30 December 2018

The Year to Come and the Year in Review.

I am sorry to have been away so long. This fall got crazy. Life got crazy. But, here I am, and with new resolve.

My biggest issue for the new year is rebuilding myself. I am not the same person I was before the things that started in October, 2016. I seem to have lost confidence in everything. My self-care is non-existant, even though I know I am dancing a dangerous line in regards to the healthcare parts of that, but I have a lot of issues with trusting doctors. I know I need to work on that, even if it's just summoning the courage to get a checkup and deal with what the fallout is from that. I need to deal with the financial issues that we fell into after everything; I've been so embarrassed, but I'm not the first person that has gone through this, it doesn't define me, and, like everything else, doing nothing isn't getting me anywhere I want to be. It's easy to get comfortable and wallow in sorrow and malaise, but I don't like it here anymore. It stinks, and I feel like I have an awkward residue on me that I need to scrub off once and for all. I don't know if this is the right place to admit all this, but 2019 is the year I pick myself up and cherish myself. I've warred with myself for way too long; it's time I won.

Anyway, part of getting myself back on the proverbial solid ground is spending less money. Among the ways that I am doing that is putting myself on the wagon with my stitching. I talked about this a bit in my last post, spending the year stitching things that I have and not shopping vs. spending the year kitting things up and buying random charts, with the idea of stitching them "someday". I know this seems so logical to 99% of the world, but remember, I'm not hitting on all 4 cylinders, and I am starting to think I haven't been for a very long time. I have been pulling out things I kitted up, and . . . YALL . . . I probably have 100 projects kitted up and not started, and that isn't counting things I have already started or have actual kits of.  So it seems rather stupid to pay for new stuff when I have plenty of stuff to work with. I'm not going to punish myself if I can't do it for the whole year, but I can at least try.

And I am also going to make more effort to finish my pieces, at least the smaller ones. I see all these beautiful trees with stitched ornaments and I want one so bad, but I keep not getting the gumption to finish my own work. I am going to get there this year. Maybe setting a specific goal of 4 a month is achievable.

Not that I had a shabby 2018, stitching-wise.

my 2018 finishes

It's missing two small finishes, but that's OK.

I liked the vast majority of what I worked on.  I did not finish Summer Ball, but I got pretty far! And that's more than I can say for it when I picked it up.

I will leave this for now. I have some surprises up my sleeve for 2019, I am looking forward to sharing them on here, along with pictures of my finishes.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's.

25 August 2018

2019 Stitching plans . . . already?

The rest of the world is thinking about pumpkins and cozy sweaters and I am thinking about next year, LOL.

So, probably spurred on by watching way too many YouTube videos about tinyhouse  and minimalist living (although I know the smallest I could go would be a park model mobile home with a superloft and I am not ready to reduce my belongings to fitting into a single storage tote), I have been really trying to make an effort to consume less in general and get rid of things I don't need. Over the past month, I have gotten 5 bags of clothes ready to donate and went through my books to get rid of two bins of books I think other people would enjoy more. I have been taking books to work and setting them out and donating them to the Little Free libraries, and, as soon as my car becomes reliable again, another box is going to A Book Thing in Baltimore.  This is not an easy process for me, but I am trying and change is good.

As far as my stitching stuff, there wasn't a lot that I was willing to give up at this point, but I did come to a decision about my 2019 plans. I have decided to make it a year of stitching from stash. I was really pleased with myself for my 2016 focus on UFOs. In 6 months, I got 25% of my 80 projects in the Bin of Good Intentions done, and I have gotten a few more done since then. It was not easy, but I did it. I want to have a year focused on similar goals, but, instead of being only projects I had not completed, I want to allow myself to pull anything from stash, as long as it's something I own, and my special focus is thin
gs I kitted up. I have a lot of my disposable income sitting in Ziploc bags, things I genuinely WANT to stitch, and it's time that I actually STITCH them, instead of just shifting the kitted-up projects around. It's basically a year "on the wagon" and I am hoping to see what I can accomplish. I have plenty of floss, plenty of fabric, and I have proven I can stay on track if I really try.

Granted, none of this starts til I finish Summer Ball, but I really think I can get that done, if not by the end of 2018, then early in 2019. It's worth a try. I started pulling projects together last night and I have a nice selection of freebies and other things to chose from, so it shouldn't be too bad a stitching year. What do you think?

