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16 November 2014

And October is over . . .

That month went fast!  It did not help that my desktop took a major dump--got a terrible virus, and I now have to use a crappy thin client-type machine for work, and I pulled out my old laptop. I think I need a new computer, but I am also having wireless issues since Comcast came and changed out our router (after all their insistence that our router was not the issue)


I managed one real finish and one "milestone we'll call progress" finish.

I finished the Halloween Town SAL from Frosted Pumpkin. This took me a lot longer than I had planned for it. I didn't finish it til last weekend:


It's very cute. On my pile to finish, if I find a cute frame. I customized it a little bit, but not much.

I picked up "Sleepy Hollow" by Cross Eyed Eyed Cricket. :

 photo 10388576_10152759265080943_705009256185719026_n_zpsb82574c0.jpg

My 4 year old WIP. I set a goal to get the roof done by Halloween, and managed to get the house, roof and windows done, as well as fixing the porch pumpkins from my abysmally wrong reading of the directions on how to do the eyes. I had planned to go back into Santa's Pets on November 1st, but I decided to finish the outlining and the leaf garland before I put it away. So . . . . but, really there isn't much to be done to this panel, which will be my October focus piece in 2015. I have some pumpkins to do, and finish the tree, and it's done, and off to the church panel. 


I looked for other people's finishes of this online, and was amazed to find . . . there aren't many. I wonder if it's the fact that it's such a large piece, and it has large blocks of one color? It does get frustrating to stitch, and that is why I haven't finished mine. But I am getting there slowly. In case you have forgotten, mine is on PTP Loch, although what I have been getting lately from them isn't quite this color (but still pretty!), with the listed flosses, except I did the words on the center panel with Glow in the dark DMC (yes, it glows, no my camera doesn't take good pictures of the glowing). 

So far, my notes have been that you need more than one skein of London Fog, which is the ugliest color of Weeks they made. It doesn't show like it in this picture, but the floss is like a yellow-grey-fugly sort of color that I wouldn't use anywhere else in any of my work. But I needed more than one skein, and I have about half that skein left.
 

2015 Decisions

First, apologies for not posting sooner. My PC got a virus that can not be removed, and my laptop is not doing so hot. I am using the computer at my part time job til I can either get the laptop fixed or get a new one.

I've made some decisions about what I am choosing to focus 2015 stitching effort on. I was absolutely positive that I was going to work on my afghan exclusively next year. I had my doubts, but I was soldiering on in spite of them. I picked up my Sleepy Hollow UFO the last week of October, determined to get the Van Tassel farmhouse down by the end of Halloween. I did that, but it felt wrong to put it back down to pick up Santa's Pets, knowing I'd not be working on it again til at least 2016. So I was like, "Well, I'll just work on it all October," but then that felt like cheating on the afghan. I know, that doesn't make sense, but it felt that way, and then it just kind of went downhill.

I have my two Mirabilias to work on in 2015 as well, and found some other things in my stash that I need to do: charts my mom picked out, our wedding sampler, some things I just love, but to say to myself, "Nope, gotta work on the afghan . . . .well, that didn't feel right.

So, this week, I came to the decision, and it was not easy, that I will not focus on that afghan, but, instead, work on the Miribilias and try to get them finished, work on our wedding sampler, and then fill in what is left with UFOs. Like Sleepy Hollow. My goal on that is to have it done and decorating our house by October 1. It's too pretty, and too cool of a project to be left in a bag. I felt better immediately after making the decision not to focus on the afghan. It's not that I won't work on it at all . . . because it IS a UFO . . .but it's not the focus. I'm not built to focus on things for as long as it will take to do that. But it will get done  . . . and soon!

22 October 2014

Progress.


This is Santa's Pets, as far as I got by September 30th.  I am going to have to pick up the pace in November if I want it done by Christmas. But, if I am not done by the end of the year, I will just push my project to focus on the afghan off til it's done. It's pretty simple; this is a 3 year project that needs to be completed because it's the most beautiful thing I've ever done, the afghan is a 10 year old project that may or may not ever get finished and 2 or 3 weeks won't change that reality.

Blogger is acting up and won't let me post my Halloween town progress, so that will be posted tomorrow.

20 October 2014

Mid-October Update

Not much to show this update. I am following through on my plan to put Santa's Pets aside for the month and am focusing on Halloween stitching. Not that I have a lot of time--we have an enormous project at work that I have been trying to get done, in addition to all the fall activities. Last week, we went to the pumpkin patch. It was cold and rainy. My child freaked out because she thought the hay wagon which deposited us at the pumpkin patch was abandoning us and would never come back.

 This is how this day went on Instagram.
This is the truth: After she freaked out, Ginny (my mom) tried to calm her down, while I found a pumpkin that I would like if I were 2, and  then pulled it off the vine. She calmed down when I yelled "Oww," because a pricker got me . . . and then she started laughing.  And when the tractor came back, she got on the wagon and then didn't want to get off. Someone else handed her down to me.
 
 
 

She was exhausted by the time we got home. And filthy. And mad. I am chaperoning the class trip to another pumpkin patch next week, and when I asked her if she wanted to go, she said, "I'm fine. I have my punkin."  But when she found out that we were going (because she has to go), she apparently reconsidered because, Wednesday night, when I was getting ready to go to work at the theatre, in my high heels and skirt, she thought I was going to the pumpkin patch at that moment. And wigged out, because she didn't want to be left behind. 10 minutes trying to explain . . . . . yep, I was late. 
Soooooo
 
 
Stitching wise, I've had a few small hauls. I went to HL and kitted up a bunch of projects. I bought 125 skeins of floss--I felt like a glutton. And, to celebrate paying off my car finally, I placed an order with 123stitch for the beads and threads for my two Mirabilias. I still have to order the fabric for Christmas Elegance, but I have everything for Mother's Arms. I am almost ready for the Panting to Stitch SAL.
 
 
And then came Saturday. It was a great day!  My husband's cousin gave me a box set of Harry Potter hardbacks in a trunk. Even Kaydence gasped when we opened it!  I have all the books in paperback, but having them in hardback as well, in such a beautiful way, it adds to my collection. But that wasn't all that was there.
 
There was an envelope from my Christmas in July partner. She had spoiled me so much in July, and she sent me an extra envelope that came this month.  In it was a bunch more stuff from my 123 Wishlist. Katie was entranced!
 
Val sent me:
 
RTR This Is Halloween
Cape Cod Halloween by Pickle Barrel Designs
LHN State Fair (I'm thinking of doing part of this in the Maryland flag colors)
Blessed Freedom by Homespun Elegance
Stranded Jacks by Plum Street Samplers
Barn Dance by Workbasket
A Wooley Story by Homespun Elegance
Amethyst Alphabet by Pegasus (pretty and purple--Kaydence loved it)
In Memoriam by Cherished Stitches
The Great Pumpkin Conspiracy by Cricket Collection
Baby Bubbles by Carolyn Manning Designs (I really like her designs a lot, I am starting to buy the Whiskerkins charts)
Holiest of Nights by Homespun Sampler
 
It was a lovely gift and I am very touched.
 
I'll try to post pictures of my WIPs in the next few days.
 
Hope you all are enjoying the season.
 
