Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fibery Friends Sampler - finished! :)

Ahhh, finally a finish! This is the cute Fibery Friends Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I made a few small changes to colors here and there to balance out the usage of colors (and also because I refuse to stitch a purple rabbit on a sampler celebrating natural fibers!), and I'm really happy with how it came out. :)

I finally have a new cell phone (mine was over four years old!) which means getting used to how the camera works. It's the same model as my wife's phone, so this photo is overexposed, just like all the ones I've taken with her camera in the past. Time to read up on adjusting the settings!

From here, I'll bounce back to the Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL and catch up again, then I'll swap to Cirque des Carreaux or the cute Coffee Sampler. Itching for a new start (I neeeeeeed a Mirabilia!) but I'm holding off at least until the SAL is done.

Of course, there was a preview of a new Ship's Manor SAL today and it looks like exactly my sort of thing... This could be bad. :p

Friday, April 21, 2017

quick update post!

Not much to say since I haven't been doing a lot of stitching, but there's still some visible progress which makes me pretty happy. :)

First, the Fibery Friends Sampler by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. The camera didn't pick up the colors very well, but the fabric is a little brighter in person. For some reason you can really see the thread trails between letters in this pic, but I swear it's not this bad in real life. Maybe it's due to stitching on 28ct evenweave which feels like it has big holes? I dunno.

And I finally caught up on the Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL... just in time for a new part to be released! I'm happy, though, I've really enjoyed stitching this despite the problem with inadequate threads in the kit and the obvious difference in dye lot. I'm leaving it this way. Good enough. :p

Also, is anyone else getting this annoying problem when you try to make a new post or edit any of the pages on your blog? It says "loading" forever at the top and nothing on the page is editable... until you get annoyed and reload, and in that split second before it actually reloads, then the text boxes turn white, etc. I have to reload a billion times to get it to work, and god forbid I make a post and want to go back and edit out a typo or something. *eyeroll*

Yeah, yeah, free blogging platform and such, but I expect things to perform their basic functions...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

a ton of projects!

Whoops, long time no post. I've pretty much chucked my goals out the window in favor of doing what makes me happy, so there's a couple of new projects in here. :)

First up, WIPs:

Yes, this is a terrible photo of the Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL by Ship's Manor. I'm working on the lower left corner and trying to be zen about the fact that my second skein of the blue (ordered later) is wildly different from the rest of the border. Looking back at progress photos in the FB group, it seems like the current skein is correct for this color and my initial one was really dull. I have a third skein as well so I could redo the entire border if I wanted to, but... no one wants to redo that much. Ugh.

Next up, Cirque des Carreaux! I reached the corner of the design and will be working down pages one and two once I pick this one up again.

Now, new starts because I DO WHAT I WANT:

The very popular Coffee Quaker by Heartstring Samplery! This was the first Belfast project I worked on after getting used to the 40ct on Cirque and whooooa, 32ct seems HUGE now. I feel like I'm stitching on the large print edition of something, haha. Also amazed at how quickly thread gets eaten up when stitching with two strands.

Honestly not really feeling this one. Maybe it's the shock of the fabric count change or something. Or maybe it's all the brown, heh.

I also started Fibery Friends Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery! This is even huger, 28ct and evenweave to boot (I'm a linen girl through and through, but this color worked really well and it was in my stash so yeah), so it's a bit of a challenge. I haven't really worked on this since starting it, but I'll probably pick it up again once I catch up on the Beautiful Sea SAL.

Making this for my wife the obsessive knitter, obviously. :p

Oh, one more little (ha) project - winding up a full set of DMC floss:

About halfway done! This is one side of a double-sided box that's big enough to hold the entire set of solid colors, plus a bit extra. Maybe I can fit the nice variegated DMC in here too...

Hmm, I feel like I haven't been stitching much but I guess I have! Alas, that won't continue because:

RIP all my free time FOREVER.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March & April goals

The end of the month is here already, so it's time for another goals post!

March goals were:

- blog about progress once a week - missed one week as expected (family stuff)
- no craft (or nail polish) spending! - slipped in both areas, sigh
- finish Waterlily - YES!
- keep up with Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL - almost, except for the latest part

April goals are:

- blog about progress once a week
- finish Cirque des Carreaux
- keep up with Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL
- any craft spending must be covered by personal sales
- keep polish spending to FF only

other thoughts:

I don't normally write about personal junk here but I'm grumpy today soooooo...

I had a long rant with details all typed out, but I realized no one wants to read that sort of thing. The tl;dr version is that my little family has been hit with about $28k of extra expenses in the past nine months, and we're facing either $5k or $9k more next month to replace our hail-damaged roof.