10 August 2018

A side post: I realized something!

I haven't really posted pictures of the kids in forever. I guess if you follow me on Instagram or we're Facebook friends, you see pictures of them, but I realize not everyone does that. So, celebrating the fact that, after 4 years, we finally got a new modem with Wifi my laptop acknowledges, I thought I would let everyone see pics of them.

This was March of 2017. Logan had been home a little over a month and was 5 1/2 months old, about 3 months adjusted.

I adore his expression in this one. He has always been such a smiley kid. Someone Small, who is not so small anymore, was so thrilled with him. Now, he is in that phase of little brotherhood where he is into everything. She isn't the biggest fan of him. I keep this kind of picture to remember "the good times". LOL. 

This was taken at the end of June. One of her birthday gifts was seeing a fabulous musical at my work. 

They had a thing where, in Act 2, the characters are in a nightclub. The emcee wishes an audience member Happy Birthday. Since it was her birthday, she was the lucky birthday kid. She was totally surprised and thrilled. She adores "working" at my job as the official box office kid, and loves live theatre and having the people on stage acknowledge her special day was fabulous for her. She told me when we were walking out that it was the best birthday ever. 

And the boy, eating crabs for the first time:
He doesn't even look like the same kid! He is almost 2, but adjusts to about 19 months old. He doesn't really talk yet, but he is trying. We have been through so much, and he adjusted so beautifully. He loves Mickey Mouse and Elmo, and is such a good boy. And he loves to eat. All the time. He actually eats better than his older sister--last night, I didn't feel like cooking, so got Chicken McNuggets for the family (I know, I know). He ate 10. And some fries. And wanted more. There isn't much he doesn't like, maybe pickles and sauerkraut. I am even teaching him to stitch. He pulls the needle through, I grab it and he yells, "Ahh, riiii" (Alright!), and claps. He is so pleased with himself. Pretty good for a "wimpy white boy" (I hate that term, it's a preemie thing, my son is not weak, never was, he has dealt with more nonsense in his very short life than most people deal with in 70 years. but people think that term is cute . . . .)

Anyway, thought someone might enjoy seeing my babies, growing up. Have a great evenign

15 July 2018

Update on Summer Ball and future plans

I apologize for the quality of this picture. It is not easy to take decent photos of this project.

I finished another page of Summer Ball by Sandy Littlejohns last week. I started working on the area to the left of the girl in the yellow dress in February, but when I got a job and my depression kicked up badly, I put it down. I picked it back up at the end of April, but it's been up and down since then. I decided that, this was going to be my focus piece for the rest of 2018, starting July 1st. I did decide I can work on small pieces if I am working on them on break or at lunch at work, but this MUST be the focus. I MUST GET this done. It is too beautiful to keep sitting in a box, unfinished, with random body parts started and not finished. I am at the halfway point now. Actually, after this morning I have about 1000 more stitches completed in it, but this is the closest pic to it. I am working to the left, and at least this section is a lot of background and it goes fairly quickly. At least for being a 10 inch wide section.

14 July 2018

How did the last months go so fast?

I didn't realize it had been so long. It's been a challenging few months. I started my new job May 7th. I like the work, and getting to work from home is a great perk. It has worked well for our schedule and our family, but learning a new system and a new way of doing things is hard. I am keeping positive. I know I am going down this path for a reason and I do enjoy getting paid.

Some of the things that I have been working on since I last posted:

SNN kit from 2007

I did not enjoy the specialty fibers on this one. They were a PITA to work on.

Artiste kit
I picked up this little kit while training for the new job. It's pretty, but I won't be buying another one of their little kits. Lots of fractionals, and I hate doing those on Aida.

Easter Blessings, Prairie Schooler Freebie

I apologize for the picture. I was just excited to finish this. I used the called-for colors on a piece of linen I got somewhere. This took a few years to complete, but I am happy with it.

Americana Heart, by Joy of the Needle
I have had this chart since the summer after 9/11, and I love it so much. I wanted this done by 4th of July. I really like it. So pretty. 

Woodland Christmas, by Theron Traditions
I found this at a used bookstore two Christmas Eves ago. I had kitted it up a few months ago and just decided to do it. I did not realize that there was snow and it was all in Oatmeal, so I had to fudge it. I hate having to do that, but its done.

