in a month.), and it's a rough path to go down. Some of it has been spent on legit purposes, we've made some badly needed repairs to the house, but . . . I read something in a book that people who are perpetually in debt choose to seek ways to bring in more revenue, not ways to cut their current expenses, so, starting now, I choose to cut our expenses by not spending money, because we need a new house more than I need a lot of the stuff I buy.

So I am doing no-spend September. It was online. People were discussing it being done in terms of craft supplies. I figured that was too easy. So I am just not spending, and, hopefully, it will turn into No-spend 2015-2016. I figure this is a good way to refocus on using what I have and finding ways to entertain myself in other ways than shopping. 

That said, I did renew my JCS subscription today. Just for one year though. I agonized over this decision. I really don't stitch that much out of those magazines anymore, and what I do stitch is either the Halloween issue or the Christmas issue, not sure that is worth the subscription. And I gave up all my other subscriptions and magazine addiction after Someone Small was born, it just seemed like an unnecessary expense. I'm going to think about this very carefully this year and see if it's really worth the continued expense.

And I paid for the Cross Stitch Christmas book. I enjoy it and they're lovely designs. I just kitted up a bunch of designs out of there, and, if I had to choose how to spend my cross stitch dollars, that is it. Though I would be pleased if Better Homes and Gardens started issuing a large hardback Halloween book every year. Or patriotic. Could you imagine?  Oh, how cool would that be?

I also wanted to take a second to pass on a really cool place I found in Baltimore. The city has not gotten the best of media attention lately, but there are good things happening there, like every other city in the US.  We have the coolest FREE used bookstore, A Book Thing. It's only open on the weekends, but it's open EVERY WEEKEND.  AND THE BOOKS ARE FREE.   The place was started when a bartender found out that the teachers who patronized the bar he worked at were upset because Baltimore wanted teachers to have books in the classroom, but would not pay for said books to be there. (As someone who graduated from the Maryland public school system in the 90s, there was never money for things you actually might carry into adulthood. We had no driver's ed or heat in my high school). So he took his tip money and bought BOOKS, and told the teachers to take what they wanted. And it has grown into this non-profit where unwanted books can be donated and passed on to anyone who can carry them out of the building. It's amazing and packed every time I go there.  I've found things from my Amazon wishlist, and some books that I wanted. The last time I was there, I got two books that, new, would have cost $50, and there was no cost. The only caveat is that you can not resell the books, but most people just donate back or pass them on. We have a bookshelf at work, so I can pass them on that way, if I don't want them. They also take donations, so a good way to get rid of books!  Yes, I checked for stitching books, haven't found any . . . .

So that's life here. I am starting a new SAL from with the Cross Stitch and Discuss group on Facebook tomorrow, a By the Bay SAL. I have the Fall Mystery Sampler kitted up, so that is my choice. Will try to post a picture of it.

Til then, see you guys later

24 August 2015

Picture post!

I know, two posts from me in a month? What is this? I wanted to share some of my recent finishes. I focused on one project all summer, my Soul Music kit, but I got a couple other things done. Mostly smalls.

I finished this design earlier in the summer. It's by Falling Star Primitives. I want to make it into a pillow for Halloween, but I haven't found the right fabric. Everything in the colors I want doesn't match the prim feel of the piece and they don't make the more prim-y fabrics in the colors I want. I will keep looking:
I think I finished this in May. Miss Kitty's Dragons, by Just Nan:

This took a lot longer than it should have, but it was fiddly. At least I finished it without losing the charms. I think we all know this is a very real threat in my house, LOL. Not sure what I'll do with it. Does anyone else stitch stuff without a purpose for it? Other than to enjoy it?

And my masterpiece, Soul Music, by Dimensions:

I have had this kit forever. I think I bought it in 2004 or thereabouts. Everyone was posting it and I thought it was so beautiful. You don't see it so much anymore. I understand why. It's all tweeding and half stitches. Like 95% half stitches. I don't want to do half stitches for a while. It was for a stitch-a-long on Cross Stitch and Discuss on Facebook. If it had been whole stitches, I wouldn't have finished it so quickly, but then again, I might have been able to count better and not had to rip out so much. I will give Dimensions credit, they give plenty of floss.

I was also in another SAL, but didn't finish.  I was working on our wedding sampler. The wolf puppies were more important. I hope to pick up the sampler and work on it some in the next few weeks, but I'm not sure.