 
 
 
 

16 September 2014

Mid-September update


 
 
Not much to report this week. I had a small finish last week, which I'll try to finish-finish this week and post. I'm toiling away at Santa's Pets. It sort of feels like being in the doldrums; there is progress, but not much, and I'm too far in to abandon ship, and the finish feels so far away . . . My plan is to stitch on this for the rest of the month, then work on Halloween stuff next month, and then spend the rest of the year making sure this is finished by Christmas Eve. It sounds like an achievable goal, I think. I just need to get out of this sea of blue and white!
 
I did happy dance yesterday because I finally sent in the last payment on my hospital bill from Kaydence. Yep, I officially own a sassy toddler. To celebrate not having to shell out $125 every month (there are a lot of issues behind this, I don't mind paying money I owe, but I was given bad information by a rep from the insurance company at the time, and the payment processing company, I had to call every 3 months and make sure that our math matched--spent three hours sorting it out. One of those things no one ever says is because of them), I bought 4 charts from 123. I ordered "Fancy Blackett--The Harvest Dance," "Spring Hare", and "Why I Believe".  AND . . .  because I learned from not ordering the mice when they come out, I ordered "Miss Witchy Mouse." I know the last thing I need is more stash, but I liked them and, now that I get some breathing room til the next crisis comes around, I took advantage of it. Apparently these mice are not hard to assemble. I shall give my review of them.
 
I did stop in at Hobby Lobby last night on my errands last night. I was kitting up my Miribilias for the Panting to Stitch SAL, and one that I just want to do. They had the fall stuff out, and Copper Fox had posted a little fox dish she got there. I went to looking and this little guy, well, he just begged to come home with me. I love his little bushy tail!  They had other things that I liked, but I decided to skip them for now. Maybe next month, after I finish paying off my car . . .  


 
Anything as smart as a fox would want to protect my classics! 
 
I was a little miffed that they close at 8. I got there at 7:40, and didn't have enough time to get all my floss, but that's OK, I'll save it for another trip. Weird that they close at 8. Who does that?  But then again, who gets the urge to craft at 8:30 at night, and you never see anyone at Michaels that late . . . I guess they figure if you want to shop HL, get up early.
 
So that's all from here. It's a busy week ahead. I work both days this weekend, but I'm OK with that! 

03 September 2014

The "Panting to Stitch" SAL

Thank you for your comments about my post the other day. They are much appreciated. Things seem to be looking up for September.

You are probably wondering why I have titled today's post what I have, since this is not a hobby we tend to "pant" about.  Well, in all my digging through my stuff the past month, I realized that I have a lot of stuff that I would really like to stitch before I leave this earth, but I haven't been able to work on. In my case, it's because I lose everything all the time, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has these projects. Well, I decided I'm going to change that in 2015.

I already committed to focusing on Hummingbird Trellis afghan, and that will be my focus for the year . . . BUT . . . I decided I am also going to do one of my "panting to stitch" projects. And I found mine the other day.

It's "Mother's Arms", by Miribilia. I have had it in my stash since 2000 or 2001, and I even remember buying it, at Inez's Creative Stitchery in Kensington. (I don't even know if the shop is still there, I haven't been able to go back since that one time, right after Inez died, it was so much "her", hard not to see her at the register). I loved the bright colors, and the serene look on the mother's face (perhaps it calls to me now because I am not a serene mom), but it had blending filament and beads, and so I put it away for that day when BF didn't seem so irritating, and I had money for beads (because, at that time, I wasn't making much, and whatever I did earn went to pay the vet bills for one puppy and three kittens, all of whom seemed to get sick or need shots or shred their collars right around payday), so I tucked it away.

And now I found it, and I think it's amazing. And I want to stitch it. I posted on 123 asking if anyone else had charts like that, that they'd put away waiting for the perfect day and reason to stitch, and got a lot of responses. So I decided to host a Stitch-A-Long. And I've gotten some good responses.  Having referenced putting things off to stitch in the perfect place, like a cabin or seashore, with a frosty beverage, maybe a pool boy or two, I've even offered to post pix of pretty places to help us get into "the zone." Someone suggested basing it out of here, but I'd probably want to set up a Facebook page, or a different blog, and then of course, cross-reference to a monthly post on 123 where people could post photos.

Do you have a chart like that in your stash? It doesn't have to be one to set the world on fire, it just has to be one that you really love, but haven't stitched. Would you like to join us? It's a no-frills, no-pressure SAL, starting January 1, running at least the year. With progress posts on the 15th or 16th to keep us moving.  If so, let me know, and I'll figure out the logistics

26 August 2014

Challenges

I usually don't look forward to the end of summer. It's really my favorite time of the year.

Not this year.

This has been a rotten season. Losing my dad at the beginning of the summer sort of set the tone for a few months that, all in all, I can't wait to end. Job stress (and I enjoy what I do, it has just been a period of upheaval all around), uncertainty about whether we want to move or, rather, can afford to move (it's not really an issue of do we want to, we can't fit in this house anymore), 3 out of my 5 pets are having medical issues, and I don't want to think about what is coming for them, and some other family issues made it very difficult. My doctor and I discussed putting me on some medication to help me get through this time, and I told him no. I'm not at that point, not at a sustained level. I have decided I am uninvolving myself with some of the family stuff. I just can't deal with it, not and remain at a healthy place for myself. It's hard, but it is how I HAVE TO be.

Stitching-wise, I managed to get Section 1 of MTH done. It's super-cute, I think. I think I can sum up 2014 as a year of challenging myself (in all ways, not just stitching), and kawaii cross stitch IS a challenge for me.  It's not in my comfort zone at all, doesn't match anything in the house, and I always look at it and think, "This is what Hello Kitty's world would be like." and I wasn't a Hello Kitty girl.  But this will be adorable. I have to see how it all turns out to determine if I want to finish it as a stand up or as a picture, but it's becoming more fun. (And I hope the final design includes a frog, because I've frogged a lot). And I really think I LIKE this style. Doesn't mean I don't like the other stuff, or like it less, but Frosted Pumpkin is broadening my range!

 
And my update on "In My Daughter's Eyes."

 
My challenge to myself was to get page 12 completed by the end of August. As you can see, I completed it. With time to spare. And started another page. I'm going to hold off on working on this again til September, but I'm happy with the pace. Now that I have a rhythm established, it's not hard, and I love seeing our fingers take shape. The only thing that concerns me is that, in the upper right corner, there are marks where I was doing this by block and you can see a line. I think it will go away when laundered, pressed and stretched. OK, let's hope it goes away.
 
I'm using my time to work on my ornament for the 123stitch Christmas ornament exchange. I think I went all out this year--nice fabric, specialty threads. Not that I don't make an effort every year, I just found a pattern that needed a little more. And it looks great. I stitched on it while watching Outlander last night on Ondemand (still not sure about this), and I'm making good progress.
 
So that's that. I take each stitch and day at a time. Somedays, I can see a few stitches ahead, somedays I see the whole picture. And I try to focus on the idea that life is like a WIP. We see the reverse. We note the knots, see the dabs of chocolate, see the not-so-pretty stitches. But, in the end, it's something beautiful And we understand why those wonky confetti stitches had to go where they did. And we get it. This summer was just a line of wonky stitches. 

20 August 2014

Stupid enter key

OK, first of all, sorry if I worried anyone with my cryptically empty last post. It wasn't anything really terribly serious. We did have some family issues going on that were a little daunting, but it's not stuff I can fix, so I have to let it go and keep moving forward. I have my own balls in the air to juggle, and those aren't always easy or fun.