Spring Tulips bookmark, by Handblessings
I took this one to training with me and spent a while during that time working on it.  It was a lot more complex than I imagined it could be. 

Garden Prince, by Just Nan
I inherited this from my friend Enid, and it was fun to work on it. My finish is not perfect, but I like it.

The Needles Content, August floss tag
Honestly, I am about over these tags. They are cute, but they are annoying to stitch. I have 4 more to do, I think,

Cuddle Up with Liberty
Another oldie from my collection. This took a while, but I like her. She looks so much like a Boyds Bear.

Trustworthy and True, by Little House
I did this for my parents. They never had a wedding sampler. I am going to finish this for my mom.
I got to go to Arizona for my training. It wasn't terribly hot when I was there, which was good because I was there for two weeks. Arizona is so different from Maryland, like night and day. The time difference took a lot of getting used to, like I was getting up at 3AM their time so that I could talk to the kids before Left-brain took them to school, and going to bed at 8.My daughter was impressed that there were orange trees and that it was still light out when it was dark back home. And people get to wear shorts to work there. The only time I have ever worn shorts to the office was when our AC broke and it was 97 degrees in the room. And it has ruined me for local Mexican food!
My mom and brother were there the week before and my brother got this lovely shot!
I did get a chance to go to Attic Needlework in Mesa. It is very different from my LNS, but of course I had to shop there!  It was a great shop, mostly focusing on samplers, but I did find some things to put in my basket that I have never seen before. (That is my rule about shopping out of the area, I don't want to buy things I can get at home, my lame attempt at supporting my LNS.) The ladies in there were super friendly and gave me some excellent travel advice. I also hit up about five Hobby Lobbys. We have 3 within a reasonable drive to me at home, and I have been to all of them, looking for Thea Governor's America kit without success. Not to mention, having a Hobby Lobby less than 15 minutes from me was a novel experience, so I took advantage of the proximity. I almost gave up on finding it in Arizona, but the last store had one kit at 75% off.  I was overjoyed; it was one of those moments I wanted to run around, screaming in victory, kit raised above my head. 
 I did get some time to myself and went to Sedona. The ladies at Attic Needleworks told me to go to Cottonwood as a better way into the area, and I was glad for the advice. It was a lovely ride, saw a wild burro, some balloons, and lots of cacti. People kept saying the road was windy and scary, but I was OK. No worse than driving the Appalachians. And then you come down off a mountain and the valley spreads out in front and it's breath-taking. The town itself is so beautiful, after all the desert colors, seeing the red rocks and the trees was so lovely. And it spreads as far as you can see. It was magical.
I got the chance to visit the beautiful Church of the Holy Cross. It is a lovely Catholic church built into the red rocks. It was a long hot walk up there, but it had a gorgeous view out over the valley, and I felt a kind of peace I haven't felt in a while in there. All I can say is, I felt God in there. 

The amazing altar.
I also tried prickly pear ice cream. SO YUMMY! I wish I had more time in Sedona, but I can always go back.  I can post more photos if anyone is interested.
All told, I was there 11 days. It was a good trip that I really needed. Outside the stuff with work, it was such a reflective time. I had a few experiences that were life-affecting, came to terms with some past pain, and read some amazing books. I was so glad to come home, I basically RAN out to the car to my family. I missed them terribly.
I feel like something really grand is going to happen to us soon. Maybe not immediately, but soon. I just feel it. I feel like I have a plan now that I didn't have before. 

01 May 2018

Two More April Finishes

Two more little finishes for the month. I already posted these on Instagram and FB, but I am still pretty pleased and wanted to share

Bebunni Freebie
World of Cross Stitching
stitched with called for theads and card stock

This was a free little card kit in an issue of WOXS from 2016. I like Bebunni a lot and have been looking for small designs to stitch. I liked this one immediately. I don't make cards, so wasn't really clear about how I'd use this, but I had been thinking about making ornaments out of the Christmas card kits. Well, my son took one look at this and started chirping (he doesn't talk yet; we don't know if this is from being a preemie or just him being a normal kid, but he is getting help) and was so excited, I decided it was perfect for him. I just trimmed the panel that referenced the magazine information, and then folded  the card stock so that that was inside. The panel that now makes up the back is prettier. I will get a pretty marker and personalize it for him. I think it will be so cute on the tree this year. 