I have actually been kitting up a lot of things lately. I went through and found a bunch of projects that needed specialty floss and splurged one night at my LNS. I felt so decadent, LOL.  And then, a month or so ago, I decided to kit up a few projects with Sullivans. I have a love/hate relationship with that particular line of floss. I love the look it brings to prim pieces, because it doesn't have the same sheen that DMC has, it's more like the linen flosses they used to sell and I love it for things like Country Cottage, but I don't like that you just can't convert more complicated DMC to it. They may say you can, but I have made that mistake, and if there is shading involved, it doesn't work so well. Not to mention, only Hancock carries it, and the closest Hancock is disorganized and doesn't keep the floss stocked. On Someone Small's birthday, we drove to the one in Glen Burnie and picked up a bunch for some older charts. Going to see how this works out. I saw the special in JCS about a whole set of it for $99, and that seems like a good deal, but . . . . I have to see how this works out.

Friday night, I kitted up Michael Jolly's Little Women design. It was a PITA. I really get annoyed when charts don't list the floss in order.  It makes it such a joy to run back in forth in front of the DMC, trying to make sure I have the right floss. Especially with a toddler in the shopping cart. But I also picked up the stuff to do a reindeer pillow from Cross Stitch Christmas 2012 in my new favorite Christmas colorway, turquoise and true red, with rubbed bronze beads. It will be stunning. As I was driving home, I realized I didn't get much done out of the giant box of projects this year, and here I am kitting up more, but I think this is truly it for a while. At least I hope. I did kit up Noah's Sub, but I have determined I can not start it til I have 5 larger UFOs completed: Soul Music (now done), Santa's Pets (still plugging away), Sleepy Hollow (one more part to go), In My Daughter's Eyes (half done) and my Needle's Content floss tags (a set of 12, I've done 3.)  Those may be my 2016 focus pieces, but I'm not sure yet. They do need to be finished. I'm kind of tired of the house being full of large UFOs.

Anyone else starting to formulate their 2016 goals?

12 August 2015

RIP Beazer

A sad post today.

On 1 August, we made the decision to let my sweet Caesar, known to the Internet and us as Beazer, cross the Rainbow Bridge. He had been fighting, gallantly and elegantly, hemangiosarcoma  since last October. We were told 6 weeks back then, and he gave us 10 months. It was a gift. I would have given anything for the chance to have that much time with any of the other pets I have lost, or my dad, but it doesn't make it any easier. I miss him. I was there when he left. He was as kind and loving and strong as he had ever been. Just hard to sit in a room with your dog and realize the only breathing in the room is yours. My daughter keeps asking when he is coming home. We told her he was in Heaven, but she didn't realize he couldn't come back. I told her she can wave to him, she just won't see him, but he's busy finding another dog for her to love and when it's time, he'll send him down to her. I probably say that more to myself than her. This is the first time since 1990 I haven't had a dog in the house I lived in, but I'm not ready for another yet.

Anyway . . . .

Since I have been laptop-less, I have been getting more adventurous in my social media. I joined Instagram for one thing. Still learning how it works, but it's phone friendly. My username is Rachel.spory (I know, exciting and unique, but it's hard to figure out who people are sometimes and my family is on there as well, so it's not hard to find me this way). If you're on Instagram, follow me!

I finished a major WIP the other day. I joined Cross Stitch and Discuss on Facebook and they host a lot of SALs.  I did a Dimensions one, since I have so many kits and need to start one or twenty. I chose Soul Music, a kit of wolf cubs howling. It was all tweeding and half stitches, but I managed to finish it in the time of the SAL. I will post a pic as quick as I can.

I'm still trying to figure out this laptop. It's funny how you get used to not having a real computer to use, and then, when given one, it's intimidating. But I'm trying to get back into it. It will just take a little time.

06 June 2015


This will probably be a post that most of you think is silly, but it was hard for me.

I think I've made it pretty clear, I'm a weirdo thread hoarder. And I hoard kitted up projects . . .

But lately, as part of my re-evaluating a lot of things, I'm starting to realize how much money I have tied up in specialty flosses kitted up in projects that I don't know when I'll start. And then I go to kit something up that I really want to do, and I can t find it, so I rebuy it. It's a never ending annoying cycle.

Right around the time we got engaged, I kitted up Witches' Hollow.  It takes something like 50 skeins of floss for 40 count fabric and the idea of spending over $100 on floss for one project has always kind of flustered me, not to mention I don't stitch on 40 count because I can't see the holes. So I knew I needed bigger and then I got to realizing I didn't probably have enough floss and it just kind of swelled into a situation where I couldn't do what I wanted to do, and so, did nothing. And then we got engaged and married and had the baby, and money needed to go other places. So it's been sitting there. Along with several other projects in similar situations.

I have some things I have intentions of stitching soon, and it's back to the same old, don't have the floss nonsense. And I know it's tied up in these big projects that have not much chance of getting completed soon. So I made a choice that flies against my comfort zone. I unkitted Witches Hollow. It felt like I was giving up and somehow failed, but I told myself, we are saving for a bigger house. And every $2.25 worth of floss I don't have to buy because it's freed from a project is money for the house. And that seemed to help some . . .