 As I keep trying to sort and organize my stash, I keep finding more things I have hidden like a maniacal squirrel. I opened up Katie's closet to put away some stuff she can't wear yet (I buy things on clearance at the end of the season in sizes I think she'll wear next year--why pay full price if I don't have to, my baby is not a celebrity and she doesn't have to be perfectly on-trend in the latest looks) and found a bunch of stash I had thrown in there, probably in one of my cleaning jags. And of course, it was after I had put all the charts I consolidated downstairs into a large tub, which I then covered with the HEAVIEST box of magazines ever, so it was not easy to put them into the box. BTW, in case you care about these things, you put a heavy box of magazines on top of a not-quite as heavy but still heavy tub of charts, and that chart tub will start collapsing. I spent Saturday watching the tower of stash start to lean and then rearranged. It's still not exactly safe, but it's better. But I have all this stuff, randomly stuffed together all over the house, and it's no WONDER I can't find what I need, like the July 2007 issue of UK Cross Stitcher.

Have I mentioned before how I have this serious issue with keeping stuff together? I have charts that I buy fabric for, or projects that I start, and they get separated, and, every so often, one part or the other will bob up to the surface of my stash for a few moments, and then go back down and get lost again, and the process repeats with other parts of the project. Right now I have four dysfunctional projects (I think that is a good name for them). Two of them, I have seen both parts recently, just not in the same place, and I'm trying to remember where I put them, one I have the fabric and the chart, just not the color key and  floss, and the last, I haven't seen either part in a while.  This is embarrassing to me. I used to keep things in those large plastic scrapbooking envelopes (I think Darice makes them), but they wear out, and I haven't seen them in Michaels in forever. 

I know this is just temporary, and I'll get myself straightened out in this regard, but seriously, this has got to stop.

These are my WIPs for the week. I have been doing a lot of frogging on my Frosted Pumpkin SAL. I don't think I am going to have this and Section 2 done for the new section to come out. I know that I am not racing with anyone but myself, but I think for every 5 stitches I put in, I frog three. But I love it. That little owl is darling. And I love that my skeins of Carriage Black are shot full of grey, and that, because of that, Bride of Frankenstein has salt and pepper hair! Like me.

Mysterious Town of Halloween SAL
Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery
recommended threads on 32 count Stone Grey Jobelan
 
 
And my progress on the photo to chart. Not much done, since I was focusing on MTH.  I'd like to get this page done by the end of the month. I should be able to accomplish that, right?

 
I did set my stitching goals for the end of the year, definitively. Finish MTH, finish the hands, do my ornament for the ornament exchange on 123stitch, and then finish as much of Santa's Pets as I can. It either feels like an insurmountable amount of work, or nothing, but I'm going to push myself to get it done. That leaves next year free to work on my HT afghan and get that finished (or at least almost finished). 
 
So that's it. Thanks for listening to my griping and grunting. Have a great rest of the week.

11 August 2014

Insanity and other ramblings . . .

I know you all must be getting tired of these posts about organizing, cause I'm tired of organizing, LOL.  But I am almost there. I got the stuff Left-brain brought home from the storage unit at least split up into charts, kits and magazines. I've really pushed to get things in order. Along with putting away the boxes of books. On that front I am down to one box to give away, 2 boxes that need a bookcase, and one box that is missing in the garage (of course, it's the box with the books that I love, but I know it's out there).

I am finding my UFOs and getting them together.

I am organizing my floss. That is still an on-going, kind of sucky, project, but it's almost finished. 

So why do I find myself putting stuff on my wishlist and thinking about ordering more. I totalled up my 123 wishlist. $1200. To be fair, I have Victoria's Samplers charts on there, and a Snapper kit, and Blackberry Lane stuff. Those alone are probably $200 of it, but that still leaves $1000 that is so tempting. I'm trying to resist, but it's hard.

Still in my rotation of projects this week. I worked on the hands picture for most of the week, put it aside for The Mysterious Town of Halloween. I am not enjoying that project as much as I thought I would, but I know it's because I have had to frog it like crazy. I hate frogging. Maybe once I get past this area, it won't be as bad. I don't want to run out of Loden before it's finished, but, if I do, I know I ordered it from 123stitch, so I can go back to them and probably get the same dyelot.

04 August 2014

Weekend WIPs.

What a week this has been! After bringing home all the stuff from the storage unit, my goal has been to get it finally organized and put away so I can see what is going on and what I have. Not a lot of stitching time, after I finished BlackBird's Winter Delivery.

And that meant I spent Saturday putting together bookcases, and loading them up. (Of course Blogger doesn't want to play nice today, so I can't show pictures.) I bought three of these and one of this one. Left-brain doesn't think we have room for all three of the large bookcases, but I am only planning on two big and one small on  one wall, and maybe the other one on another wall. They weren't hard to put together--I left the back off, since we have a plug on the wall that I use to power things I need for the office, and it looks fine.  Ended up with about 5 boxes of books on one of  the tall ones, and put my binders of freebies and a few binders of charts, along with my organized floss, on the low one. I'm going to use the tops to store the weird decorative objects I have that don't fit in any storage box man has yet created.

I was going along pretty good, until I fell on our steps and rolled my ankle. NOT COOL. Not with everything I need to do. It feels better now, butkind of ended the project mid-stream, at least for right now. I may do some more construction tonight.

Anyway, yesterday was stitching group day. I took a project that I have been working on forever it seems, but I made really good progress.


I think I can have this page done this week. It fascinates me how well the details show up. And how it does look like a photo. Maybe not close up on it--I still find myself wondering how Kay-kay and I, who are the two palest people I know, could possibly need 815 or 921 to reveal our skin tone, but, the project looks lovely. I think, and I may be pushing myself WAY too hard here, that I am going to set myself a goal of having this project and Santa's Pets done by Christmas.Neither chart is that hard to read, and I'm comfortable now. Imagine how it would feel to have two large projects with an absurdly intense emotional attachment to them (and I just realized they bookend my pregnancy--I started Santa's Pets the weekend I found out I was pregnant and the photo of this was taken when Kay-bay was two weeks old, but anyway), how would it feel to have them DONE?  I plan on framing it with a copy of the original photo, but I am still trying to figure out if I want to put something in there about where and when it was taken. Katie might like that in the future.
 
 
 The other project I worked on is this one:

 
This is The Mysterious Town of Halloween SAL by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I was going back and forth about it, but after seeing all the WIPs online, and knowing it didn't cost that much, I signed up. It took me FOREVER to choose a fabric. But I stopped in at my LNS on the way home from an appointment this week, and this Stone Grey fabric called to me. It's really pretty and the colors stand out against it, so I think it's great!  I really need to catch up as it's almost time for the third installment, but if I am slow, as long as it's done for Halloween, right?
 
So that is all from here. I am fairly luxuriating in seeing the books I forgot I had, so you have to pardon me. It's just lovely to see my Harry Potters, right near my novels of Sarah Agnes Prine (I HATE epistolary novels, but these are exceptional. Nancy E Turner wrote these books and I swear, PBS has totally missed out by not making them into a series.) My heart is quite happy this morning, a big change from last night, where I was listening to Christmas carols, but ended up crying because there was a song I liked, and I saw the album, thought my dad would love it for Christmas, and then realized, he isn't here to buy a Christmas gift for this year. And that was the end of the music for the night. But today is bright and clear, and I was reminded that there are many older people who have no one to buy them a gift, and Katie and I have no Poppy to shop for, so we're going to make a connection and shop for those who need us. And Daddy will understand.
 