Happy Snowman
Shepherd's Bush
stitched with Weeks on Weichelt linen

I did this one last week. It didn't take too long, maybe a day or two. My LNS kitted this up a few years ago (look, y'all, I am catching up!) I seem to have lost some snowflake charms that were on it, but I still think it looks good. If I could ever unearth all my sewing fabric, I would just make a bunch of ornaments, but I need to go over my sewing machine and see why it is not sewing a good seam. I do like this pretty little guy and his sweet little sheep, don't you. 

28 April 2018

April Update

Weird how the time flies along when you are busy. I lost my mojo for most of the past 6 weeks. It was getting used to a new schedule, having to spend so much time in the car, and dealing with some other stuff. I was offered a position with the postal service, but turned it down because the schedule wasn't going to work with my family needs. My test results are good for 6 years, though, so I am not too upset. They are always hiring around here--one of the benefits of living in a busy area.  I do have some other good news, but will talk about that in a few weeks.

I did, however, make some decisions about my makeup subscriptions. Y'all may not know this about me, but I love makeup. A lot of my technical theatre work in college was with makeup, and I love following makeup artists and admiring their creativity. Especially with all the new shades and formulas out there. I've been an Ipsy subscriber for the past 3 years and I got a lot of fun new stuff to play around with. Ipsy is a basic makeup membership-- $10 a month for a makeup bag and 5 samples of cosmetics and skincare. You give your preferences and they try to match them. One of the best things was getting a red lipstick the month Lolo was born. I have this motto that red lipstick makes any situation better, and when that came in my bag, I wore it like armor to the hospital to buoy up my spirits.  I actually got a lot of compliments on it. But I also get a lot of black eyeliners and cleansers; I don't wear eyeliner, and I don't know how to do winged liner, and some of these cleansers made me break out. And there were a lot of brown eyeshadows in those Ipsy bags. A lot. Even when I changed my physical description and preferences, I still got a lot of brown. So, I have been considering one of the other companies. I ended up subbing to Boxycharm. I am already really pleased. I was only not overly thrilled about one product--a lipstick in cocoa brown, but I change my hair enough that I will probably have the right color hair for it at some point this year. I did get a brown eyeshadow, but it came in a palette of 12 and they all aren't brown. And it's only $21. Not bad, because the stuff is always worth more than $100. And I did a major makeup cleanout this month, so I have room for it!

I did get some stitching done. Nothing major, but wars are won with small battles, too, right?

Summer Ball
Pamela Kellogg
stitched with called-for threads on unknown evenweave

I have had this pattern, and the other ones in the set for years. I distinctly remember working on a version of this the weekend after I picked up a new dog, and that's been 10 years.  It was not an easy chart and I kept putting it down. I had to restart it at one point, as well. My friend, Enid, saw me working on it at stitching group one time, and she liked it so much, she ordered the whole series. She was a fast stitcher, so she had them all done in what felt like a month, but I was still putting it down.  I found it after Enid died last fall, and I determined to finish it. I feel like she grinned the whole time I was finishing it last month, and asking what was taking me so long. So this one is for her. I plan on finishing it as a cube, but not sure when I will have time to do it. Wouldn't it look lovely with strawberry print fabric and a wide velvet bow?

Secret Needle Night, August 2005
Silver Needle Limited Edition
kit--stitched with the called for threads

This has been kicking around my stash for a long time. I bought it a few months after it came out in the shop, right around when I started subscribing to these kits. I still have a lot of them left undone, but this one is now on my "done" list. This one wasn't even that hard--the threads weren't too funky--but it still took me a while to do. I just feel very awkward using the Rainbow Gallery threads and they take a lot more time to work with than plain DMC, so I never rush to do these. I subscribed for 3 years and I don't miss this one. I would rather use my money for a makeup box!

Lastly, we have this:

Summer Ball
Sandra Littlejohns
Anchor floss on 32 count Jobelan

This one really suffered with my loss of mojo. I just couldn't bring myself to pick it up for over a month. This week, I decided I HAD to suck it up and start working on it. And I have made good progress. The area from the yellow dress over has been done since February, and I would say half of this was done this week. I'm so excited to think that at least this page might be done this week, or at least this month. That way I can say it only took me 12 years to do half the chart!  Whoo hoo! The stair step stitching method is working incredibly well for this chart, and I think that is helping me make progress.  

