19 July 2013

The great freebie roundup 2013

About a week ago, I got sick and tired of seeing stacks of paper--my printed freebie charts--all over the house. There were a lot in the office, and I run a fan in there to keep it cool, since it's a small room, and I have all my computer equipment in there and it gets hot in there by early afternoon. When the fan started blowing, the papers would rustle, and . . . in case I have never shared this before, one of my personality quirks (along with not walking on grates because I think they'll collapse and give me a compound fracture) is that I can not stand the sound of rustling paper. It creeps me out. And I have enough hoarder tendancies that I have lots of paper. Now you know why I call this place Crazyville . . .

Anyway, I wanted to stitch Left-brain the Sanman Merry Members Christmas train for Christmas. He likes trains, he likes Santa, we don't have the space or money to buy a real train for under the tree, and so I thought this would work. I collected the parts . . . and true to how I roll, stuck them all over the house. Because that makes sense in my brain. And then reprinted parts of the train.  And couldn't find the engine and car 1. I did ask Sandy if I could have the charts again. She sent them to me. Which I am publicly going to thank her for, because she is awesome. TRULY TRULY AWESOME. But then I got to thinking about why in the H*LL I continue to live in this slightly modified chaos. And I decided I needed to really make an effort and organize these freebies, so that I stop doing this. Because it's annoying.

So I went through my freebies. I pulled the binders out I had, which were never really organized, and the boxes, which have been hidden all over the place like a squirrel's winter stash. To give Left-brain credit, he has stopped looking under the bed.  He doesn't know why I insist on storing things down there, says under the bed is not for storage; let it be known, Left-brain has never lived in a college dorm, but I have. And I stick cross stitch supplies and books under the bed. Because I like to keep them close.

 I set up a pretty simple system: one binder is all Sanmans, one is Halloween/fall, one is spring/spring holidays/rabbits, one is animals, one is summer/patriotic, one hearts, and one will be fantasy creatures and houses, along with primitives. The Sanman is done, as is the Halloween, hearts, and summer.  I still have to sort out the fantasy ones (I have a lot of dragon charts), and the animals. The basement looked terrible for a few days. I told Left-brain it was just temporary. While we would watch TV in the evenings, I have been sorting and putting into sheet protectors. The baby started picking up random sheets and handing them to me, I suspect to trade me for fishy crackers. LOL.  The room is starting to look better now.

I found a gnome chart for my cousin who collects gnomes. I will stitch that up for her for Christmas.

Along the way, I have figured, there are a lot of cat-related freebies. I think I have about a hundred, and that does not include the fall black cats--those went with Halloween. Dogs don't get represented in the freebie world like cats . . . wierd, hunh?

And that i have enough "be mine" freebies to do a tree in them. But I'm not doing that. Because I don't have time for it.

And I comparison-shopped sheet protectors. 100 at Target are a little over $8. 100 at Walmart, less than $7.50. And Walmart doesn't have any really cool school supplies that can be used for cross stitch this year. Hunh?

I am getting rid of any duplicate copies. Why keep them? It's just more paper to be making noise when the fan blows. And they take up space. And I want better for myself.

And it also reinforced my notion from two years ago that there is NO REASON to steal charts. There are so many freebies out there and available online that you don't have to violate someone's copyright. Like I've said before, I have such a wide range of stuff in these binders from very simple to very complex, by a lot of designers, it's not like I am suffering for choice. And while I do have to say, this isn't a collection (because that is what it is, really) that one amasses in a day or a week, it wasn't that hard to get.

By the way, I found all the pieces to my train. I'm going to look it over, see what I need, and hopefully get started soon. I'd like to finish a couple WIPs before starting something new, but I am not dumb, I realize I need to get started on it soon for Christmas. But this is a start. I've been sorting Katie's clothes and putting them away, will be getting rid of some books and clothes of mine. I will do better. And it starts with the freebies.

11 July 2013

Starts and stops and civil wars!

Thank you all for the lovely comments about Katie's party, and the wishes for her turning 1. It's hard to realize it's been a year, but I think the real adventure starts now! We're in the middle of either a "wonder week", reaction to her 12 month shots, or teething this week, or all three together. It's been . .  fun, to say the least.

I'm starting to be able to stitch more these days. When I'm not removing the Christine scissors from within the reach of tiny hands, or rescuing a bag of floss from her (or removing the paper band from her mouth), stitching is more relaxing.  I pulled out the WIP of our hands a few weeks ago, and finished a page and a half.
This photo doesn't do this justice. It's a beautiful picture. It takes me back to those first few weeks of her life. I really think about last summer as a magical time, us holed up in the house (since you can't use sunscreen on babies til they are 6 months old and some people freak about exposure to other people, I did change her diaper in a Walmart bathroom at 12 days old, surely that gave her some immunity, right?), just getting to know each other. I didn't have to share her with the world. And we spent time watching the Olympics, it was just a wonderful time to be with her. I've missed those days. I hope to have this picture done by the time she's two, which is doable if I can keep up this pace!