 

31 July 2014

All finished


And it only took four days!  I am really pleased with this finish.

28 July 2014

An Old UFO


Blackbird's Winter Delivery
Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers
stitched with the kitted fabric and fibers
 
 
 
So-o-o-o-o-o-o
 
 
Last week, for a lot of reasons, was chaos. Mom ended up in the ER on Wednesday night, so that threw me off for the next two days. She's fine, but it was a scary thing to deal with--she doesn't drink enough water, and got dehydrated.This weekend, we brought everything home from the storage unit. I spent most of Saturday, cleaning out my office, so that Left-brain can put up the bookshelves when he gets them put together. Mom came out for the day to watch Someone Small, but also so that I can keep track of her fluid consumption. I got a lot done. Threw out a lot of detritus. I am very hopeful that most of my books fit on the shelves I bought, because there isn't a lot of other space to put them, and not a lot of place to store my stash. I refuse to have it all stacked in here (remember, I have that issue with stacks and paper and staring at that all day would drive me crazy. Books are different, I can do spines of books), but I need the bookcases put up so I can put the books on there, and put the stash boxes where the books were.
 
Anyway, so . . . while I was cleaning, I found this. It's from the first year of the Loose Feathers club. I signed up for that club in 2003, stitched a few of them, realized I couldn't keep up, and I have the rest in stash somewhere. I've started this one and frogged it a few times.  I think I have even bought more floss for it a few times. But I am determined that I will finally get this thing done. It's not a big design, 4 3/4 X 5, I don't know why I am not able to complete it, but I have been scared of it, and then I put it aside, and pick it up a year or so later and put in a few stitches, and put it back down. So I am putting everything else aside and finishing this. Because this is just silly. And I think it will be really finished when it's done, framed with a black frame and a white mat. I know I do not like the fabric because the dye comes off on my hoops and I have to watch them when I switch off to something else, but maybe finishing it will put an end to it.
 
And I have a question. We had the box of my unfinished finishes in the storage unit, and when Left-brain brought it home, I realized there are quite a few that are dirty and stained and hoop-marked. In my defense, I didn't know better. I think I can clean most of them up--if a Tide Pen can remove dog poop and highlighter, it's gonna take most anything out This is proof. I have one poor little mouse ornament that has a wierd stain on it, and the best I can think is that my dad used to use this product on the woodwork that, if you didn't rub it really well, it would leave marks, and I think some got on my finish. It's done with Weeks, so it's not washable, and it was one of my first overdyed projects. It's not unsalvageable, it just looks a bit battered, but I look a lot more battered than I did when I was young too, and I can live with it, rather than restitch it.Would you go ahead and have it made into an ornament? I mean, the back of the tree needs ornaments as well, right?

20 July 2014

Halfway there


I got this far!  I think, out of all my unfinished BAWIPs, this is the farthest I have ever gotten. And now I go from a whole lot of greys to weeks of blues.

My house looks chaotic right now. We have to make room for all these boxes from the storage unit, and so, I'm trying to consolidate the boxes that are left.  I think setting up my bookshelves will help, because at least all the books would be in one place, but we have to make room to set them up. That is the hard thing. And my office is so small, it heats up really quickly, so is not always the most pleasant room to organize.

I'm starting to think about what I want to work on for 2015. Youtube has been full of videos for the cross stitch wishlist tag, where people have chosen the 5 projects they want to work on. I have thought about doing that, and actually pulled aside 7 projects that I think I could at least make a good effort on, and thought, well, I'll start those. But then I pulled out my Hummingbird Trellis afghan for a little last night, and started wondering how far I could get if I actually focused on it, instead of just occasionally picking it up. So I'm kind of in a quandary. I don't think I'd actually get it finished, but it would be nice to see how far I could get. And, let's be honest, that project needs commitment and time. It's been kicking around here since 2005, and I actually made a decent start on it in 2006, so it's been a WIP/UFO for 8 years. It's not improving with age, and if I keep going like this, the fabric will be ruined.

What would you do?

15 July 2014

Christmas In July


I took part in the Christmas in July exchange on 123stitch, and my packages came in the mail.  Val in Hawaii was my sender, and she chose a beach theme for me. I love what I got!  A pretty journal, LHN Summer by the Shore, and all the threads to stitch it, flip-flop scissor fob and needleminder, and some beach glass! I have a little collection of that now, so it was a real gift. She also sent me little dish, but I forgot to get a picture of it. And Merry Little Bird from LK, which I have been wanting for a long time.

I placed an order for my recipient, but it probably mailed off today and it has to go overseas, so probably will not get there for a few weeks. My recipient was Dalene, who I've been partnered with before, so it was cool! 

I can't wait to start the Summer by the Shore. After a Youtube tag went around about the 5 projects you wanted to start, I created an stitching bag with the 5 projects, and this is going in there.

14 July 2014

Santa's Pets progress as of today.



Progress for the week. Not a lot done, but I had to finish "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand and that was pretty much most of the week. Such a great book. I don't read a lot of WW2 military history, but the two books I've read (the other is "Monuments Men," which, as an arts administration major, made me very proud, but also made me realize that there truly is a job for everyone in the military) both have been really excellent. Louie Zamperini died a week or so ago, and they're making a movie of "Unbroken", and so, it was great to read that book.

Santa's Pets is almost halfway done. I now have to stand really far back to get a good photo of it. And from this picture, it looks like a painting. This is why I love cross stitch.  We create dimension and movement with floss. And it still amazes me, after 25 years of doing this art. And the other thing that I've noticed has been a gift of this project is that it's giving me confidence to do the bigger, "scarier" projects, like the HAED and some of the older computer-generated charts I have collected over the years. I'm pretty pleased with myself about that. Not that I'm going to be jumping in and kitting up a bunch of them. But I can do it!

13 July 2014

Storage time, again

In my never-ending quest to find the perfect storage solution for my stash, I spent the last two days out and about.

My biggest concern is floss storage. I've tried so many different ways over the years, and always return to bobbins. But, as I've hoarded floss over the years, I realized, I don't like winding floss on bobbins so much, so I shove the floss in bags and hide them all over the house, like an enormous squirrel (who knows better). A few years ago, I consolidated the bags into a plastic tub, then made effort to organize that plastic tub into at least Ziplocs organized by numbers. I have one set of DMC I keep in a Jammer box, the spare floss already wound onto bobbins organized numerically, and then the large (and dreary) box o' floss which is basically depressing to go into.   And rarely ever gets used.

And I'm sick of it. This isn't working for me anymore. I end up buying floss and it feels like when I've been on a diet and cheat, or have to buy bigger pants. I disappoint myself.

My friend Enid told us how she organizes her floss one time, and that struck me as reasonable. She uses a large plastic bin, and puts all her floss in mailing envelopes, sorted numerically,  and then pulls from that. I misheard her say that they were memory boxes, and have been looking ever since. Well, Michaels had those boxes on sale this week, $2 a box. We were out and about , and I bought 5, all kind of matching. I bought snack-sized baggies to put them in. I know someone will say, "But that is not archival, and the threads will decay over time."  And my response is, "probably, but they're definitely going to decay over time in this giant tub of BS if I never use them, right?" 