I hope everyone has had a great month. Happy Stitching. 

18 March 2018


Not a heck of a lot of stitching went on this week, since I was trying to get the house put back to order before starting work. We did, however, take some time to get the kids' picture taken with the Easter bunny, since I don't know what my schedule will be for the next few weeks. K was quite happy to visit the bunny, but her brother wanted no part of it.

I have no idea what bothered him, except he was tired. His stroller is in the back of our truck, which is at the repair shop, getting the transmission replaced. We just had the flipping thing rebuilt last spring, and it went out at the end of February. At least, when it broke, it was NOT when the kids and I were in the car. And it did have a warranty. So . . . but that is not helpful when you are trying to corral a rowdy toddler at the mall on a Saturday afternoon. He was full of energy. But that bunny . . . oh my. He cried for another 45 minutes after we got out of the center court--I had to calm him down with an onion ring.

I start my job tomorrow. I'm so nervous, and, to be honest, upset. It's not that I don't think I can do this job, because I know I can do it. It's the change. And I have had so much unwanted change in the last year or so. It's all taken a toll on me that doesn't seem to heal. I got to thinking and I want the life I had in 2015 back. I was happy, we had a good income, I thought I could conquer the world. Now I don't know who I am, or what I want to be. Logan is the only really good thing that happened since then, but even that took so much from me. And I sometimes think I'll never get back to being OK, and that scares me, because I have these two wonderful little people who depend on me, and I don't want them to grow up remembering this version of me. I don't like her. I just don't really know how to get rid of her. I've spent the last few months praying to not be one of those people that falls through the cracks. I even felt the need a few nights ago to wish on a shooting star. We'll see how  that works out. I'm going to do the best job, and use this time to see if this is really what I want to do.

I am sorry to be a downer. It's just one of those days . . . I have been crying a lot lately. More lately than before.

08 March 2018

Is it March already

February actually ended up being kind of a bust stitching wise. My depression at the job hunt took over for most of the month, despite my best efforts, and I spent a lot of time in bed. Job hunting is hard. And frustrating. I spent 11 years as a insurance underwriter, a very good underwriter, and I only last week got a response for an interview I had in January for a 16 hour a week job at the bank I use; they didn't offer me the position. I did get a job at a theatre in Baltimore, though. I just found that out last week. I'm nervous. I have never attempted to do any theatre job full-time, and I'm not sure how well I will do, but I am going to try. I am grateful to have a job with benefits and want to do my best to justify my hiring.

Anyway, I did get a project finish last month.  The little kitten mitten is done. I love the vibrance of the blue of the mitten on that crisp white fabric--remember, it's not the called-for floss, but I just loved how it looked at my LNS.
Snowflake Kitten Mitten
Cross Eyed Cricket
14 count aida with mostly called for threads and RG Splendor
I'm planning on finishing this. I know I say this a lot, but I think my non-stitching time this year will be used for finishing. I just bought some finishing boards, and think I can probably spend some time getting it done. 

This is my progress on Summer Ball. Everything from the guy's sleeve over is new for this month. I realized I don't like stitching all the men on this piece. Lots of complex shading. The women are easy to do, at least everyone but the yellow lady! I think there are only 3 men in this section, though:
Summer Ball
Sandy Littlejohns for Cross Stitch Collection
stitched on 32 count Jobelan with  Anchor threads
And this happened. My theatre is putting on a very different, amazingly beautiful show about the effect of suicidal depression on the family. It's a lot of audience involvement, and the actor often goes up in the audience. The entire box office staff attended the dress rehearsal, where the theatre's photographer takes the promo photos. We ended up in the photo they used in the review for the Washington Post. And who ended up in the middle of the picture, but ME (I'm the redhead in the wild shirt.)!  Luckily I had dyed my hair that day and did my makeup. It's not a bad picture; I think I was on the verge of laughing, but at least I don't look awkward!
I hope everyone has a good week.

25 February 2018

This week

My stitchy bug left me this week. I was pretty busy for someone who doesn't have a full-time job, so that is probably part of it. But I just didn't feel like working on Summer Ball.

