Sunday, August 6, 2017

Steady Progress

This last week I did not make a lot of progress on anything, but a little progress on everything. And that's the name of the game, isn't it?

I usually only post pictures of Lobo once a month for the monthly WIPocalypse SAL check in, but I had to post again this week, because I have a page finish! Now just one more page and one column till the completion of the row! Really pleased that so far this year I have been making steady progress. I was looking through my stitching diary and I've been able to get about 800 stitches in each week. Hope I can continue that for the rest of the year, and beyond.

I was motivated to start up on Marriage Recipe again. I found that since the fabric was 36 count, I was having a hard time working on it on the train and basically in any area where there was not really great light. I was getting frustrated, so I put it on the side for a few weeks. But last week I had some time to work on it in the backyard which turned out to be the perfect place. Definitely happy with how the text is coming out.

And finally, Tulip Bouquet is progressing as well. Since the LIRR Summer of Hell has not been as bad as predicted, I have started taking the train home in the evening, so I have been able to get a bit more work in on this project over the last few days.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Where Did the Time Go?

Wow, where did July go? It seems like I was just posting all my end of month updates for June at the beginning of the month, and now we're at the end of July! How did that happen?

Well, we have been pretty busy, so I guess that has something to do with it. We decided to 'adopt' my cousin for a Saturday. We started by taking her for breakfast at our favorite diner.

Then we went to the aquarium, and really had a wonderful time.

I don't understand why aquariums all seem to have bird and butterfly areas now, but they are fun. The butterflies are beautiful and the birds are just really fun.

From there I needed an adult beverage, so we went to a local brewery and I enjoyed a flight.

Then we took her to dinner, and even got to see the big Duck, and finally gave her back to her parents.

I've also had a little reduction in stitching time due to the LIRR "Summer of Hell" train changes. Required maintenance was scheduled with lots of train changes, so I decided to take the bus instead. No room for stitching on the bus :-( but at least I wasn't stressed about not getting in to work on time. As it turns out, there have been very few problems with the trains, so I am going back to the train for the month of August. Let's keep our fingers crossed for me please.

In spite of the time reduction, I did complete a small for the Smalls SAL hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus. You can get more information about this fun SAL here. Isn't this little guy too cute? I think he is going to make a great Christmas card for someone.

And I'm happy to say I have had time to work on my Lobo. I've got over 3,500 stitches done since last month. For me, that is a lot, and I am happy. As you can see though, at a rate of 3,000-4,000 stitches a month, this is the project that perfectly qualifies as a WIPocalypse project. The WIPocalypse SAL is a wonderful SAL hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings. You can get more information about this SAL here.

The question of the month for the WIPocalypse SAL is what is your oldest and newest WIP. Well, I think Lobo is my oldest since I started it almost 3 years ago. My newest would be Tulip Bouquet, which I just started two weeks ago. After I finished my small, I wasn't sure what to work on. I need to get back to my Marriage Recipe, but I just wasn't feeling it. So instead I started Tulip Bouquet. Hope to make this into a pillow for my next door neighbors.

Well, that's about all there is that's fit to print. Now I have to start work on dinner. Trying a new recipe --- Bibimbap Casserole.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June Small - Just In Time

I wasn't sure if I was going to get this one done before the end of the month, but I pulled it through in the last minutes. Yes... I literally finished it at 11:55pm! I was totally on schedule until the cat got sick, and then it all fell apart. But I got it done... and I have actually been successful for a full half of the year and made one small, to use for a card next year, each month.

As happy as I am about staying on track, this is the sixth of six motifs, designed by Lucie Heaton, for The World of Cross Stitching. And now that I made them all, I'm sad that there are no more to make.

Luckily, though, she actually designs a Furry Tale piece for each month's issue, so I will be able to make more in the future. I'm thinking of making a set of hand towels.

Progress on Lobo also slowed up last week. Basically, everything took a back seat to the sick kitty we had. Don't know what he got into but he started vomiting and having diarrhea and would not come out from behind the couch. I took away his food for 24 hours, then started giving him just a little chicken at a time, and now he is all better. It's just so hard when the little furbabies are sick. I'm never sure if I need to rush them to the vet, or let it work its way through on its own.

Once the cat got better we decided to spend an evening at an Italian Festival at a local church. I don't remember church festivals serving wine and beer when I was a kid, but man it makes it a lot more fun for the adults! We had such a good time. I don't remember laughing so hard in a long, long time.