The only drawback I see to the system as it stands now is that I need more memory boxes. My floss will not fit in 5 boxes, even with me keeping the large Jammer box of floss intact. So I'll do the best I can do, if I have to spend a little more to get some more boxes, then that's cool. It will be better than wasting money, buying floss I already have because I'm too annoyed to search. And I probably will switch out to paper envelopes as storage because the air gets trapped in the baggies, but this is a good start.

That wasn't all that we bought. One of my other big needs, and I think I go through this every year, is secure storage cases for current WIPs. I have a weird collection of them, but, considering how many WIPs I have, there is never enough. I really needed something for Santa's Pets and it was not looking easy to find--since the chart is part of a calendar, it made it difficult to use anything I had in my "stock". So, it was a pleasure to find that Michaels had their scrapping cases on sale.  Normally, they are $9.99, but they were $3.99 on sale. I figured it might be worth a shot, and, for $4, what could it hurt, so I bought one. And Santa's Pets fits! Everything.  The chart/calendar, the floss, the HOOP!, and the WIP. So much better than trusting it to the "the elements", one of whom sheds and the other who has a thing for pens.

Friday night, we went to Target to do a little after-birthday shopping, and, while we were there, I noticed they have the school supplies out already.  It's a little weird--didn't these kids get out of school like 3 weeks ago?--but it was worth taking a look. And I found a large plastic pencil case that will also work well to hold small WIPs, like those freebies I love. $2.47 for it. Perfect! I also picked up a couple things for the office, supply-wise, but I was pretty pleased to get that pencil box.

If anyone wants to see pictures, I can post them. I would say check your Target and Michaels to see if they have these items still on sale if you are interested.

09 July 2014

New finish (with which I am not pleased)



This is "Are You My Mother" by Bent Creek.  I stitched it on a piece of Jobelan I had around, with most of the DMC conversion. I did sub out the 550 the chart called for for the flower for 3041, since that looked more like the color of the Weeks they used. But the chick, because that's a chick, not a grown bird, the colors they chose were awful. I only tweaked it a little, because I couldn't figure out the golds to convert the chick to, but knew I didn't want a dark beak, so the beak and legs are 3822.

And . . . imagine my non-delighted surprise to find out that the two skeins of 936 I used for the stem (because I misplaced one while tidying up) were not a similar dyelot. One is an olive-y green, the other is not. What is up with that, DMC?

I know these are things most people wouldn't care about, and it's cute. If it wasn't that I know what it was supposed to look like, I wouldn't even care, but the colors for the chick that were the company's conversion look NOTHING like the picture on the package, and that is not a dyelot issue. That is just a poor conversion on the part of the designer.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Is it so hard to check your conversion before you release a design? Or even have it stitched in the DMC you converted it to? I usually stitch in DMC because of the affordability of it, and, to some extent, because it can be washed if my assistant has messy hands and a joyous interest.  Kind of sucky if I can't trust what's on the chart will give me a finish that looks similar (and I know, I know, if it shows overdyeds, using a regular thread doesn't give the same effect, but could it at least be in the ballpark?). Brittercup conversions are usually pretty spot-on, that is why I want to do the quilt I have envisioned with her designs. I have at least one other BC kitted up with regular floss and am now going to go over it and make sure I like how it looks.

Oh, well, onward and upward.

07 July 2014

My answers to the cross stitch tag!

Question 1: How did you start? Who introduced you to cross stitching?

My brother and mom stitched. My mom would stitch lovely TIAG designs on vacation when I was a kid, and I wanted to learn, but Mom hesitated to teach me because my kindergarten teacher told her that I lacked fine motor skills (um, no, I was a leftie, and probably had a touch of ADHD. I couldn't write well because I couldn't curve my hand around the sheet of paper the way they wanted you to, and anyone who ever tried the leftie scissors that they had us use back then knows they wouldn't cut soft butter, let alone construction paper.) But I pestered, and, in 1989, Mom and my brother brought home a no-count kit for me, and then, in 1990, on the day that Iraq invaded Kuwait (the last day of our vacation that year), Mom and my aunt went to the LNS in Virginia Beach and brought me home a little counted kit, and that was the start. My brother really taught me how to stitch though.
 I stitched through high school, took a break in college, maybe did one project a year (I was more into college basketball and theatre stuff back then. A makeup room is not a place for stitching, and I was always taking American lit classes, so a lot of my downtime was spent researching). When I graduated and had a job and money, I got back into the hobby.

Question 2: Favorite theme or designer?

Not a favorite designer, but I love patriotic sheep, cats, horses, and nautical-themed designs. Black cats are one of my favorites!


Question 3: What brand of floss do you use?

DMC. It's affordable and available.


Question 4: What is your fabric of choice?

Cashel linen is my favorite, but I usually stitch with Jobelan, 16 count aida, or Monaco. 


Question 5: Do you use a needle threader or are you a floss licker?

Floss licker all the way!


Question 6: What brand of stitching frame (or hoop or otherwise holder) do you use?

Mostly hoops or Q-snaps. I bought a set of Michaels brand Q-snaps earlier this year and don't like them as much as the original. I have a stitching frame, but I don't use it much.


Question 7: How many projects have you finished? Hundreds. I've been stitching for 25 years.

Question 8: How many completed works are hanging in your house?

In this house, 2. I don't get a lot of things framed, but DH has hung the lions from my 2009 fair finishes in our bedroom. And our foyer has one of my lighthouse finishes. I also don't like keeping things up out of season.


Question 9: Do you stitch for gifts or keep for yourself?

I keep for myself. People in my life appreciate my work, but I really keep most of it for myself.


Question 10: Favorite finished stitched piece?

This one.

I just think she is lovely.


Question 11: Worst experience while stitching?

Round Robins. I don't do them anymore. I have always ended up having things get delayed. The second (and last one), I ended up having to announce, on 123stitch, that, since I didn't get it back, I had no problem taking a day off work and going up to the county the person who had it lived in and filing charges with the police. It mysteriously ended up being returned that same week. I have also had issues with sending a pattern, and floss off around the world, as a travelling stitch. Someone kept the chart and the silk floss. I know it was out of my hands, but, seriously?


Question 12: What do you love and hate about cross stitch?

I hate kitting up.

I love that we create art with dimension and light and movement out of thread.


Question 13: Have you introduced anyone else to cross stitch

I've tried, I've taught people. No one kept it up. A former friend started out liking it, and then got ashamed of enjoying it because her pseudo-boyfriend said it was an old lady craft.  Not only did she not keep up with the stitching, he ditched her, and I got tired of being around someone who was more concerned about "the public image" than figuring out who she was as a person.


Question 14: The first project, did you finish it?

Nope.

Question 15: How do you store your floss?

Mostly on bobbins, but I have a large bin I keep the loose floss in, and also have a bunch of Jammer boxes.


If you have some time, I'd love to see your responses to this tag!

03 July 2014

Stolen from Youtube . . . the Cross Stitch Tag

In the last month or so, I've gotten into the Youtube videos. The cross stitch community seems to be growing there, and it's actually pretty interesting. They keep asking stitchers to make videos. I am very tempted, now more than ever because . . . after seven years with my flip phone, I dropped it on the floor just right last month and broke it, so I finally joined the 21st century and bought the new Samsung Galaxy (I figured, if it took me this long to catch up, I might as well get the latest and greatest, but it has been kind of weird. It's like handing me the keys to a new Jag after I've driven a hoopty with no air conditioning or stereo for years. I'm not sure I'm worthy, but I appreciate it). So I have video capability, just not sure I'm brave enough.