Monday, the kids were both off school. Stitching with a very curious 17 month old is basically impossible, so I spent a lot of the day playing with them. I also met with my career transition counselor, who had some good ideas to refocus attention on me. I am hopeful those will start panning out.

One of the career paths people suggested to me when they found out I was losing my job was to work for the post office. I've taken the personality part of the test more than once and passed, but never had the time or courage to take the 473 exam. It's the most competitive exam for the federal government and 80-90% of people fail. If you fail, you can't retake the test for 6 months, so I had been putting it off because I would rather not try than fail sometimes. But, I need to start being brave. Cowardice is a luxury my family can not afford, same as pride, so I signed up to take the test. Tuesday was the big day. It was gorgeous out, but my test site was in Hagerstown, roughly 2 hours from the house, so I got started on my way right after getting the kids off to school. My truck might have been built to conquer the desert, it was not, however, meant to climb the Alleghany Mountains, plus I got wonky gas and the CEL came on (quite frustrating when I JUST SPENT $650 to get the thing turned off for another problem), so I was all in a dither when I got to the testing center, then spent 20 minutes circling the block, looking for the right parking lot spaces.

That test was so hard. I won't go into detail, just google "practice postal service exam" to see what it's like. I did my very best to follow the guidance that some of the YouTube videos (because there are YouTube videos for everything) had given: take your time, check your work when you can, and use the time you are given to memorize, even if you don't want to. And I gave myself a pep talk. Because I am smart enough to pass the test and my kids need me to take care of them. I need me to take care of me. But, being a realist, knowing how many people fail, I called my mom and told her not to get her hopes up. The nice thing is, you know within an hour if you passed or failed, so, after stopping at AC Moore to get some floss, I checked my email.

Y'all . . . .

I passed!

A 70 passes, but you need about a 76 to get an interview. I got higher than that. So I am applying for any close position. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I had two other job-search related activities this week. One interview and another test, closer. It wasn't as hard. I got a 95% on that one. Which I am fine either way with. And, knock on wood, the CEL went off when I put different gas in. The truck was running OK even with it on, I just don't like looking at it.

Friday, I started this little piece, just to get another finish. This is the Snowflake Kitten Mitten freebie, from CEC. I subbed out the aquas for Splendor and a metallic from Rainbow Gallery. I love the Splendor, but the Neon Rays doesn't work on 14 count. Poop! It looks good and it's finishing up SUPER QUICK. It feels smaller than the other mittens, but that can't be true, but maybe it just is fun to stitch and that is making a difference to me.

Hopefully I can get this done tonight. I really would like to get myself disciplined enough to sit down and spend a day just finishing stuff, but it's hard. There is always something that needs doing: dishes, laundry, trying to clean up small pieces or toys before someone steps on them (Left-brain stepped on a Little People figure of Lolo's a couple weeks ago and nearly fainted from pain--I told him Shopkins hurt way worse.
So that is all that is going on here. I hope everyone is having a great week.  

19 February 2018

My literary weekend

It was an interesting weekend here in Crazyville. Not a lot of stitching was done, but I added to my book collection!

I took another trip to A Book Thing on Saturday morning. They were calling for 3-6 inches of snow and I wanted to get there early, so that I could get to work on time and not be trying to drive in bad weather. I am driving my husband's H3 now, because my car has developed major issues and I am not driving the kids around in that anymore, but just because it has 4WD and looks like it could fight a war doesn't mean  I should be skidding around on ice in it!

It's so easy to get to, but parking is a pain(I know, stop complaining about the parking to get free books, RACHEL!). Last time, I could park on Greenmount Avenue (right by the shop), but Saturday, I had to park a block over and walk through an alley to get to the store. Usually, I would not walk through an alley in a city, even the county seat here (especially not our county seat), but it didn't look unsafe and there weren't a lot of places for someone to hide, so I took the chance. And saved myself some walking.

I will have to post a picture of my haul later, but I got a bunch of books off my Amazon wishlist, and some other books that may be interesting companions to things I have just read. I wish I had a lot of time to look around, because they have a lot of books, even recent releases. I have really gotten into Anne Tyler lately, because she sets her books in Baltimore and she is a master of capturing the city. When I read "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant," I just pictured the neighborhood it was set in and . . . pretty sure it's right near A Book Thing. I also found a nice copy of Widow of the South, which is a great book from 2006 or so, based on a true story. I think I ended up with 40 books or so--if you can, imagine me hauling myself through an alley with an enormous Disney Store totebag over my shoulder and my arms full of books!

