Sunday, November 8, 2015

November is Here

Can anyone believe that it is November? Didn't we just start the year? I really do not know where the days are going. I have so many plans at the beginning of each month and then it's the end of the month and nothing got done. The only good thing about this month is that I feel like I got a few good hours of cross-stitching in here and there.

I did realize something pretty important. I can only start as many projects as I plan on rotating through regularly. After getting a week in on the Faces of Joan Elliott SAL in October, I couldn't forget about it. After I got a week in on the FOTM and the birth announcement, I couldn't resist doing another week on Faces. So now I have a three project rotation. And that is where I need to stay. I absolutely refuse to start anything else (unless it is a bib for a baby shower) until what I am working on now is done. Then I will decide if I am going to have a two project or three project rotation. But if I start something else, I'll have to add it in,,, and then nothing will ever get done.

I did get two weeks in on the Wild Rose FOTM, and I am pleased with the progress I made. I think I have to thank the nice weather we have been having here in New York. It has just been too nice to do stuff inside, so I've been spending as much time in the backyard as possible. And therefore, I'm getting a little more stitching time in.

The Joan Elliott birth announcement is also moving along well. Got one week in in October, and another this last week. As with the FOTM, I am pleased with the progress I've made.

And yes, I finally did get the top row of my HAED, Lobo, done. In fact, I have been so motivated that since this picture was taken, I got another 3,000 stitches done.

Plan for this month is to stick to my now three piece rotation and not add anything else to it. Let's just keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, October 5, 2015

October Update

Well here we are again for my monthly update. First up, the Flower of the Month SAL. I finished the May Lily of the Valley. It is my least favorite of the entire series. I even considered skipping it, but I knew if I did that I would never do it and I do want the entire 12 month collection. In the end I was very happy with the way it came out. I'm also pleased with the fabric I chose for it. I really did not think I was going to be able to stitch over two. It sounded so difficult. But being me I just had to try it, and I LOVE it! I don't understand why, but it's not really difficult at all, and I just love the way the higher count fabric makes the finished product look. As soon as I use up all the 14 count Aida that I bought I will definitely not be buying any more.

But right now I still have a few projects that will be stitched on 14 count Aida. For example, the birth announcement I started a few months ago for my friend who had her first baby in July. This is now what I am considering my main project. I must have it completed by the baby's first birthday. I think I should be okay as long as I stick to my plan of working on it two weeks each month.

I have realized, however, why so many people buy a kit but then use their own fabric and threads. The fabric that came with this kit isn't too bad, but the thread is terrible. It is so twisted. It's even hard to separate the threads. Once separated they are getting very knotted as I'm using them. I think I am going to stay away from kits going forward.

During the last week of the month, I started my newest project, the Faces of Joan Elliott SAL. Again, this is on 14 count Aida which I bought specifically for this project when I first decided to make it. I wish it was 28 count, but the fabric is pretty, and I am very happy with the results of my first week of work on it. This will become my main project once the birth announcement is complete.

Lobo continues to develop very slowly. I haven't even taken a picture in quite a while. I normally get most of my Lobo stitching done on the weekend, but this weekend I didn't get one stitch in. I think it was a good thing because now I am extremely eager to get back to it. I am hoping when I prepare my next post I will have completed the entire top row. I refuse to take a picture before then.

Going forward I plan to work on the FOTM SAL (starting the June Wild Rose) the first and third week of the month, and the birth announcement the second and fourth weeks.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Summer is Almost Over!

I always feel a little depressed at the end of summer, and I'm really feeling a little bummed this year. I spent the summer with my mother while she was recovering from her surgery and missed sitting in the backyard and doing the gardening. The condition of our garden is truly sad. I'm also bummed over the fact that I didn't get more done in August for the Flower of the Month SAL, hosted by Alyssa at Brownie's Chair. This is the first month this year I did not spend my planned two weeks working on the SAL. I spent the first two weeks of the month finishing my Woodland Rabbit. Admittedly, that actually made me very happy, but then the end of summer blues started to hit.