But one of the cool things that has gone around is the Cross Stitch Tag. And I like those videos, but since I am too chicken to venture out there, not so much here, I thought I'd bring it to the blogosphere. I'll put the questions out today, and I tag ANYONE to put this in their own blog and answer the questions. I'll try to answer them this weekend for you, and post.

Question 1: How did you start? Who introduced you to cross stitching?

Question 2: Favorite theme or designer?

Question 3: What brand of floss do you use?

Question 4: What is your fabric of choice?

Question 5: Do you use a needle threader or are you a floss licker?

Question 6: What brand of stitching frame (or hoop or otherwise holder) do you use?

Question 7: How many projects have you finished?

Question 8: How many completed works are hanging in your house?

Question 9: Do you stitch for gifts or keep for yourself?

Question 10: Favorite finished stitched piece?

Question 11: Worst experience while stitching?

Question 12: What do you love and hate about cross stitch?

Question 13: Have you introduced anyone else to cross stitch

Question 14: The first project, did you finish it?

Question 15: How do you store your floss?


If you want to share pictures, please do so!


And, for anyone remotely in the path of Arthur, please be safe this weekend. To everyone else, happy July 4th.

02 July 2014

Santa's Pets . . . again


I picked this up again. I'm going to try to shoot to get it done by Christmas, but not holding my breath. I still have more than half left to do. 

I have been messing around trying to figure out how I want to handle the lower sections, since they're maybe four blocks high. Stair-step still seems to work the best for me. I can't explain exactly why it works so well, but, considering I did all that progress in December that way, I'm sticking to it, and I'm going to start using it for any of my large projects I intend to work on.

I got notified that Gigi shipped today. Woo hoo!  I'm nervous to see her on the linen I chose. If that doesn't work, I'm not sure what I'd choose in its place, but we'll have to see. 

And I broke my money diet, but not badly. I've seen a lot of stitchers on Youtube stitching selections from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery  and they're kind of growing on me. I bought "The Mysterious Halloween Town", which, if you're going to fall off the wagon, isn't bad for $11. I will wait a while to get the specialty threads, it was pretty easy to work with them. They email the charts to you, which is a bummer because I don't have a printer, but the library does, and I can print there.  Plus, I'm not buying other stuff, so it's OK. But just this once.

We had a nice birthday. We ended up at the beach at Breezy Point Beach, in Calvert County, near Annapolis, and it was a lovely day to be down there. Someone Small was over the moon, except she said the sand was "too hot."  But not too hot to put in her hair--I am still combing it out. Left-brain found some sea glass, which was awesome because we never find sea glass at that beach. Some people do, but they must go early in the day, and I don't know how much they find because it's really only common on specific types of beaches, and Breezy Point is not the right beach, but I'm happy he found it for me.  We are going to make this a tradition, it's just a nice way to spend the day as a family, without having to worry about other pressure.

27 June 2014

Hot and sweaty S.E.X. last night.


My LNS is open til 8 on Thursdays. I have never been. I usually work Thursday evenings, for one thing, and I guess part of me didn't believe they WERE actually open that late, so I never went, but I had a few projects that needed kitted up with specialty floss, and I had an order to pick up, and after working all that overtime, I felt like I needed a treat, so, after work last night, I loaded Someone Small into the car, and we went over to Baltimore.

You forget how crappy traffic is when you don't commute. Even Crazyville traffic isn't really traffic, but I have been in traffic in the two major cities in Maryland in the last week and . . . I don't miss it. Even wtih the AC on, Someone Small was a sweaty mess when we got out at the store.  She was like, "no no no", but warmed up to the idea of the LNS quickly. I put her in her stroller this time--it seems to work a little better for her, I just parked her while I got my threads and talked to her. 

As far as what I bought, the new patterns were:

Cherrywood Design Studios Pumpkin Tree. It was cute  and Halloween-y and I think they went out of business, so I thought I should get it.
PS Rabbit Run--it was on my wishlist.
3 of the Frosty Forest from CCN--I think I am going to hold off on buying anymore of these til I actually start working on this. I haven't decided if I want to do them as ornaments for my Peace of the Wild Things tree, but I should probably decide that soon.
LHN Old Glory-patriotic stuff floats my boat, ya know.
A little Liberty by Lizzie Kate.
And Time for Halloween by Brenda Gervais. I saw the cat one on Prim Stitchers group on Facebook and fell in love with it. My LNS had the chart and the watch fob, which I have not been able to find at Hobby Lobby, so I bought it and I'll try to get it done befor the fall.


I also bought some 32 count natural light linen to do the Just Nan Mouse ornaments on. And some Stone Grey Lugana, because it was pretty.

My LNS also puts together kits for some freebie designs from out on the 'Net, s I bought the kit for July Daisy. The chart is free, they just kid up the materials.


As far as my kit-ups, it was the Halloween Pearls from Samsarah that they put put a few years ago. I think there were 4, I bought 3 of them to do as a bell pull.  They took Crescent Colors floss (I can't call it the new name for some reason). So I'd like to get that done this fall as well. I have to see if I have some 36 count linen in stash, but if not, I'll order some.

I also kitted up the Samsarah ornament from the JCS preview issue. It's a snowman and baby, and I stitched the pregnant snow couple in 2011 for us, so I thought that would be a cute way to match that ornament and move on. It's supposed to be for Left-brain from Someone Small.  We'll see how much she likes this one.

Also, a SS Pearls design, Twinkle. This should go pretty quick.

And Waxing Moon Nuts about Autumn. I have had this for a while. It's time to stitch it.

The other one I kitted up was Cuddle Up to Libearty, a Brittercup Design that I've had since it came out. I loved it from the start, and wanted to do  it. So I figured I might as well bite the bullet and get started.

And my other treat purchase was the chart and beads for Nora Corbett Gigi, as well as a cut of Exotic Orchid linen. We'll see how this goes.


I do plan for this to be the last major shopping spree for the year. I'm going on a money diet starting July 1st and that is my priority now. We're back looking at houses and we have a gameplan, but it won't happen if I continue to spend willfully. Plus, my company is getting sold again. I still get to keep my job, but I don't know how the pay structure will be, and the next few months may be a little strained. Left-brain explained this all to the mortgage guy, and we have a plan, it's just do I have the willpower to stick to it?

BTW, I hope no one views this stash haul as a brag. I don't think these come across in that way, but it's hard to tell. Since Katie was born, I haven't really bought a lot of stash, so this is really 2 years of S.E.X compressed into 2 months. And that is not bad. Plus, I'm paying cash for it, and some of the stuff I bought earlier in the year was with a gift certificate, so it's not a bad thing. I don't know if I'm phrasing that well, but sometimes it feels good to have a little extra money, and not have it eaten up in bills, ya know?

Anyway . . . have a great weekend! We're going to a picnic tomorrow, I can't wait.

25 June 2014

The week's progress


My week's progress. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it.  On top of getting ready for the party, I was pushing myself to work 40 hours of OT last pay period. And that took up A LOT of time. I didn't make it, though, only got to 34, and I was exhausted. But I've been trying to do a little more since Sunday--been watching Ladies of London on Ondemand and stitching. The stop and starts are starting to kill me, I can't start and finish like I normally do, not when there are patches of two stitches.  But I love the colors. The hot red of the strawberries against the green is the epitome of early summer, so I soldier on.