It started snowing at about 2. One of the things I love about my job is that they understand I live in the back of beyond and need to be able to get home safely, so, as we are watching all this snow come down and beginning to accumulate, I made the choice to come home. It wasn't as bad up here while I was coming home, but we did end up with 2 or three inches and it was cold enough to freeze. So I settled up for a nice home, home with my family. And my new books!

Yesterday, I did the coolest thing. I live in a really rural county, but whoever is in charge of our library system schedules THE BEST programs. In October, they had someone from the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore (which is also the Maryland State Archives) come out and do a program on Edgar Allen Poe, and they always have REALLY GOOD authors come through for readings and book signings. A couple years ago, Wally Lamb came. He is my favorite living author (in case you're wondering, Pat Conroy is my all-time favorite), and I ended up crying in front of him while telling him how much I loved The Hour I First Believed.

Anyway, yesterday was Andrew Morton with his new biography about Wallis Simpson. I have read pretty much all of his books and really liked them. He was very nice in person. I have all my signed books personalized to my kids and he enquired after K's name. HOW COOL!  He discussed Wallis' life and even told us she spent time at a relative's farm out in this area.

I have already started on the book. It's really good so far. Easy to read and interesting. I will let you know how it turns out.

12 February 2018

FInish #2 for the year

I have another finish. It looks odd to see only two finishes at the mid-point of February, but I know my reasons! Sorry for the bad picture!

 Love You Forever
Forever in My Heart Freebie
stitched on Monaco with Anchor floss of my choosing
I spent much of my past "vacation" week working on a cottage design by Victoria Sampler, but I had kitted up this sweet freebie the summer before last in two options, this one and one that is all blue and pink. At some point, it was a freebie on the Wichelt website, but not sure if it's still available.  I'm trying to be a more adventurous stitcher and not use only the called-for colors, and I think this is one that could easily be altered to fit the recipient. At least this colorway worked out well. I plan on doing this as a little door hanger for K to put on her bedroom door, but will also stitch it in the blues and pinks for her little brother. I think he will like it, even with it not being Mickey Mouse--Lolo LOVES Mickey Mouse!
Today I am back working on Summer Ball. I am trying not to be overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done. But at least I got about 50 stitchies in. LOL

10 February 2018

A Late 2017 Year in Review

Probably not worth the effort to do this in February,but . . . things are just taking a lot longer than I want them to, so why would this be different?  And that is OK, since I can't do anything about it anyway.

I had 31 finishes this year. I think, at this point, rather than list each finish individually, it would just work better if I posted the FB album I have them all listed in.  Mostly ornament-sized finishes.Typically, I would be annoyed with this, but having a newborn who had some issues took a lot of time, and I have been in a stress mode most of the year due to the way my job loss occurred. So any finish is something to celebrate! And I managed to make an ornament this year, a very sweet freebie I gave to Lolo's visiting nurse, Carrie, who was a saint to us all year.

I also participated in the Frosted Pumpkin year long SAL. This was a piece that taught me a lot. Mainly, I don't like SALs. Too much to keep track of and too much self-induced pressure to keep up. And I can be mean to myself. Way mean. So, even though the one they did this year is very cute, I am not doing it, and, to be really honest, I won't be stitching much more of their designs. They are cute, they are just not my thing.

One thing that did happen this fall that got me really thinking was the death of one of my stitch friends. She was older, but it was still sudden. And her amazing son gave my local stitching group as much of her stash as I could fit in my car (another thing I learned is that a Hummer H3 doesn't hold as much as one would think it should. even with the cargo area empty).  We have spent the past three months taking what we want, but finally the rest is going to charity. I got to wondering, what will happen when I pass? I mean, I had a very close call in October 2016, what would have happened had I not made it? what would my husband have done with my stash? Thrown it away, given it to my stitching group (picturing this in my head, he would have to rent a warehouse, take it there, and then take it home. Hmmm.) Should we have plans for our stash estates? And an executor? Is this unreasonable?

09 February 2018

Some January projects

Two posts from me in a month? Wow! I am trying to be more available. Searching for a job is draining, though. Lot of work without much reward.