I started working on Lily of the Valley which is my least favorite of the flowers. To make it more enjoyable I decided to use an orange fabric I got through a fabric of the month club, and I'm working it 2 over 1, which I have become absolutely addicted to. But still I have an issue with Lily of the Valleys. It goes back to my first gardening experience in my life. When we bought our house nine years ago, we did a little relandscaping on one small section of the front lawn. We dug everything up and planted new decorative grasses. I had lived my whole life in an apartment, so this was my first gardening project and I was very excited and proud. Well, suddenly all of these plants start coming up, right in the middle of our grassws! I was hysterical! It was Lily of the Valley. It took us an entire weekend, digging down at least 8 inches to get rid of all the roots. And for three years after that, in spring we would still get a few popping up that we had to dig out before they took over again. After one week the cross stitch version is coming out rather nicely though and I hope to have it finished in September, as I am going to dedicate three weeks to the FOTM this month.

After only one week working on the Lily of the Valley I was told that the baby who was due in September had arrived, so I had to finish the Ten Tiny Toes Birth Announcement. It only took me one week to finish, and I think my stitching on this piece is the most consistent of anything I have made so far. I also loved working over two and working on colored fabric instead of white. This piece, as small and simple as it is, really took my stitching to a whole new level.

And Lobo keeps moving along, slowly but surely. I am close to finishing the first row of pages, and finally the ears are complete.

So for the month of September, the first three weeks are being dedicated to the FOTM SAL and the last week will move to another birth announcement that I want to have completed for that baby's first birthday in July of 2016. The last week of the month I am going to start a new project, but more on that next month if all goes according to plans.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August Check-In

Have to make this entry a quick one. Spending the last few weeks with my mother while she recovered from surgery, had a bout of an irregular heartbeat, and has finally started to improve.

Happy that I was able to finish my April Flower of the Month. Loved this flower!

Also happy I was able to finish my Woodland Rabbit. Very happy with the way it came out. Handing it off to my cousin now to make it into a pillow.

Finally, was able to make a little more progress on Lobo.

Stuck pretty well to my schedule during July. I really like planning it out and writing it down here. Makes it harder to break with the plan. So, for August the first week was spent finishing Woodland Rabbit. During week two I'm going back to my Ten Little Toes Birth Announcement. Last two weeks will be dedicated to getting as far into the May FOTM as possible.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Thinking About My Stitching

I've spent a lot of time thinking this month about a lot of different things. One of those things has been my stitching. Now 1.5 years into counted cross-stitch and I am suddenly really noticing a great improvement in the quality of my work. I know I have to thank the forums and groups that I've joined and the blogs that I've been reading. So many ideas! And I've been trying them all. Some have not worked out too well, others have led to the improved stitching and a greater enjoyment.

When I first found the forums I remember seeing the beautiful work done 2 over 2 on high count fabric. I also noticed that a lot of people would buy a kit, but then substitute a different fabric from their stash. It seemed ridiculous at the time -- it's a kit, why would you not just use what was in the kit? Then I started seeing the different fabrics! There is a lot more out there than what AC Moore sells.

I traveled to Silkweaver's Fabric store to see the selection for myself, and although I wasn't sure if I would be able to stitch 2 over 2, I couldn't stop myself from purchasing a number of 28 count pieces of fabric. The colors were just so beautiful. Well, this month I took the plunge. I decided to take one out and try stitching 2 over 2. I may never go back to 14 count Aida and I fully understand why you would substitute your own fabric for the fabric in a kit. I certainly will if I buy another kit in the future.

So here is my latest start on 28 ct, 2 over 2!

Started the April Flower of the Month, Sweet Pea. Wishing I had started this on the blue fabric as well.

Got another week of work in on Woodland Rabbit

And finally finished page 4 of Lobo. Only 23 to go, LOL

My stitching plans for the month of July...
First and third week work on the Flower of the Month SAL
Second and fourth week work on Woodland Rabbit (hoping to finish at least the cross-stitching, and only have backstitching left for an August finish)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

May Updates

May has been a difficult month for me. My mom has been diagnosed with lymphoma so we have been going from test to test trying to determine exactly what type it is. Needless to say, very stressful. In addition, we had a major flood in the dining room, and there is now a lovely design element of three holes in the ceiling. The cat became extremely sick and ended up in the vet for 5 days. At one point it was really looking like she might not make it. And then the first floor toilet stopped flushing.