The good news is, we've replaced every damn thing on this house recently so after this, there's no other expensive things left to break. Unless the walls spontaneously fall down or something. :x

The bad news is, I'm finding it hard to give a s*** about spending $20 here and there on random things because lol what is twenty bucks compared to over $30k?

I'll do my best to keep the "eff it" attitude in check, but it's hard to stay positive right now. Loosening up the spending goals a bit next month for sure... I don't need an artificial sense of failure on top of all this other mess. :(

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cirque des Carreaux - update #2

This is the part where you pretend this picture isn't blurry. :p

The little diamond near the middle of the left side marks the edge of page one, so this photo is a good chunk of pages one and two (out of six total). Still a lot more to go, but there's just something really satisfying about a project with so many little motifs. Each one feels like a mini finish. :)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cirque des Carreaux - update #1

Here's the promised new start, Cirque des Carreaux by Ink Circles! As usual, the colors are kind of off, so I'll try to get a better shot next time.

Somehow it looks like a small start in this picture, but it's actually quite a bit. The center of the pattern is where the point of the doubled square comes in on the right side, and the small squares at the top are the top edge of the chart. Not quite half of page two (out of six total), I think, but still a pretty decent start!

As far as details go, I'm stitching on 40ct linen (not sure of the color but it's a solid) and using one strand of Carrie's Creations silk in the color Epiphany. It's the exact color called for on the chart but I suspect the model was stitched in cotton because it's very different from the cover photo, much darker and richer. I prefer my version, thankfully!

I may work on this one straight through to a finish. We'll see. :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beautiful Sea Quaker - update #3

I keep forgetting to post this one! This is mostly complete up through part 12, with some of the motifs that are split across multiple parts not started, since I'll do those when I can stitch them all at once and not worry about parking a bunch of threads. :3

Sorry about the overexposed and oversharpened picture. I don't know what's up with my wife's phone camera, but it always messes up pictures of stitching. It's totally fine for other types of photos. I guess it has something to do with the level of detail or the weave of the fabric? Weird.

Also, sorry for not responding to any comments or leaving any on other blogs in a while. Things have been kind of crazy at home and I can't keep to my usual routine at this time. Next week should be back to business as usual, though. :)

Next post will feature a new start! Whee!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Waterlily - update #3 - finished!

Well, that was faster than I expected. Once I got close to a finish, I had to keep going... and since beading is my favorite part of any project, I couldn't stop. :)

She's stitched on Belfast linen from Crafty Kitten, in the color Buttercup. Pretty much everything is as charted, except I used a different but very similar color of kreinik braid since I didn't have the exact one and I don't care about exact matches. :p

I actually had all the required MH beads except the bicones because the MH repacked crystals are a total ripoff. Instead, I have a nice stash of various colors of bicones purchased from Fire Mountain Gems, and these are the exact color of the MH repack, minus the AB coating which I hate anyway. AB coatings always look really cheesy to me - you can't even see the color of the crystal! Why put that extra coating on there anyway???

Haha, rant aside, I'll be going back to the Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL until I'm caught up again, and then I might start another easy project. Still don't have the mental oomph to handle a Chatelaine right now, especially one that's stitched on black...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Waterlily - update #2

No time to make a full post, but I did want to post my update on Waterlily, otherwise the next post will be a finish with no progress inbetween! :)

Just the hair, wings, backstitch, and beads to go! :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Waterlily - update #1 & goals

When the going gets tough, the tough start an easier project. Waterlily by Nora Corbett has been on my shortlist for ages, and is one of my goals for this year, so I decided to go for it. Beaded Dragonfly Tile is probably going to be pushed until after ~unspecified personal drama~ is over. I just don't have the patience for specialty stitches or over-one on black right now.

Mira/Nora projects are perfect for easy and relaxing stitching, and I've made quite a dent already!

As usual, the colors are awful despite my best attempts to correct them. I'm hoping I can get a decent daylight picture eventually. Anyway, this is stitched on Crafty Kitten Belfast linen in the color Buttercup, which is a pretty yellow with hints of green.

I'll just plow through on this one until she's finished. :)


And goals!

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

I did really well with spending last month despite the one NO up there - managed to bring in some extra income and cut our budget relatively drastically without feeling deprived. Alas, most of that extra money has already been put toward other expensive but 100% necessary spending, but I'm so glad that money came from our normal budget and not our savings!

