Thursday, February 23, 2017

Beautiful Sea Quaker - update #2

It's been a long time since I've shown my progress on the Ship's Manor Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL project! This is a mystery SAL (I know, I said I wouldn't join any but I waited until there were progress pics available before going ahead!) that's being released in 16 parts, one every two weeks. It's up to part ten already, and I'm just about caught up - finally!


I'm stitching with the Ship's Manor threads on Carribean Sea from Under the Sea Fabrics. The colors here are a little bit darker than in real life, but it's pretty close!

...What happened to Beaded Dragonfly Tile, you ask? I did some work on that as well, but my eyes were exploding after a few hours of working on black. I guess I'm not used to it anymore! I'll do some more and post it in the next update. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Summer Quakers - Finished!

My first finish of the year, finally!


Kind of blurry and definitely needs some ironing, but it's all done! Well, minus the alphabet and numbers on the bottom, but I never intended to stitch those.

Overall, I'm very happy with this design and I'd happily stitch more Rosewood Manor patterns in the future! Actually quite fond of the Baskets design that she has planned for a Nashville release... but I'll wait a while to see if I really want it instead of just buying it!

I have to say, not terribly impressed with the Valdani threads, though. Two of them had to be subbed out with stuff from my stash because they didn't match the model picture at all. All of the threads were overly fuzzy and almost kind of pilled, with little fuzzballs stuck to the thread at irregular intervals. And I wish I'd used the recommended fabric as mine's a bit too light to show off the white thread... and stupid me had the recommended one in my stash, even! Oh well, that's what I get for copying someone else I saw on FB, haha.

Next up is Beaded Dragonfly Tile, which is already on my stand and got some love last night. :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #10

It's time for yet another Summer Quakers update! This picture's a little blurry, but...


Next post will be a finish! I just have one more large motif in the top left, then my initials, the year, and a few little bits I missed the first time around. SO CLOSE.

Once I finish this project, I'll get back to Beaded Dragonfly Tile by Chatelaine. One of my goals for this year is to finish by the end of March and... well, I only have a month and a half left. I need to get my butt (or rather, my needles!) in gear if I want to meet that target!

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Mindful stitching thoughts ahead:

Let's talk about excess. I've had a problem with wanting, spending, and having too much ever since I got my first job as a lifeguard at 14 years old. Ten bucks an hour was an incredible amount for a kid like me, and since I was working 30+ hours per week in the summer and had no expenses... whoa.

I can't even tell you what happened to all that money, though I suspect much of it was spent on trading cards and dolls from Japan. (I was and still am a big fan of Sailor Moon!) Incidentally, I still have most of these things and could easily sell them for a ton of cash... but I wasn't thinking of it as an investment at the time. I was just collecting what I wanted. And I wanted a lot of things.

The problem is, things don't make you happy. Sure, there's the initial rush of excitement, the thrill of finding something that fills a gap in a collection (trading cards are great for this), but then what? That fades quickly, and then it's on to the next. It's no different from an addict looking for the next hit.

I distinctly remember when I first got into polish and went crazy buying from tons of different shops. There was a point when I proudly thought to myself, I have so many orders coming, I can't even remember them all! People, that's a sickness. That was about two years ago and I can guarantee that I haven't yet tried every polish I bought in that initial rush.

Another distinct memory of mine was deciding with my wife that we would each kit up ONE large Mirabilia project, complete with hand dyed fabric, and work on them as a pair. So that's what we did. No excess shopping, just the supplies needed for a single project. Amazing.

A few years later, my mom died, my family gave me all her stitching stuff - which was a ton, because she was an ebay seller! - and I decided to get back into stitching. I started this blog, because back in 2010, this place was where all the stitchers hung out. And at some point, I discovered the culture of stashing and hauling, and immediately fell back into my old habits of excess.

And now my stash is out of control and frankly kind of disgusting. Just like everything else that I've ever been seriously interested in. :(

One of my major goals is to learn contentment, not just with stitching stash or nail polish, but all the stuff that surrounds me. I want to say "I have enough" instead of "I want more." So far, this month is going really well and I'm happy with my progress. :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #9

Time for another update! Not the greatest picture since part of the completed design is covered up, but you get the general idea. :3


I have to say, the Lowery continues to impress with the ease of use and added stitching speed. I'm very pleased with it and wish I'd tried it out sooner! I've tried other cheap wooden stands that you can get at various craft stores and hated those, so I wasn't too keen on spending money on another stand, but this is exactly what I wanted all along. Should last a lifetime, too! :)

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Mindful stitching thoughts ahead! :)

A common strategy for avoiding temptation (and thus, shopping) is to unsubscribe from newsletters and avoid looking at online shops. There's even browser extensions you can install to block yourself from viewing offending websites! I like these strategies, but I also disagree with them a bit. For me personally, these strategies are great in the short term, but in the long term, I want to develop that resistance muscle so I can safely browse without giving in to temptation.

So even though I just started my no-buy, I still look at online shops! (I don't subscribe to newsletters, though, simply because I don't like receiving ANY unnecessary emails.) I'm training myself to look a bit, maybe make use of the wishlist function, and then leave. I haven't been tempted yet, but if I am, I'll go look at my existing stash of goodies to squash that feeling.