Through it all I just kept stitching on my mobile projects. I think my stitching is the only thing that has kept me somewhat sane. Especially while waiting for my mom to come out of the biopsy surgery, just being able to force myself to concentrate on the stitching stopped my mind from running wild with the things that could (but didn't) go wrong. At the end of the day, an hour or two of stitching has pushed all the bad thoughts out of my mind and let me get to sleep.

Unfortunately, since I have been staying at my mom's quite a bit, I have not been able to get too much done on my BAP Lobo, but even so, slowly but surely, he develops. Starting to see the emergence of the second ear...

I was able to make some nice progress on my Woodland Rabbit. Still feeling good about a late July or early August finish. Love the way the flowers are turning out. Just generally having fun with this project.
I am very happy to report that I was able to finish the baby bib I wanted to give my coworker at her baby shower at the middle of the month. I just started another one for another coworker who's shower is at the middle of this month. I must find different patterns. Although I really think this came out well and is super cute, I don't want to keep stitching the same design over and over, and there is no end in sight to women getting pregnant. LMAO!
I am also very happy to report that I am actually a little ahead of my anticipated schedule for the Flower of the Month SAL. I finished March! All ready to start April once the second bib is done.
And now my plan for June...
1- Finish the second bib during the first two weeks of the month
2- Start the April flower during the third week of the month
3- Get another week of work in on the rabbit during the fourth week of the month
4- Work on the birth announcement I started in March during the last few days of the month.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What next!?

I sincerely thought I had everything figured out.

The first and third week of the month I would work on the Flower of the Month SAL. Since they are taking me about two months each to finish, this will last me through 2016.

Here's my February finish and the start of March.

The second and fourth week of the month are dedicated to an alternate project. Currently, this is the Woodland Rabbit, which I anticipated I would finish by July or August.

Here is my latest update.

The evenings are dedicated to my HAED which needs good light and complete attention, not to mention my new Needleworks 4 lapstand that just arrived today!

But at the end of last month I realized, sometimes there are extra days in a month. Do I dedicate those to the FOTM or the rabbit? How questions such as this one became so life altering, I have no idea.

Anyway, after some thought, I decided the extra days would go to starting the next project that would take the place of Woodland Rabbit, and so I started a birth announcement for a good friend. I plan to give her the finished project for the baby's first birthday. I knew there were two women at work who are pregnant, but at the time I thought I had plenty of time to get their presents done before their baby showers.

And then my boss sent out an e-mail... "Let's have Alison's baby shower May 15th." Hmm, I think that means I need one of those bibs I bought last month done by May 15th! So I decided to substitute the bib for the rabbit the last week of the April. Clearly it is not done. I need another week

So the question remains, what next? Should I go back to my FOTM for the first full week of the month and finish the bib the next week, finish the bib and skip a week of the flower, finish the bib then do the flower the second and third week of the month? Does anyone else find themselves in these types of situations? Almost paralysed by indecision. So many projects, so little time!?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Stitchy Spending Month

This last week of March my hubby and I are enjoying a stay-cation., We have agreed to allow each other as much Man Cave time and stitching time, respectively, as possible. My hubby also promised to take me to a fabric store. As the trip progressed, March officially turned into Stitchy Spending Month.

I was overwhelmed in the fabric store and my hubby was no help. I got 4 pieces of fabric, a new pattern, and a few baby bibs for women at work who are having babies.

We also went to a Vera Bradley Outlet store and I got a few bags that I am going to use as travel cases for my projects. I don't want to have to pack and unpack each week as I go through my rotation, so now I have a bag for each project. 

While in the car I mentioned to my hubby that I would love a stand for my HAED work. I think it would let me stitch faster and longer. So he told me I never spend any money on myself, buy the stand. I have placed an order for the Needlwork System 4 lap stand and Q-snap holder, and I can't wait! I know it will take a little while to teach myself to stitch two handed, but I'm sure I can do it and it will speed things up. 

I think I have spent my stitching budget for the rest of my life in one day, but I am a happy person!

Here are some updates on my projects...

HAED Lobo (wolf face) page 3 of 36 done!