Well, now we have to start preparing for the 4th of July. Hoping to have a quiet day grilling in the back and just enjoying a day off.

Thank you for visiting! Have a great holiday for those of you in the US!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June WIPocalypse and TUSAL

It is time for the June WIPocalypse post. This SAL is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings. If you want to learn more about this SAL you can click here.

Here is where I started the month...

And here is where I am now, one month and 3850 stitches later.

I am so happy with my progress on this piece this month. Looking back at my log, I didn't really have that much more time to work on this, but I think I finally graduated from being a 'beginner' to a 'slightly experienced' stitcher. I was just more productive with the time available.

The discussion topic for this month is to show off our stitching space. Well, I stitch in a few different places, but I did set up a space in our bedroom to use as a reading nook and stitching corner.

In the summer I have my fan to cool off, in the winter I have my little space heater if the house is a little too cool, and of course I have a great lamp. As you can see the table to the right and the radiator cover to the left get used for supply staging. What you cannot see is the TV. I usually stitch while 'watching' TV. I usually have the news on, so really I'm just listening, or my guilty pleasure -- WWE Wrestling. (I stop stitching to watch the really good looking wrestlers)

Unfortunately, I did have a bit of a decrease in the amount of stitching time available for my travel piece. Although the atmosphere at work has really improved over the last few weeks, we have entered the summer crush of summer help, summer students, summer volunteers, summer OMG! So I have been jumping on my computer as soon as I enter the building to try to get through all my e-mails before the end of the day. Still happy that I have made progress, and I will have this done before the end of the month. 

It's also time for the TUSAL, a totally fun SAL hosted at It's Daffycat. You can learn more about this SAL here. My little containers are getting full! I am hoping they will be overflowing by next month, because that will mean lots of stitching has gotten done.

In non-stitching life, my DH and I took off on Wednesday and just spent a wonderful day on the North Fork of Long Island. We started at Lavender on the Bay, a wonderful lavender farm. Most of the lavender had not even bloomed, and yet the fragrance in the air was amazing...

We even met some really friendly chickens. We didn't get a picture petting them, but they were totally willing to let us pet them!

Just a second or two down the road, we stopped in the Kontokosta Winery. The wine was lovely, but the view incredible!

From there we went to LIV - Long Island Vodka Distillery, and did a little tasting. Very yummy vodkas. I wished I enjoyed whiskey as they also had a whiskey tasting menu.

We were going home from there, but we could see the driveway to the Baiting Hollow Wine Vineyards from the distillery... So we had one last glass of wine that was really delicious. As we sat on the terrace enjoying our drinks, we realized how much fun we had during the day. And we agreed that we needed to spend this sort of day together more often. We agreed we would do the same thing 4 times a year -- just take a day off and do something. Nothing fancy, or exhausting, just something together. We went into work on Thursday and both requested September 20th off for our next adventure.

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Positive Week

I really had a very positive week this week. First, I got a lot of stitching in on my BAP, Lobo. For the last two weeks I was able to get almost 1000 stitches in each week. My goal is 50 stitches per day (350/week), and the last two weeks I was able to get 950 stitches in each week! Very happy!

I've also gotten a good amount of work in on what I call my travel piece, Marriage Recipe. In fact, I have completed all the cross stitch and almost all the backstitch on the top half of the project. I probably need one more day of backstitching and then it's just the french knots, which I have decided to hold off on until the very end. Before I do them, I am going to spend a day practicing them. I think if I get good at them... and they come out the same from one to the next... I will hate them less. Who knows, maybe I will even like them!

Other positivity happened at work. I was able to get a good deal of work done, and my boss, who is usually very difficult to deal with, actually gave me a lot of credit and a lot of recognition for my abilities. We had a very frank conversation last week about perceptions of favoritism in our section. I think I was able to help her see how some of us were perceiving her relationship with one of our coworkers. I told her that while she may not be favoring her, since they are so close, no one feels comfortable telling her when this coworker is not pulling her weight, or is not following strict instructions the way the rest of us are expected to. So is she aware that this person is not working on the same level as the rest of us? Maybe not. Perhaps this person knows no one is going to say anything, so she isn't even trying as hard? And maybe none of that is happening, but because of their relationship, that is the perception and it leads to negativity.