And on an unrelated note, I'm enjoying stitching on only one project at a time. The amount of progress is amazing and it feels great to see visible progress after every stitching session. I tend to bounce between projects whenever I feel like it, but I dunno, seeing massive progess like this is pretty awesome and I might just stick with it for my next few projects...

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #8

It hasn't been long since the last update, I know, but I feel like I've made some pretty good progress! Plus it was time to move the qsnaps, so I was able to get a full progress shot. :)


At this point, I have about two pages left, but they are the larger full pages, so there's still a lot of work to be done. I wonder how fast I can go. :3

Speaking of speed, the Lowery stand has been great so far! I really love being able to stitch two handed without contorting my body to hold the qsnap. I may end up wanting the longer L-arm eventually, because my couch has a wide arm and I suspect it will be difficult to stitch the areas nearest the clamp, but for this particular project, I've only been working on parts away from the clamp. Once I switch to another project, I'll quickly see if I really need that longer arm or not...

Of course, no shopping at all this month, no matter what. Staying strong. :)

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #7 (and goals!)

Another quick update on Summer Quakers. Not a whole lot done this time, but I've been kind of sick for a couple of days so I haven't done much of anything. But I did manage to reach the other corner, so this is the full width of the project now!


I'm hoping for some better/faster progress in the future, thanks to my new little buddy that allows two-handed stitching 100% of the time!


Yes, my Lowery stand finally arrived, after a two month wait and multiple emails (and finally an international call) to Sew and So's customer service. I've always heard good things about them so I was really pissed about my emails being ignored. It seems like the issue was with a single person not doing their job, but... dude, keep tabs on the people who work for you! I shouldn't have to deal with the FB/email runaround for a month, eventually getting so fed up that I have to sneakily use my wife's work computer to place an international call!

Awful customer service experience aside, I'm very pleased with the stand so far. I can position my stitching exactly the way I like, which is RIGHT UP IN MY FACE. I'll have a more detailed review once I get a little more time to use it!

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And now, the goals... haha.

January goals:
- blog about progress once a week - YES
- stay within stitch from stash budget (which is $0 for me haha) - lol no
- stitch a little every day :3 - YES

Two out of three isn't THAT bad...

February goals:
- blog about progress once a week
- no craft (or nail polish) spending!
- finish Summer Quakers
- pick up Beaded Dragonfly Tile again

Monday, January 30, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #6

Hey all! I thought I'd show a picture of my weekend progress on Summer Quakers. :)


I'm really enjoying that large flower motif in the bottom left, even if it does seem to have every single thread color in it... and a good amount of confetti. I'll finish up that motif this week and see how much more I can get done on page 7 of this pattern! (By the way, I'm not stitching the alphabet and numbers at the bottom, so I've already reached my bottom on this pattern!)

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Mindful stitching thoughts! Feel free to skip if you're not interested. :p

Despite participating in the original Stitch from Stash and other self-imposed challenges, I don't feel that I've ever made any real progress on my shopping habits. Maybe it's because there aren't any consequences for breaking the rules. If I spend more than planned, so what? As an adult in a stable financial situation, there really aren't any consequences for buying extra stuff.

I'm not really sure how to address this. I could enlist my wife as outside motivation but it's not fair to her, having to tell me no and then put up with my pouting afterward. I've asked my friends to remind me not to shop when I mention my usual triggers (stitchy stuff and nail polish) but sometimes I get irritated when they stop me. No, I think I need to do this myself.

I've definitely overspent this month - again. My expenses were:
- about $90 for a Lowery stand & one pattern (to be fair, I ordered these in November and my order was mishandled so badly that it was only charged two weeks ago *sigh*)
- $51 for two Chatelaine bead packs from EuropeanXS
- $18 from Crafty Kitten, but only because most of the order was covered by cash that was in my Paypal account from ebay & FB sales (actual cost was about $180 *cringe*)

The reality is that my stash is ridiculously huge and I could literally go the rest of my life without buying anything but DMC and still have a happy, fulfilling stitchy life. Just yesterday I was digging through my stash to pick a fabric for a new start, and the sheer amount of pieces was overwhelming - not just physically, but mentally as well. It's like when you go to the museum and look at a ton of fine art, and after a while you're like... dude, I'm so sick of art, get me outta here. And of course, the moment of self-disgust when I remember ordering EIGHT MORE FQs only a few days before with the excuse that "the exchange rate is soooo good right now!"

This is a problem.

This problem can't be solved by "churning" (aka selling stash, then buying more), it has to be solved by NOT BUYING STASH. I need to learn contentment and satisfaction, not keep chasing new things and neglecting the many beautiful patterns and fabrics I already have. I want to be mindful, not wasteful.

Starting now and continuing through February, I'll be putting a stop to ALL wasteful spending, especially our problem areas (crafts, nail polish, and collectibles), with my wife's full knowledge and support. I need to get back to our real budget, not this bloated trainwreck of a mess.

I've done it before and I can do it again. Let's gooooo! :)