Woodland Rabbit

Flower of the Month - February

And, of course, since I am now officially a Crazy Stitching Woman, I have started yet another project, a birth announcement for a dear friend. I am planning to give it to her for the baby's first birthday.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fabric of the Month Club

Yes, I did it. I signed up for a Fabric of the Month Club. But I chose the quarterly delivery, so its not as bad as it could be. The rationalization that went on in my head was quite interesting.

First, I realized that the 14 count Aida that I stocked up on would be used up by the end of the year for the Flower of the Month SAL. In fact, I'll need a few more pieces. I had been considering changing to different types of fabrics for the different months, but my anal-retentive disorder kicked in and wouldn't let that consideration continue. So that was the fight against joining. And it was going quite well.

BTW, here's my progress on the Flower of Month SAL. January was finished and February has a pretty good start on it.

Then someone posted about a Snowman SAL. A SNOWMAN SAL!!? I love snowmen. When we bought our house we had no decorations for any holidays. We started going to yard sales, tag sales, and we focused on getting holiday decorations. We would come home and stick them in the attic, so I never really saw how many we were accumulating. When Christmas came and we brought down the decorations I was shocked to see over 20 snowmen! I have a weak spot for snowmen...

I'm sure you can guess that the battle not to join another SAL, which I have no time for, did not last long. But, then the question, what fabric to use? Well, join the Fabric of the Month Club! One of the fabrics that arrive between now and when you are ready to actually stitch the snowmen will be perfect. And even better, you will have other fabrics ready for all the other charts you are finding in magazines, on websites, etc. (Oh yes, the stash of charts is growing exponentially). And then the kicker for joining, I can decide which project to start next based on what fabric I have and which project it will work best for.

And I will have to make a decision kind of soon, as I am making good progress on my Woodland Rabbit.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Who Would Have Thought

Last year at this time I was happily stitching away at my one and only project, Twilight Bridge. I was baffled by the idea that someone could be working on more than one project at a time. The only UFOs I knew about were in the sky, and HAED seemed like someone was spelling 'head' wrong.

Today, my one and only project from last year is now my very first UFO.

It has been replaced as my BAP (yup, I got the lingo) by a HAED, Lobo.

I'm participating in a SAL, The Flower of the Month, and I've even made some pretty good progress.

And I have a rotation! One week on the SAL and one week on my (currently) last project, Woodland Rabbit.

Who would have thought?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fabric Crazy

So now that I'm up to four active projects (five really - but just barely), plus a stash of four kits, three purchased charts, five charts I like in an issue of Cross Stitch Gold (yes, didn't take long to find cross stitch magazine once I found the online forum), and a bunch of free charts that I found once I realized I could search online for free SALs, etc. Not to mention the wish lists that are each a mile long on several cross stitch websites. I really thought the madness had to end. I mean at some point I have to accept I'll never finish all of this in my natural lifespan.

My husband has been very supportive in my new hobby but that would change if he knew about everything I have stashed away. You see, I found hiding places for the kits and paper charts. He thinks all I have waiting is the magazine.

And then it happened. One of the people on one of the SAL's posted the question, "What color fabric is everyone using?" There are different color fabrics? How did I miss this?! I mean I have been in AC Moore, Michael's, and JoAnn's Fabrics and all I've seen is white. In fact, since one AC Moore I go to is an outlet I bought 10 pieces of 14"x14" 14 count white Aida. I mean at 60 cents a piece it seemed that was a good idea.

Well, now I find out that there are stores that sell all of these beautiful fabrics! Needless to say, I decided that I had to try one of these lovely fabrics and decided to hold off beginning one of the SAL's until I could get the perfect fabric. As I was waiting for the fabric I decided to order to arrive, I continued looking through the different online catalogs to see everything that was available. And then it happened...

The Fabric of the Month Club. O-M-G!!!

Somehow I stopped myself from signing up for one until the fabric I ordered arrived so I could see it in person. Well, now it has arrived, and it is even nicer than I anticipated. Really, this is not a good thing. Remember, I already have 10 pieces of 14 count Aida. What in the world do I need a fabric a month for? I don't, but they offer these plans bimonthly, even quarterly...

Yes, the madness has spread to fabric. I have no clue where I am going to hide it all, or how it is going to arrive without my husband seeing it in the mail and starting to become suspicious.,,