It was not a comfortable position, but I took a leap of faith, and decided that if I spoke calmly, and rationally with factual references, and not with emotion, she would recognize what I was trying to say. And she did. She asked if there was something specific that has happened that lead me to believe she has treated this person differently. So I told her a very specific item. She was not happy, but I could tell it was not with me. She said, you need to trust me and tell me immediately when things like this happen.

Then the other people I work with told me that she gave them similar instructions. So, I honestly feel that whatever was going on in the past, may change going forward. And then, when she gave me recognition and compliments at our staff meeting, I really felt positive about the future. Hey, work is never going to be easy... and that is okay... as long as it is closer to being fair. So we will see how things turn out going forward.

Thanks for visiting!!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Some Finishes?

Unlike last week, this was a successful stitching week. I was able to achieve a page finish on Lobo and I was able to finish the cross stitching part of the top half of Marriage Recipe. I know neither is really a finish, but for me... I'm happy!

I've got a lot of back stitching to do on Marriage Recipe... and french knots... I hate french knots! But I have faith that I can get it all done by the end of this week.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Little Lost Mojo

I really don't know what happened this week. On Sunday, I was all set for the week. I had checked all the dates for the SALs I've joined this week and was actually planning on posting for each on the right day. I know... unheard of for me! And then... nothing! I think it was my boss' return from vacation. It seemed like as soon as she got back, we were all miserable! I lost my mojo, and didn't even have the energy to post the progress I had made during the rest of the month.

Oh well. Here I am now, and I might as well post what I have done and then just try to reinvigorate myself and do better next month. So here goes...

First up is the TUSAL hosted by Daffycat. The post was due on the New Moon which was the 25th. If you want to learn more about this fun and easy SAL you can visit here.

Next was the Smalls SAL hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus. You can learn more about this SAL here. This post is due on the last Friday of the month, which was the 26th this month. Yes, you saw this piece earlier in the month when I finished it.

Finally, actually due today is the WIPocalypse SAL hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings. You can learn more about this SAL here. This is the SAL I am most disappointed about this month. I was really getting a lot done on this, and I was sure I was going to hit 3000 stitches in for the month. My goal at the start of the year was to get a minimum of 50 stitches into this piece every day, but I was stitching at a rate of 100+ per day... up until this last week... when I got 200 stitches in :-(. Still hit a new record for stitches in a month... Ok, let's just get over it and try again in June.

What about my newest start? Well, that progressed a little slower than I would have liked, but it did progress and I am still really loving it.

Well, thank you all for visiting. Please leave a comment, I love hearing from you.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Two New Friends

After the unfortunate start I had on my new project, Marriage Recipe, last week, I am happy to report it has been progressing nicely since. I've maintained my 'morning interlude' (as Annie called it) and I have definitely found that it kept me a little calmer during a very difficult week. Additionally, on the really bad days I added in a 'lunch interlude'. When things get stressed I tend to work while I'm eating, so this made me actually completely stop work, look away from the computer, and relax for about 15 minutes.

I've also been stitching this piece differently. I usually start a color and finish all the stitching in that color within my frame and only then move on to the next color. For this piece, I've been stitching one thread of color at a time. I think I like this method a little better, definitely for this project with the very small count.

My husband is feeling better. I'm happy that he decided to go to a back specialist' to get a better idea of what is wrong and how to prevent it in the future. They have prescribed physical therapy. This is what I was hoping for, but I didn't want to say anything, because if it was my idea it would not have been a good one. Since the doctor suggested it... Well, you know how some men are.

Lobo is also coming along well. I'll post my monthly picture with my WIPocalypse post later this week. I was really excited about getting a lot of stitching in this weekend, but then we decided to go to a cat shelter and find a new furbaby. Ended up with two... Betty... 

and Teddy... 

Poor things are a little scared right now, so rather than stitching up in the bedroom, I decided to sit in the living room and watch TV and hopefully make them feel more secure, and let them get to know my scent. Betty has come out and has even come up on the couch to sit with us, but any noise or movement that is too fast, and she's gone. Teddy has not been seen since coming out of the box. We can just make out a bit of his fur under the couch. These things take time.

Well, that's all for now. Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A New Start

We had a pretty crazy week at work and at home. Michael, my dear hubby, threw his back out on Sunday. We were digging up a neighbor's hostas and then planting them along our fence where we have not been able to grow anything else up until now.