18 June 2014

New start and a finish

I have a new start to show off, though the progress isn't very far along. This is my start on Pamela Kellogg's Summer Quilt. I bought them all when they came out, back in 2007.This is not my first time starting this; I started it the weekend that I brought Robbie home from Texas, because the next day we had to run up to Lancaster, PA, and I brought it along in the car. But that first version was on aida and I didn't like how it looked, and it's gotten a little trashed in the past 7 years, so I threw it out and started over.
 
 
This is what it will look like when done:
 
 
And this is my progress, so far:
 
 It was a Law and Order Binge night on WE Tv, so that explains how I got this much done. I think we stitchers should petition cable to do a Law and Order channel. You can get so much stitching done during a Law and Order marathon. And there are so many episodes--I swear, every time I think I have seen them all, I realize I missed a lot from the first seasons. And the younger detectives are so easy on the eyes.  Between all the series they've had, plus the UK one, I think there is enough for a real channel, don't you?

And a new start means a finish on CC and LHN collaboration, Peaches.

 
 
If I were to restitch this, I would substitute the cat colors for the Mocha Khaki. They show up well in pictures, but in real life, the colors match my fabric, 28 count antique white Jobelan, too closely. Maybe a pale blue would have worked better, but I'm getting ready to go on a money diet, so am trying to use what I have, not purchase new. Plus, I don't know how y'all feel about this, but when I have cat designs, I always feel vaguely like I'm cheating on my cats when I stitch cats of another color and don't at least include one that looks like one of them. I know, this is wierd, but . . . now you know why I stitch so many Halloween designs--they're additions to the Lily collection we have.  I think a yellow tabby would look wonderful on this, I was just too lazy to make it happen.
 
So that's all I have for today. We are celebrating Someone Small's birthday this weekend. It's a week early, but it was a scheduling issue. It's a Sofia the First party, and we ordered the cake on Monday. She chose it--"chock-it" and white, with white icing with a princess tiara on top. (Part of me doesn't like the princess theme, but Sofia is a regular girl who became a princess, and she's not a jerk about it, so it's OK, plus, they don't make Doc McStuffins cakes, so we were limited) And I have a special plan for her real birthday; it will make up for the day after, when we have her 2-year-old wellness check and shots.  Ohh, bad Mommy!The doctor wanted to schedule it on her real birthday--I said the last thing I wanted on my birthday would be a shot, and I think Kay-kay feels the same way. Would you?
 
Well, hope everyone is having a good week.

16 June 2014

Finished!



I am sorry for the cruddy picture. Kay-kay and I finished this on Friday night. Left-brain loved it. I didn't have it framed, but he has a framer that he likes. I told him to make sure the guy knows how to frame needlework, but if he doesn't, there's a place in Metro Crazyville, that a couple of friends have said do good work. I am happy with the piece overall, but not sure I'll do another one like this for a little bit.

11 June 2014

More progress


It's getting there.

All I have left is a bit of the lettering on the right side and the beach, but it's straight beach and water for 60 stitches, kind of boring stitching. I am not a big fan of LA charts because of them being colored--I don't like color charts when the color that they use has nothing to do with what the finished chart will look like. It's odd, but it throws me off and I don't like it. And so this vast run of color is dragging me down. I decided to break it into columns, 10 stitches wide, though, and that works a little better. I worked on it during Deadliest Catch last night, so it went OK.

I need to learn how to schedule things. I have, what 4 days to finish this, and not sure I am going to make it.  I signed up for a training class at work to learn a new skillset, and I was in class on Saturday for 5 hours. Training continues this Saturday, I don't think it's as long, though, and I'm supposed to go see a play for work, if I can get tickets, then we are doing the big Father's Day thing on Sunday, so that will take some time.  On top of it, I have 4 books to read by next Thursday that are on the highly-requested list, so not sure that's going to work.  I may end up owing the library some money, y'all, cause I am not returning them til I am done.

With Father's Day being so close to when Daddy died, it's hard for me this year. In a different way than it was when Gramma died. That was a terrible year--the first Thanksgiving, we didn't feel like cooking, so we ordered one of those pre-cooked meals from the grocery store. And it was dreadful. And the turkey needed to be cooked another two hours. It was the worst Thanksgiving ever. Plus, Daddy was in the hospital, still fighting to recover from the car accident that took Gramma, and that cast a shadow on everything. At Christmas, it was just trying to find a reason to believe in the wonder, now that the person who made the holidays so special was gone. But Father's Day feels different, and those stupid ads! Belk sent an email to a link for a Father's Day sale. They had pink pants. And those irritated me. Maybe because Left-brain wouldn't wear pink pants if they were the only pair he had in the closet--he's a jorts and t-shirt kind of man. My dad would have probably have worn them, if they were on sale, because my dad still thought in terms of 1970s prices, til my mom and I started buying him clothes. But I won't get to buy silly things like that anymore for him. And it got to me. I saw a guy who looked a little like him at the grocery store, and it hit me that I don't have a dad anymore; I bet that guy thought I was crazy, a fat lady pushing her cart away, crying, in the middle of the Food Lion, but it happened. I'd give anything to be able to have my dad back for an hour, the way he was before all this happened, how he was when I was in college, or even right after I got married, and I'd be able to tell him I am sorry I was a royal pain, sorry for the times I didn't have enough time for him, and thank him for being there for me when he could be. Heck, I'd give him pink pants if it would get him back for me. I think I may have to settle for just not checking email and ignoring the TV til the weekend is over.

06 June 2014

Progress

 
 Left-brain's Father's Day gift.
 
All those footprints (yes, they're footprints.) are FULL of quarter stitches. I am pushing myself to finish them before moving on to the rest of this. It is going to be a lot of work to get this done by Father's Day, but I'm going to do it.

02 June 2014

"I ain't nothing but a dream"--RIP, Dad.

My Daddy died on Saturday evening. I am feeling a mix of emotion right now. I didn't want him to hurt and that prayer was answered, but, for the first time in 37 years, I can't talk to my dad. And I didn't realize how much I'd miss that. I don't usually post music to this blog. I know I have slightly wonky taste in music. I try not to inflick that on you. But this is a song that, to me, is my dad. I first heard it in college. It was on the soundtrack to "The War" with Kevin Costner and Elijah Woods. It did not do well in the theatres, but it was an awesome movie. And it has THE BEST soundtrack, because it's all good 60's music. I had it on cassette, because I couldn't afford CDs. My dad drove down to Kentucky to pick me up for my first Christmas break, and this was one of the tapes we played on the way home. We used to talk a lot on those trips, and, anytime I hear this, I'm back in that old Dodge pickup truck, heading home through December twilight, seeing Christmas lights. And everything was OK. I know it will be that way again, someday, just a different kind of OK, it's the figuring out what that different is that's a challenge. And some pictures of him (I think I've posted these. We don't have a lot of pictures of our younger days. my family was a family that took pictures, but we were not people who got them developed. There are rolls and rolls of film at my parents house and I don't even know if you can get film developed anymore. I think someone who had parents like mine developed the digital camera.)




29 May 2014

Little start

Peaches
 Little House Needleworks/Crescent Colours Collaboration.
CC threads from kit on 28 count Antique White Jobelan
 
 
 
I am going to start back on Left-brain's Father's Day gift this weekend, but I could not resist this sweet little kit. I have had it in stash probably since it came out in 2006, and just decided I needed a bright colors on Jobelan fix.  Can I tell you how much I love Jobelan?  This was a cut from a half-yard I had in my stash, so I thought I'd use it. The Persimmon and Candied Yams were not choices I'd have initially made if I were designing this kit, but now that I see them together on the peaches, I really like them. I thought about changing the colors of the cat to match my Gus, but sometimes I get a little worried about clashing colors, so let it be the Siamese-looking kind of guy he is. I don't know what I'll do with this, but it's fun to stitch.