I also started a project I've had kitted up for a few years. One of the benefits of being broke, to be really honest, it's a blessing, is that I've been forced to stitch what I have and not aquire more stuff. Which is a good thing because, frankly, between all the large baby stuff, the stuff I already had, the books, baby clothes and tires we have, there isn't room for more. And I just love this little kitten by Pamela Kellogg.
I started him the night a wind event came through Central Maryland and took out a garage by my old commute, along with some trees. They said it wasn't a tornado. It looked pretty close to one by my calculations, but I'm not an expert.  This helped take my mind off the tornado warning and trying to make sure that I had the dog and baby close by, ready to run into our bathroom. Of course, now that I think about it, that bathroom is not safe--it has a glass shower stall, not the best place to duck and cover. I should revise this plan, right? Anyway, I like this little guy. My plan is to have him installed on a large stocking for myself. That was why I didn't leave a lot of room on the sides, but I may change my mind and pillow-ize him. He's adorable, from an old Cross-Stitcher from 1999, called "A Kitten For Christmas."

I also started this project a couple days ago. It was another kitted-up project from stash, by LHN. The name escapes me now, but it's a commemorative piece for the Civil War. Last week was the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, and I don't want the occasion to pass, unnoticed. We live less than an hour from the battlefield, and both Crazyville and the town that I grew up in had troop activity during the war. My hometown moreso than here, but that town was also closer to Washington and near several Potomac River crossings, and it was necessary to have troops there to head off an invasion, since the people of my hometown area were of Southern sympathy. The war defined a lot of the terms we used growing up. My home county is either upcounty or downcounty. No Northern or Southern (kind of ironic as the downcounty, Southern area were Union sympathizers, upcounty folks fought for Virginia).  My great-great-grandfather, though, was Union through and through, fighting for Pennsylvania and fighting at Gettysburg before going home to marry his beloved Fronie, mother of the Kate in whose honor Kaydence is named. Anyway, we chose not to even try to go up to Gettysburg this past weekend, because it was packed with people for the anniversary, but it didn't feel right to not celebrate it, not when my ancestor's military service caused him to leave the Mennonite church; they objected to him recieving a pension, and he told them they didn't do the fighting for him, they weren't going to tell him how to spend the money he earned for that service and became a Lutheran. So I found this and I started it. It's a big piece, but I think it will stitch pretty quick, and be a nice tribute to so many lives lost in battle.

I did finish something. It's a small Dimensions kit, in the Kid Quotes line. I've had it for at least 4 years, and just decided to do it. It comes with a little cardboard frame, I just have to have time to get it into the frame.
It's all backstitch. Nothing fancy, and I got it done in a day, but sometimes a quick reward, no big deal project is what you need to get your mojo working. And this did it for me.

So that's all I have for today. It's been a busy time around here lately, hopefully it will slow down! A bit, not too much, though!

05 July 2013

A year has passed, 12 months of fun

We celebrated Someone Small's birthday last weekend. A year ago, she looked like this, poor little scrap of person, all yellow and little. What a difference a year has made.
Beazer dressed up for his sister. He says, "Only fors today, and only because she is my sister." I have to say, he looks astonishingly good in hot pink.

She shared her smash cake with her big cousin. They are best buddies.  He is the same nephew who, when asked what he would teach the new baby, said, "I'm not teaching Baby H anything", but oh, how he's changed. He would have made an awesome big brother, but he's the youngest, so he gets to be the big cousin. Kaydence is so blessed.

She didn't go all out on her cake. She is very dainty, she just tasted icing.  And she got overwhelmed with the sticky and started flinging cake and icing. Left-brain was noticeably twitching, and ran her back to our bathroom for a hose-off.

The pretty guest cake (cause who wants to eat a cake after little hands have gone to town?). I was very happy with it. It was made by a local bakery, who I can highly recommend for anyone in this area.They had a small picture to work with to do the puppy, but still did a good job. And it tasted so good--almond cake with cannoli cream filling!  They were a little expensive, but it made me feel like a rich woman to be able to provide this lovely cake.

Beazer got some, too. It's some tradition in Left-brain's family. Poor old guy.  Though he was a bit livelier for a few hours.

This was for her pinata. Because it's not a children's party if at least one of the activities doesn't put someone at serious risk of an ER trip.

She helped her big cousin take a whack. 

And proudly showed off the spoils. 

And then engaged in a chase around the yard with her aunt. That flash of orange in her left hand? It's a gumball. She picked it up and would not put it down.  Even in the chase. Even when she fell. She loved it. She was COMMITTED to it.

Needless to say, we all took a good long nap on Sunday. Our AC broke during the party, but we didn't notice til Sunday. Now that is a party! Left-brain fixed it, by calling on his vast circle of friends in "the trades". And believe me, that makes me happy.

It's been a year that has not been the easiest for our little family. Financially, we've had some really hard blows, that have turned into lessons for good. I always thought I didn't need to shop at thrift stores or the lower price grocery stores, and now I see I was just throwing money away; the stuff is just as good and less expensive. I learned about the library; we go there all the time now and I love it. I've learned to set pride aside, set my wants aside, and learn what is really important. And I've learned, much to my benefit, to be grateful for the kindness people show. I am so lucky that so many people care about my daughter, whether it was a small gift of socks or a book for her, or gift cards that came in handy when funds were tight, or even asking me about her and indulging a proud mama for a second. I hope to teach her to care about others and share when she can, because others cared about her. Our little party was my chance to, in a small way, thank the ones closest to us for what they gave us--love and help--but it's not the end of my appreciation. Or Kaydence's.
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