22 May 2015

Our trip to the LNS last night

I haven't been to my LNS in a while. I went before Christmas, but have been really holding back on buying new charts and things. When I do want to kit up a chart, I've been doing it in DMC. From my stash. I have ordered a few things, but very little. But I decided just as one can not diet without occasionally having a little bite of cake, one can't be on a stash diet and never splurge. And sometimes, you just HAVE to get the threads the chart calls for.

When I was going through my chart stash, I found all the old Birds of a Feather french seasonal charts. They were beautiful Picasso-like images of girls, all done in Weeks Dye Works. I collected them, and never bought the threads. I'm glad I bought the charts because BOAF went out of business, and there is nothing like them out there, but I've hesitated to start them because of the cost of the floss. And I know I could do them in DMC, but it wouldn't be as nice. Part of the allure of them is the wispy fragile effect the variegated threads give the design.  So, I sucked it up last night and descended on the LNS with my list for one of them--L'Ete--and some other charts that I needed the threads for . . . and my darling, not quite 3 year old daughter  . . .

She was as good as a toddler can be. Oh, wait, she's not a toddler, she tells me, she's a kid. I took a long her Ariel toy for her to play with while I shopped. She had other plans.

I got the threads first.  She kept asking me what they were for. I kept telling her for stitching and please not to touch them. I know I dance a fine line in mom-head because I tell her not to touch things, but, I mean, this were beautiful hand-dyed threads and she's a kid, and sometimes, as much as I want to encourage her, I have to remember, she can't be touching up on everything. I put everything back she messed up--I don't want to make it seem like I'm a parent that doesn't watch my kid or take responsibility for her, and I don't want her to be an unwelcome visitor to the store. I only kitted up three of my projects, but I figured that was enough, and it was asking a lot of a little girl to sit quietly. But I could not resist buying a skein of Weeks Old Glory and Mother's Day, and one of Gentle Art Jasmine. SO pretty.

They were having a sale, and we perused the selections. I bought Blackbird Designs Raise a Glass of Cheer and Heartstring Samplers Baby It's Cold Outside at 20% off, and they had grab bags. Now, you know how I love a grab bag and when someone says for $9.99 you get $85 worth of supplies . . . I bought two. And they're good. I'll do a separate post on them.  Well worth the money.

My girl loves her some witches, and you never see how many witch cross stitch there are til you go to an LNS with a witch fanatic. She pointed to Mill Hill Hocus Pocus Trilogy Mimi and said, "Will you buy this for me?"  and did the same for Magical Spell, another Mill Hill kit. I agreed, because she had been so good for her and they're pretty reasonable. And then I found Spooky Hollow by Lindsay Lane Designs and so we got another witch in our basket!

Other designs I picked up were:
Welcome Spring by LHN which was $6.75 and had 3 skeins of pretty Classic Colorworks.
Just Nan Bunny Shower (which I will make some of the bunnies grey and brown)
Country Cottage Singin' In the Spring--loved the colors
CCN Seasonal Celebrations-Spring. I wanted Summer, but they just had spring. Someone on Youtube had finished this one, and it was gorgeous. I love her color choices. So cheery. Just what we need after that long dismal winter.
Pine Mountain--Perhaps Christmas.  Kay-kay wanted to buy more of these, but I told her we could just get one. We chose this one.
She also picked out a Christmas ornament and said, "We can make this one for Daddy. He will love it!"  So . . . we'll be making that one.

While we were checking out, I saw that they had the Owl Birth Sampler, by Cherry Hill Stitchery. I am not an owl person, but I love this chart, and I bought it. I have a new nephew, and he might enjoy it.

And then, when we were all done, and back in the car, we realized we could not find Ariel. We ran back in and searched everywhere. And of course my daughter is freaking out and sobbing because Ariel is her most favorite Disney character at this point--work did Little Mermaid for our holiday show this past year and I took her, and she was mesmerized. As an artist, I can appreciate that that show will have an impact on her life, because I was enraptured by Annie when I was not that much older than her, and it's probably one of the reasons I started singing-- I wanted to be Annie. So, losing Ariel. The ladies were helping us, and took my info, and were so sweet, but we couldn't find it. Because it was in the car, it had fallen behind Kaydence in her carseat. We went back in and thanked them for helping us.

We had a couple more errands to run, so it was late when we got home last night . . . and I have a lot of stitching to do.

I don't intend to do a lot of big hauls like this anymore any time soon. I made a decision yesterday--again--to refocus on the things I have kitted up and started, so I can put the flosses from those projects back into circulation.  It's just nice to occasionally have something new.

But that's all from here for now. When I charge up the camera battery, I'll do a post about my current WIPs..

Have a great weekend. Happy Memorial Day!
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