So, Summer Ball, a 2006 design by Sandy Littlejohns, has been kicking around my UFO pile since the designs came out in Cross Stitch Collection. I really can't tell you why it remained in 1/6 completed status for almost 12 years, except that I find it very intimidating. But, I decided that it would be a focus piece for me this year, because it's bad enough that I have UFOs from my 20s, but I realized I'd be almost 66 when this gets completed if I stay on the same schedule, and I might be dead well before that. So I made it a priority.

This is my major work for the year. My plan is 3 weeks on, one weekend to work on something ornament sized, then work for three more weeks, ornament sized again. When I complete a section, I get a week off to do something else. I think this is very do-able, right? Not too much of an unbroken commitment?

Anyway, here is where I started in January:

And the middle section is complete. At least the stitching. The backstitch is still incomplete. I will do that when the whole thing is done, since there are French knots on Lizzie's dress and I don't want them smashed.  

Going by what this took, it will probably take 2-3 months for each section to be completed. Not that bad. It's a fairly detailed design with lots of fractionals, but I think there at less people on the side sections. That yellow dress took forever: 5 shades of yellow in it!
I also worked on this lovely little piece. It was a freebie by Gazette44 (I think). They did a series of 4 seasonal pieces, which includes a bunny, seagull and squirrel. I have the others kitted up, but did this one to go on my Peace of the Wild Things tree. The threads I used were DMC 3347 and a Threadworx. When I visualized this, it was in some browns, but I loved this Threadworx in the shop as soon as I saw it. So, initially, it was to be all the overdyed. And then I started it and realized that it would look a little too crazy if it were all that way, so picked out a pretty green and went with that. 
I love how it looks. The deer look a lot crisper than they would have looked in the overdyed.  And it's  not as "camo-y" looking. I want to do the other ones, but it looks like that will be summer before that gets done.
My daughter and I had a chance to go to A Book Thing in Baltimore this weekend. It is such a neat place with such a wonderful mission. People (myself included) donate unwanted books to what is, in the end, a FREE bookstore; you want a book, see if they have it, just don't resell it. Pass it on!  I love this place! We couldn't park right there, so it was a little walk, but we got some nice books. My daughter couldn't figure out how we got books and didn't have to pay for them. I just kept explaining that it wasn't a library and we got to keep them. We picked up a bunch of really nice books, some for her, a lot for my boss, who said, "Just bring what you think is interesting!"  LOL. Challenge accepted! If you are ever in Baltimore on a weekend, I highly recommend spending some time here. It's worth it. 

01 February 2018

It has been a long time.

I can not believe it has been just short of a year since I last posted.  2017 might have been a bad year, but at least it went quickly, I guess.

Little bit of a life update for today at least: Logan came home from the NICU after 142 days, on February 15. It took a lot of adjusting to having 2 kids, and there were some medical issues. But we have overcome a lot of the odds and he is doing splendidly. He will be 16 months old next week, and he walked at adjusted age of  11 months old. Not much older than his "normal" sister. We had some struggles to get him developmentally on track, mostly due to the fact that his g-tube "button"--the part that is in their skin--stuck up too high and it hurt him to do tummy time. In August, his wonderful nurse changed it out for a flat one and he took off. Held his head up in a day, crawled on September 10th and then walked just before Thanksgiving. He is eating 100%, loves food, eats like a grown man. Yay!  I have been dealing with PPD as a result of everything we went through. There are not a lot of psychiatrists who take my insurance, and I had a bad experience with the one who did, so that is something I am still struggling with. But I at least have come to understand that I did not cause this prematurity. There was not a single thing I could have done to prevent the pre-eclampsia (I agonized for months that, had I just been more insistent about taking BP meds as a preventative, it wouldn't have happened. Turns out, they don't help. PEC is not a blood pressure condition, it's pretty much an allergy to the placenta) and I am terribly lucky that I did not die from it. That helped a lot. I still have a long way to go. It did not help that I was laid off from my job at the end of November. I am searching for a job, I didn't realize how hard it would be to find a new one. I always could at least temp before. But it's not so easy. My husband's schedule and the lack of school-age care in this area are hampering me, and I am starting to get desperate. My husband came out this morning to see me, sitting in the dark, trying to find some kind of work with benefits.

Anyway, I will be back more often now. I hope everyone is hanging in there.
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