After several years of wanting one, and never having the money for it, we are getting a freezer. People Left-brain's parents knew passed away, and their kids didn't want to leave an almost-new freezer in the house, so they asked if Left-brain wanted it for free. OF COURSE!  I can't wait to go to the farm market this summer. Won't it be nice to be able to buy produce at summer prices, and freeze it for winter. Especially peaches and corn!  And tomato sauce. I would like to learn to make it, but never have, because we like to cook in bulk and there isn't room in our side-by-side for all that.  Plus, we can finally think seriously about buying a side of beef or a pig next year. I can't wait to get this thing home. Yay!

28 May 2014

Vacation stash, WIP updates, and thank you

First, thank you for your kind words about my dad. He is still with us. They were discussing hospice today. I am not able to attend these meetings--I don't have the leave, but, emotionally, it's too much. Plus, we are now dealing with some stuff with Katie--she got a bug bite on vacation. I had to take her to Urgent Care last Thursday because they thought she might have ringworm. The doctor said it IS a bugbite, but she is either having a bad reaction to it or it's a spider bite because it gets better and gets worse, and she is itching it now. If it's not noticeably better by this evening, we are going back. She can't spend the rest of the summer in long sleeves. I'm kind of frazzled--my resolve to get healthy has gone by the wayside for now. I'll pick it back up when things calm down.


These are my WIPs. Some of them are a little farther along than others.


DH's Father's Day gift:
 
Katie is helping me a little with this one. I push the needle through, she pulls it. She is quite pleased with herself, as well she should be. She can't count, but she can counted cross stitch, and that is pretty awesome!

Miss Kitty's Dragons:

 This is kind of challenging, but it's moving along. I do have to put it down because it calls for Kreiniks and those are not in my budget til next payday. It's not like I don't have anything else to work on . . .

Cinnamon Bear by Pam Kellogg from the 2001 JCS Ornament Issue:

This was a challenge to work on. Shading like crazy, but it's beautiful. I did it mostly at lunch so I could focus. I did as far as I can go on it this weekend. It also calls for Kreinik, but I'll get that next payday. I think I am going to have this one professionally finished for Katie's Christmas ornament this year. She has discovered a "passion" for "ki-kis" since meeting mine. Lily and Felix avoid her like the plague, as do most cats, but Gus came right up to her, and of course, she tried to pull him. I had to explain he is very old (he'll be 15 on Sunday) and is not a toy. She gave me her "face", but she was gentler with him. And she loves watching kitty videos on Youtube--cries of "What's that ki-ki do-en?" and laughter. So I thought this would be a good way to commemorate this year for her, and it'sdone in May. Whoda thunk?
 
 
And lastly, my vacation stash:
 
 
Sending me into a LNS with a whole lotta OT money is dangerous. The only thing here that was actually on my wish list was the mice book. And that is because I am obsessed with them. I have been ogling that book since I got it. And I picked up the crab design because my MIL loves crabs, but not red ones, because they are dead and she doesn't want to decorate her house in dead stuff. I figure this can be a "push-pull" project with Kay-kay. I got the By the Bay charts, because they were so "Maryland" to me. One day, I'll have to take some pictures down by the Bay to show you what I mean by that, but I loved the herons on the "Spring Cove" and it just felt good to me. The LK one is one I need to put up for myself, for these moments when I feel so damn small and helpless. I also picked up a little bit of fabric to do an ornament.
 
I also bought several of the 2012 LHN ornaments. I know I had said, back in 2012, I was not going to sign up for them, because I had SO MANY left over from the previous years. But I'm going to try to do them, since I have done a couple of the ornaments I had in stash. I still need to remind myself not to sign up for monthly series, though. It's not that they are bad, I just get overwhelmed too easily, and I can't stitch that quick, although you wouldn't know that from what I am doing lately. Though maybe my late efforts are more because I have dubbed this the year of "Stitch your Happiness," and stitching things I dearly love and not the things that I "owe" anything to, is freeing.  Does that make sense? We'll see how this goes.
 
This should be the last major stash I buy for a while. Not unless I find some money or win the lottery.  It was a lot, and I was a little aghast at the total, since I haven't spent that much in a few years, but I've been reasonable, my bills are paid, we had a rough winter and it was a good way to usher in summer, right?
 




23 May 2014

Organization

Since we're pulling back on searching for a house, we have to get all the stuff that was in storage out. Our house has been looking less cluttered lately, so I am not looking forward to having it all back, but we can't afford to pay for the storage unit, plus do the things that get us financially able to afford a new house. Since I don't want my stuff to end up on Storage Wars, it's coming home.

Left-brain was a little concerned about all the stuff coming back. I told him a lot of my stuff is BOOKS, and I need bookcases. Why do builders not put usable bookcases in houses anymore? Do people not read? Or do they all just have Kindles? Anyway, he said he wouldn't build bookcases if he could buy them already made--this is quite a change for the man who had to be convinced that the pre-fab railing sections were a better buy because the difference in material costs was much cheaper than the opportunity costs of him nailing the sections together. So we went online and looked. I ordered 3 large bookcases and one low for my office. The low one is for my work manuals and probably some freebie binders. And the tall ones will hold as much of my book collection as will fit.  They're almost 6 feet tall, so I figure that ought to hold a good bit, PLUS the top can be used to display some of my tchotkes. I don't know what I'll do with my stash quite yet. I'm determined to get that straightened out, but not sure how to do it--I'm still watching Youtube cross stitch videos, and I see how other people store stuff and I haven't found a system that calls to me, other than a non-vlogging friend's method of storing her extra skeins of floss in envelopes in photo boxes. I'm going to work on that when things settle down.

I know a lot of you know me from FB and stitching sites. So y'all people know that my father was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and given days to live. I'm compartmentalizing how I deal with it. I mostly try to push it to the back of my conscious, because, if I dwelled, I'd be a wreck. On the whole, I know we can not stay, we have to die, and he has no quality of life. But that doesn't always help.  I never knew my dad's parents--my gramma died when I was 9 months old, and my grampa died when I was not quite 5. The only memory I have of him, other than at the funeral, was him with the tattoos to guide the radiation. I had a great relationship with my mom's parents--I adored them--but how would things have been different if I'd gotten the chance to know Daddy's parents? And will Katie be affected by losing him? He is the only one of her grandparents she really calls by name, and she really talks good to him on the phone. She told him "All better" both on the phone last time we called and when I took her to see him, and she draws him pictures. People say to take her in to see him, but she was messing with his oxygen on Sunday when we saw him, and he isn't the Poppy she knows, and I don't want her to be scared. I want her to have good memories of him, cause they've got to last the rest of her life.

And I'm trying to be as normal as I can be; one thing I've learned over the years is that, even when we're grieving, we have no right to inflict our misery on others. So I try to be cheerful; it's strange, but it's how I deal. And I joke, because that's therapy. Laughter is healing. Besides my dad told terrible jokes, and he'd probably want it that way.

So, if you "see" me out and about, and I seem oddly jovial, just know that I'm trying my hardest to deal with a bad situation the best I know how to. And pray for my dad, if you can.
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