This is a freebie by Lavender and lace. I have loved it since it came out. I started it in May 2014. I finished it tonight. It's on some kind of hand-dyed Wichelt linen, and we know how I feel about that, but it was the right linen for the project. I am so pleased with this finish!
20 December 2015
My stitching year in review . . . it was an OK year. I did not get as many finishes this year, but I was working on some bigger projects all year. I haven't worked on a Dimensions kit in ages, but I spent the better part of three months on Soul Music. That's a long time on one project. I did get my Sleepy Hollow finished, which is a major thing for me. Major . . . And I managed to participate in the ornament exchange, which, with my hectic schedule, was not easy. We'll see about next year.
Which brings me to my 2016 plans. I did start discussing this on Facebook, but I have so neglected my blog and didn't post about it. After gathering my UFOs and WIPs, and realizing I have over 70 of them and seem hell-bent on starting more, I realized enough is enough. I pulled one of my large totes, christened it the Bin of Good Intentions, and put all my UFOs in it. All except the Hummingbird Trellis afghan, Summer Ball, and my Miribilias. Because 2016 is the year to work on reducing the number of my UFOs. I decided including those last projects in the mix would be too stressful--Hummingbird and Summer Ball alone could take a year and, in the end, I would have one project completed, where I could have 10 or 11 done, or more. So those are out for now. But the mix I have is some big ones, some smalls, and a couple that need to be restarted because they got messed up while they were UFOs.
It's going to be a challenging project. I know that. There is a reason I put these projects aside. But it may just be a temporary thing, maybe now I'll love them again and get them finished. I've already finished two projects out of the bin, and I'm happy with them. Who knows what I can accomplish if I set my mind to it? I did join a . . . stitch-a-long is not the right word, but it's a no-stash, no-start support group. They are set to only work on existing WIPs and UFOs from January 16th to July 16th. I think a few are starting things the first two weeks of the year, but I am trying to refrain from that. A great many of my UFOs started out as challenge projects where challenges didn't get completed. I am allowing myself a January 1 start, though. That is a tradition, but I am not going to make that a focus. I will focus on the other January 1st starts I didn't finish.
I do know I'll be posting here more in the new year. I really fell behind in posting finishes and that that is not good. I will try to post at least once a week. Hopefully more. Blogger does have a mobile app. Not so easy to blog on a cellphone . . .
Until then, Merry Christmas from our house to yours!
04 November 2015
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
02 September 2015
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
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:
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
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
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
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!
21 May 2015
I finally got the money scraped together to buy a new laptop. Picked it up at lunch. Nothing super fancy, just a little red (yes, I said red!) HP laptop. I never thought I would go for a color, but I deal with black equipment all day long and I just wanted something fun and "fancy." I still have to get Office for it, and a video camera, but this week, I'll just enjoy having a connection to the world that does not fit in the palm of my hand--I tried to order some Weeks Dye Works this morning using the phone and that settled the issue of when I would make this purchase.
Hope to have some pictures up soon. I let my camera kind of die since there wasn't anything to hook it up to in order to post. Looking forward to being more active on my blog!
29 March 2015
From my Big Box O' Projects:
14 March 2015
I pulled this out this week to work on.
I'm embarrassed that this is taking me so long. I have been watching Youtube videos and decided to try the parking technique, even though I don't know what to do when I get to the end of the column. I'll figure it out. I really want to get this done by Someone Small's 3rd birthday.
And my finish for the week:
03 March 2015
18 January 2015
17 December--Sailing Mice--Margaret Sherry, July 2007 Cross Stitcher
12 December--Happy Camper-Just Cross Stitch, June 2006
27 October--Mysterious Town of Halloween SAL-Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery
30 July--Blackbird's Winter Delivery--Loose Feathers
18 July--The Cinnamon Bear--Kitty and Me Country Crafts--2001 JCS.
7 July--Are you My Mother-Bent Creek.
27 June--Twinkle--SamSarah Pearls
17 June--Peaches, Crescent Colours/LHN Collaboration
13 June--June D. Morgan calendar--Leisure Arts
11 May--Starlight Sampler--Little House Needleworks
17 April--Giving Us Spring-Sanman Originals
3 April--Wave--Bent Creek 31 March--SNN kit
26 March--Woof tuck-Sanman Designs
25 March-Apples and Applesauce--Pitter Patterns
23 February-Baked Goods--LHN Ornament series
28 January-Joy to the World--Lizzie Kate
19 January-Lamb-Barnyard Christmas-Prairie Schooler-2001 JCS
Definite highlights of the year were getting the chart to finish Sailing Mice and buckling down to complete Happy Camper and Blackbird's Winter Delivery. Branching out to kawaii cross stitch has been a change for me, and finding the Youtube community has been, now that I've watched them for a while, really pleasant to find. I even have gotten more involved with the different groups on FB, which for me is a big step. I sometimes feel very isolated, since I work out of the house most days, live out in the boonies, and don't have close friends in the neighborhood, especially not ones that stitch.
And I feel like my efforts to organize are going to really help my stitching. Putting all the charts in boxes together, all the fabric together, all the threads, it takes a lot of the stress out of trying to find things. So I can put that towards being productive. Speaking of which, I put everything I wanted to work on in a pretty box, so I can pull from that and go, so it will be so easy to just work on a project! And I have definite choice vs. having to start and stop projects because I can't find the floss i need or the leaflet.
I think better things are ahead for this year. I hope they are!
I have been stitching merrily along. This was my first finish for 2015, a freebie (except you had to buy the buttons.
I have had this kitted up since May--there are several really pretty ornaments in that issue that I want to do, and this was a good start. I started it before Christmas, but got tied up with other things. She reminds me of my niece, with whom we spent a really nice day in November, watching her compete in an Irish dance competition. Kaydence was over the moon to spend time with her cousin, and when we ask her to dance like Hannah, she twirls and leaps. We are planning on putting her in a class where they are introduced to Irish music, stories and dance, so this will be a nice way to integrate that.
I have decided to spend 2015 either working on a few selected projects (that I keep in a box in the living room) or finishing UFOs. This one has been kicking around for so long, since 2004. I keep losing parts of it, so I have decided to man up, as it were, and finish it. I am using a Silkweaver Solo on Tula, along with the recommended threads.
I am almost finished with a project I started in the summer, that of reorganizing my thread stash. I've probably mentioned my lack of organization and how I never find the floss I need, because it's all wadded up in a box. Well, my friend Enid kept talking about how she keeps her floss in envelopes in photo storage boxes. Michaels was having a sale, and it sounded like a good idea, so I tried. First with sandwich bags, but those are too slippery, so I went back to the envelopes--lesson learned: sometimes, it's better to follow the crowd. It works really well. I am about 3/4 of the way though organizing, and it was not easy, but the DMC is, for the most part, in photo boxes. I still have to do envelopes for the 900 series and the 3000s, but it's closer than I was a month ago, and I can narrow my search. And know what I don't need to buy again . . . ever. It feels good.
I even managed to come up with an idea for how to use up some of the random strands of floss that I found that got separated from their skein or skeins that weren't marked what they were. I have some of the Mosey N Me challenge charts. Well, why not take the random strands and use them to do one of those? That way, I'm not wasting it. It's a good idea, I think
And the other thing I decided was that, while I love my super-fancy sewing machine, the fact that I took my last sewing class 18 years ago, I don't live near anyone who can really get me comfortable with it, and I am so intimidated by it is keeping me from using it, SOOOO, til I get enamored of it, I am buying one of those small sewing machines and using that to finish my stuff. I busted my butt at work last quarter--OK, I will pat myself on the back and say I did a great job last year--and I am getting a bonus, so kind of interested in seeing what that will be, but it's enough to get one of the small sewing machines. Let the girl get used to driving a Chevy before I get handed the keys to the Lamborghini. So, that should be in the next week or so.
I am so grateful for those of you who are sticking around while I work through the equipment issues I have. I found the Blogger app, so was able to post some pix. While my posts may not be as chatty, I'm still here, and still trying!
05 January 2015
Hey guys. Sorry for the long delay in posting. My laptop still needs fixing, so my computing is done on a phone. Maybe it's good that I dropped my flip phone, otherwise I'd be in trouble. Fixing the computer is not a priority now, because our stove took a powder as well and we need a stove more than a computer.
Posting photos of my latest finishes. Sailing Mice is by Margaret Sherry. I started this when it came out, and misplaced the chart. Someone on 123 gifted me with it. Happy Camper was from JCS in 2006. It was a PITA to stitch, but I got it done