Everything went really well  and we had finished the first round of transplantation. Michael went back to finish up the removal and I went into the house to relax.  A little while later another neighbor knocked on the door and practically carried Michael in. He was digging out the last hosta when...

Well, I found the painkillers and muscle relaxers from the last time he threw out his back, and tried to help him as much as I could. He's been home all week, back and forth to different doctors. I'm glad he is finally going to a spine specialist and getting an MRI. Hopefully, they will be able to give him a little more of a plan and program to strengthen his back and improve things for the future.

At work, we rolled out a new learning management system, but there have been some bugs... I don't really know much about the system, and my boss, who is in charge of it, is on vacation. But the users know me. So everyday I get an e-mail from someone telling be about a problem they are having and I can't really do anything to help them. A bit of a mess. Most of our users are being pretty good natured about it, but if this does not get fixed soon, they are going to lose their patience.

To try to relax a little bit I've decided not to start work as soon as I get in (way before my 8am start time), but instead I sit in the lobby for about 15 minutes and do some stitching. As a result I was able to finish my May small this week even though the trains have been terrible going home, which is when I usually get my stitching in.

I have to say I really love this series of motifs and look forward to making them into cards. Hopefully the recipients will enjoy them as well. 

Once I finished, I was very excited, because it was time to start a brand new project. I wonder if artists feel as excited when they look at their blank canvas as I felt yesterday looking at my blank fabric...

When I bought this fabric last year I accidentally got 36-count. Definitely smaller than I am used to. I thought I was working really carefully, but I made a mistake. I got a little upset and almost put the whole project on hold until I could get a new piece of fabric with a larger count, but then I said no. I can do this, I just need to be even more careful. So I flipped the fabric, and restarted...

Not too bad for one day's work. I'm going to have to work slowly and carefully on this one, but I really like the way it is coming out so far. I will also have to use a smaller needle for the backstitching, it's already a little tight. But hey... you know what... I can do this! Hopefully this will continue to progress without further disaster and I will have some good progress to show you all next week.

Thank you for visiting!

Friday, May 5, 2017

TUSAL, Smalls SAL, and WIPocalypse - All a Little Late

Never had a chance last week to post and check in to the SAL's I've joined for this year. I thought about just blowing it off for this month, but then decided -- Better late than never! So here goes...

The most overdue is my TUSAL post which is due on the New Moon. The TUSAL is hosted by Daffycat and you can get more information on this fun little SAL here. Definitely seeing some increase, so some stitching must be getting done.

The next was the Smalls SAL hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus which you can get more information about here. I was able to finish my April small on the last day of the month! Happy that I have finished a small every month so far this year, and still loving this little set of mouse themed greeting card designs.

Finally, the WIPocalypse was due on the last day of the month. WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings. You can get more information about this SAL here. Well this is a perfect SAL for me. Since I am such a slow stitcher, this project is seriously in danger of not being finished before the end of the world. But I keep plodding along, and I can see the progress from month to month. Hopefully you can see it too - haha! This is where I was at the end of March...

 And here is where I am today...

This year there is also a Question of the Month, and I actually have an answer for this month's question, What projects are in your UFO pile? When I thought about this question I realized that the very first cross-stitch project I ever started is my most significant UFO. This is where I had gotten after working on it for about a year, and then I just stopped...

The only other UFO I have is a project I started for my cousin. I really did well on it, and I can even say I enjoyed it. Then we had a little disagreement, and at the same time, I reached the point where I needed to add in the backstitching, the metallic threads, and the beading. Working with metallic threads and beading are two things I have not done before. After a little work with the metallic thread... well, I guess you know what happened. And here's where it stands.

The good news is that I haven't totally rolled it up and put it away. It's still out and ready to be worked on if I get the motivation. Hoping to get the motivation and maybe finish by November. It would be nice to give it to her as a birthday present.

So why didn't I have time to post last week? Well, I spent the day on Saturday celebrating my little cousin's 3rd birthday!

Then in the evening we went to my other cousin's home and booked an August vacation to Disney World. I am so excited to go back, see the parks we didn't get to see when we went down in February, and share the experience with my cousin!

Sunday was spent preparing for a business trip to Cincinnati. Since I don't like flying I try to prepare in advance as much as possible to reduce the stress on the day of the flight. I am happy to report that the trip went really well. I learned a lot of things that will help me in my job, and my talk went really well.

But now I am back and ready to stitch! Thanks so much for visiting!