Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Year, New WIPocalypse

2019 certainly did not start as expected; however, as they say, life goes on and Dad would be very unhappy if he thought I was wallowing, so...  

It's time, okay past time, for my first WIPocalypse post.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings.  It's a reminder to "love the ones you're with" and finish up some of those pieces you have already started.  It is a complete no-stress SAL as you decide what you're going to stitch.  You don't even have to participate every month (as my 2018 proved).  Melissa also provides writing cues for your check-in post each month - how much easier could it be?  January is a little different than other months in that we do two posts - an introduction post the beginning of the month then our regular check-in schedule starts the last Sunday of the month.

For our first post of the year, Melissa would like us to introduce ourselves, our projects and any goals we have for the year.

So.... me - my name is Susan and I live in northern central Virginia (with The Hubs and three cats - I have one son who lives in Michigan) and work (when I'm not furloughed) at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC.  By day I'm a commercial loan officer helping rural communities finance water, sewer and solid waste systems.  By night, I'm really tired as I have a 2-1/2 hour commute (yes, that's one way).  I do the majority of my stitching and crafting on the weekend. In addition to cross stitch, I do a lot of paper crafting - usually cards - reading and last year I taught myself to crochet.  

You can see the lists of all my WIPs on the right hand side there.  This year, I won't be focusing on any of them right away.  My first focus piece will be a birth announcement for my great-nephew Jack - you'll probably be seeing a bunch of photos of him this year, but he really is cute:

After I finish his birth announcement, I will be working on his Christmas stocking.  Once I finish that, I will get back to my stitching plan.  You can see my entire stitching plan at that tab up top called WIPocalypse Project List and 2019 Stitching Plan.  

I was able to get a picture of the altered clock that I mentioned a couple of posts ago:

and here it is lit up:

Saturday, January 5, 2019


John D. Putnam
January 3, 1937 to January 5, 2019
“Stacked Arms”

Sunday, December 30, 2018

December WIPocalypse

At least I'll make one SAL posting the end of the year!  This month has been a complete blur.  There was the holiday stuff, but my Dad had a health emergency on the 10th that is still playing out.  It necessitated a trip and stay in Michigan and possibly another one the end of this week.  He's recovering well from the initial problem (a perforated appendix) but developed some serious pressure sores on his heels which are complicating his recovery process.  Add to that the federal employee furlough and it's been a stressful month. 

So, in my last post I mentioned crafting - here's part of what I did for the holidays.

For my nephew, I made this shirt:

He's a research chemist so when I saw the design in Cricuit Design Space I knew I had to make it.

I did finish and get all three sets of Christmas ornaments finished and mailed out (and they were all delivered by the 1st of December so they really could be used for a countdown).  Here's the book that went along with the ornaments I showed in a previous post.  This is the cover (the decorator paper was perfect)

and here are the first two pages:

I made a bunch of Thanksgiving cards this year (two of each design) and really enjoyed working with a fall color scheme and some new die sets:

And I finished the Christmas cards: 

My parents have partridges that come around their house occasionally - they are no where near as colorful as this one. 

I also made two altered alarm clocks.  I didn't take a picture of either one, but here is the inspiration piece:

I plan to make several more of these in the future and will take a photo of at least one.

The Hubs and I had a quiet Christmas this year.  And the cats celebrated Boxing Day.  Well, Salem's version of Boxing Day:

As the last Sunday of the month/year, it's WIPocalypse time.  Melissa at Measi's Musings hosts WIPocalypse and will continue next year if you're interested.  One of the nice things about the SAL, other than it's emphasis on actually finishing things is that we are given questions or blog cues each month, this month's is Recap Your Accomplishments for the Year.  I'm not sure accomplishments is the best term for my stitching year.  I had fewer finishes than I've had in many years, although every finish is an accomplishment so I shouldn't complain too much.  To see a list of what I finished, look up in the tabs under the header picture for "Finishes".  As far as progress, there was some before my stitching world feel to pieces.  After that happened, I taught myself to crochet, then got involved in making Christmas ornaments, then holiday crafting and life.  My goals were to finish two pieces, neither was finished but there was progress.  The first was the Goldie stocking.  On January 1st, it was here:

and at the end of the last stitching round, it was here:

The second piece was Japanese Zen Garden by Chatelaine.  On January 1st, it was here:

and today it's here:

Next year's stitching plan isn't going to be too very different from this although I do have to finish up the baby announcement sampler which has seen some stitching time.  It went from here:

to here:

And of course, Jack will need a Christmas stocking although he doesn't seem to be too excited by that thought:

I appreciate all of you sticking around and reading my blog despite my erratic posting.  I do hope to get back into a regular schedule of it in 2019.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Day 22 of the Advent Calendar Blog Hop

Welcome to day 22 of the Advent Calendar Blog Hop hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  The link will take you to the Hop's page, but don't forget to check out her blog while you're there.

As I was putting up the Christmas decorations this year, I realized how much I have stitched for this holiday, which given that I am not a particularly religious person is probably a bit strange.  I had a hard time picking just one, but choose:

Santaberry Pudding by Shepherd's Bush.  It just makes me smile every time I hang it up and walk past it.