I also used the gift card my sister got me for Christmas to pick up a few charts from my wishlist, spending only $6 of my own money to cover the bit of excess and shipping. That would have been a perfect month for me, but last night I ordered some storage supplies, two upcoming Nashville charts, and two Mirabilia charts. Thanks, stress shopping! Fortunately all was covered by cash in my Paypal account but I still need to get back on the ball.

Proud of myself for avoiding nail polish for a full month, though! Let's make it two in a row! :)

March goals:
- blog about progress once a week
- no craft (or nail polish) spending!
- finish Waterlily
- keep up with Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL

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!


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! :)


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!


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!)


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! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #5 (and post #500!)

Time flies when you're... well, I don't know what I've been doing, honestly. Here's the latest update on Summer Quakers!

Only a partial photo this time, since the qsnap has been moved to allow work on the entire bottom area of the design. I haven't completed as much as I'd hoped this week, but weekend stitching time got eaten up by watching figure skating. Worth it. :3

Not much else to report, except that I've decided not to continue with Stitch from Stash. I like the concept but I'd like to see something that's more like the makeuprehab subreddit, a harsher look at the underlying shopping addiction and emotional/mental factors that drive it. I'll stay in the group and enjoy the progress and finish photos, but I won't be reporting anything.

I want to bounce back to the idea of "mindful stitching" I posted about last year and talk about that in future posts. It won't be a joinable thing, just me rambling a bit about my own overspending and bad habits, not just with stitching stash, but nail polish and other things I collect. Don't worry, though, I'll always put those thoughts at the bottom of a post and separate it with a divider of some sort so you can skip my rambling if you like. :3


And somehow this is post #500 in this blog! I never imagined I'd keep it up for so long! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #4

Oops, has it been almost a week already?

Sorry about the cruddy picture, it's been raining nonstop all week and there isn't as much natural light coming in as usual. I tried correcting the colors a bit but it's still kind of off.

Making good progress! Also, a couple of small color changes in the upper left, because I needed to make the iris blue and purple instead of the strongly variegated red/purple/blue thread. Purple-blue irises are kind of symbolic in a story I'm writing, so I had to make this one match my idea. :3

Friday, January 13, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #3

Another quick post, just so I don't go forever without updating. :3

Full steam ahead! The leafy branch in the top right is the corner of the pattern, so I'll be working across toward the left side now. Still not getting bored with this! I wonder if I'll end up stitching this straight on through until it's finished. :3

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #2

Just a tiny update today! I wanted to show my progress on Summer Quakers before I get too much farther on the design. Still loving this one with all the cute little motifs and fun colors!

Also, I've already sent an email but just in case - Rhona, if you see this post, please check your email, I need your mailing address so I can send you the Etude aux Fraises chart! :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Summer Quakers - update #1 (and goals!)

It's that time again! But before I get to the goals, let's take a peek at my new year start. This is Summer Quakers by Rosewood Manor, and I'm stitching with (mostly) the recommended threads on Vintage Petals Belfast by Crafty Kitten.

I say mostly for the threads because I've subbed other stuff from my stash for two of the Valdani threads, both of which didn't have the same color variation shown in the model photo OR in the thread images on the Valdani website! I expect some differences in dye lots, but one of the threads wasn't even close. Grumble.

Despite that, I'm loving the pattern so far and I've made good progress on the central page!

I'll stick with this project for a while until I feel like I need a change!


As for goals, last month I said...

- blog about progress once a week - YES!
- finish Etude aux Fraises - YES!
- NO craft/stash shopping unless I NEED something for an active WIP - nope

Bought a few things from ABC Stitch during their 35% off sale, but kept it under $50 total. My wife chose the charts, and I picked the fabric and threads. The fabric is a PTP solo which is pretty similar to the original Haunted. (These days, Haunted is green - I'm not the only person who got an unpleasant surprise when ordering that color recently!)

Anyway, here's the goodies! The threads are by Carrie's Creations and they're gorgeous silks... I really love CC threads, you can't beat $1 for cotton and $2 for silk!

And goals for this month...

- blog about progress once a week
- stay within stitch from stash budget (which is $0 for me haha)
- stitch a little every day :3

Vague goals, I know, but since I'm not close to a finish on anything and I might end up working on Summer Quakers all month, I don't know what to write here. :p

I also have an additional yearlong goal, which is to keep my stash and nail polish spending under $400 this year. My in-laws gifted us each $400 for Christmas, which we've decided to keep as our spending money for crafts and stuff. This means I may report on stash I buy despite having a zero budget in stitch from stash, as gifts don't count against your personal budget.

Haha, maybe I'll even show off any nail polish I get. :p