Jo asked us to talk about our favorite holiday song.  I absolutely LOVE Christmas music and had a hard time narrowing it down.  I managed to get it down to two but I could not pick a favorite between them so...

The Holly and the Ivy and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are the two songs that I would want with me if I were stranded on a desert island.  I cannot tell you what attracts me to either song, but I could listen to them on a loop, year 'round and not get tired of them.

I searched and searched for versions that I thought conveyed the feeling of both songs (there are some amazing Medieval choral groups that do The Holly and the Ivy), but I kept coming back to my favorites by Annie Lennox  as several people noted in the YouTube comments, I could listen to her sing a grocery list.  I hope you enjoy them.  

First, The Holly and the Ivy


and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  I like this video as it weaves the Christian and pagan elements of the season together so well.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I have not disappeared!!

Hope this finds everyone well and ready for the holiday that you celebrate or just well, if you don't celebrate.  I haven't posted in so long, I am not even going to try to catch everything up.  I haven't done any stitching, but I have finished all my holiday baking, wrapping, crafting and decorating.  I also made an unexpected trip to Michigan this past weekend. 

The short-notice trip was, partially, due to this guy:

Introducing my great-Nephew Jack.  He was born in the wee hours of December 1st (for those interested in the details he was 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 21" long).  Mom, Dad and baby are all doing well. And YES, those cheeks!!

Or as well as you can be with a newborn in the house. :-)

I do hope to get back into stitching now that all of the holiday preparations are done - I HAVE to finish the birth announcement piece and start looking for Christmas stocking patterns so there is some incentive. 

I am trying to put together a stitching/crafting schedule for next year so that I can get back into sending hand-made birthday and anniversary as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas cards.  I am thinking of using one Sunday a month for paper crafting, card making and crochet.  That leaves plenty of time for stitching.  Unfortunately, that is the extent of my planning for next year.  My boss is retiring the end of this month and I will be acting until they find a replacement (or 120 days, whichever comes first) so I am going to need some relaxation at home as I will still be doing my regular job too.  I am trying to look at it positively, but all I'm really seeing is lots of extra stress.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Home Again

I am home!!  So what's happened since my last post... 

Oh yes - the baby shower.  I had a wonderful time.  As the theme for the nursery is "jungle", the shower was held at Rainforest Cafe.  The hostesses outdid themselves with the decorations and the restaurant had a very nice group menu.  It was nice to catch up with the families and spend time with DSon.

I was home for a couple of weeks and then off to Atlanta.  I enjoyed the conference and I think my presentation went well.  We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown.  I have stayed in a lot of hotels, but the atrium of this one was pretty amazing.  Here's a photo looking up from the main floor of the atrium (that selfie feature on my phone was finally useful).

The tower on the left is the elevator center - the elevators are all glass and very fast (my first thought was that I was getting on the glass elevator from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory").  I will admit to being a bit freaked out when going to the lower lobby the first time as all you can see while going down is the floor and not the hole that allows the elevators to pass through.  The circular thing on the right is a very large sculpture and the echoing circle at the top is a skylight.  All the Lego looking bump-outs are architectural details on each floor.  Based on the "futuristic" look, my guess is that the building was built in the late-60s, but the design has aged well.

Speaking of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - the parents-to-be dressed for Halloween:

In between trips, I did no stitching or crocheting.  I did spend a lot of time on the computer designing the Christmas countdown ornaments and am very happy to report that they are done.

Here are close ups of two of the ornaments:

and here is a full set in its carrier:

The large green one is for Christmas day.  I have two of the song books started and should finish putting the third one together tomorrow.  Then I just have to print the words, add them to the books and off they'll go to their new homes. 

I have several birthday cards and the Christmas cards that I need to finish, so not sure there will be much stitching in the near future.  Once I do start stitching again, I am very happy to report that I will have an extra evening.  I think I mentioned way back in March or April that our telework days had been reduced to one day a week (I had been doing two one week and one on the other).  The union fought the new policy and won, so starting this week, we're going back to our old telework schedules.  It will be nice to have the extra hours of sleep and the extra time in the evening for stitching/crafting.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Fly-By Post

A quick post in between trips.  I was in New Orleans last week at WEFTEC (Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference).  It's basically Disney World for engineers.  I'm not an engineer, but I can stand around in a booth and talk about the funding opportunities we offer.  It was an enjoyable week - the food especially.  I had shrimp every day - twice some days.

This coming Thursday I'm heading to Michigan for a baby shower for DNiece.  Looking forward to seeing DSon and the rest of the family. 

The end of the month, I'm heading to Atlanta to attend and present at AWWA WIC (American Water Works Association - Water Infrastructure Conference). 

In between all of this, I've been doing more paper crafting than stitching - I have almost all the birthday and anniversary cards done for the year and LOTS of ideas for next year.

But, I did do some stitching:

Here's my progress on Savannah Birth Record.  I was planning to stitch this weekend, but things just keep getting in the way.  Fortunately, tomorrow is a holiday - Columbus Day (okay it's a sort of holiday, but I get it off) - so I plan to stitch.  I may get to it tonight, but will see if I can resist the lure of the crochet hook.