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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Anyone Still There?

For those of you that have kept me on your blogroll - thank you.  The double+ job thing is really stressing and tiring me out.  Only 6 more weeks.  I'm not sure what will happen after that, as everybody that's been asked to take it on has said "thanks but no thanks".  I suppose it's not my problem, but I have a horrible feeling they're going to ask me to continue.

So what's happened since I posted back the beginning of March?  Yikes, I think this is the longest I've ever gone without posting.  This is one of the reasons I don't take anyone off my blogroll even if they haven't posted in years - they might start again and I don't want to miss it.

I've been to Michigan for Jack's baptism.  He pretty much smiled through the whole thing.  There was a quinceanera at the same time so quite the festive day at St. Kenneth's. I'll be heading back in two weeks for Dad's remembrance.  Dad's funeral was in his home town so about three hours from where they've lived the last 30 years.  Many of my parent's friends are snowbirds so weren't in the area for the funeral or it was just too far for them to drive for the day, so Mom decided to do a remembrance luncheon in the spring there.

Of course I have Jack pictures:

Isn't this the best pacifier ever?

*sigh* they grow up so fast ;-)



And because I have not been giving him the attention he deserves -


This is my niece's dog Winston.  And yes, those eyes let him get away with a lot!

One trip did not take up all my time, so what have I been doing?  I honestly can't tell you not because it's a secret but I just don't remember.  I seem to be doing a lot of planning and arranging and planning some more.  Keeps my busy but doesn't accomplish a lot.

I have worked on the temperature throw a bit and have finished January!  Only 10 weeks behind.  I did a lot of thinking about how to mark the months.  Originally I was going to do a row of black but decided I didn't really need to add 12 more rows to an already huge blanket so decided to do 10 stitches at the beginning and 10 at the end of the row.

Here's the whole piece - sorry for the glare.  There's a row of white and a row of light beige and I could not get it to photograph well (for those interested white means that the high was below 0 (that's Fahrenheit) and the light beige is 0 to 5 so a couple of really cold days.  It's mostly been in the low- to mid-30s.


Here's close up of the beginning of the row and you can sort of see the difference between the colors in the previous two rows:


I have also been working on the Savannah Sampler:


The turtle and one more block and the stitching will be finished.  Then a ton of back stitching.  I need to get through this one as I had a call from my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law is expecting twin boys the end of August so need to get busy on something for them.  I probably won't stitch anything but crochet still takes me a lot of time.

I just thought of something!  It's not too late to include this post for the Gifted Gorgeousness check-in!  Yaaaaa!!  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way to thank the people that have given us stitching goodness or to show the things we are giving as gifts.  You can jump in at anytime.

This weekend is also . So snuggle up with your stitching and enjoy a guilt-free weekend/day/hour of stitching.

I have this photo on my computer screen at work.  It's hard to have a bad day with this face looking at you (stressed, yes, but not bad)


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Best Intentions and all that

So much for resolutions or intentions or whatever I was calling them.  No blogging, minimal blog reading, and minimal stitching the last month.  I have been crafting, just not a lot of stitching.  I came down with a wicked cold and have been working from home the last week - much to my co-worker's relief.  I was thinking I'd have all the extra time in the evenings for stitching and was looking forward to great progress with the birth sampler.  Unfortunately, I was too muddled to count and quickly realized that I'd spend one night putting in stitches and the next night taking them right back out.  So no stitching but I did crochet.

First though, it's TUSAL time.  TUSAL is hosted by Sharon at It's Daffycat and is just about the easiest SAL you will ever participate in.  Collect all those bits of thread that you snip off in a container and once a month post a photo.  Link your blog in the check-in post and your done.  No stress and no pressure.  So far this year, here is my ORT production:


I'd like to say it's because I'm so frugal with my thread but it's more, I'm just not stitching that much.

The stitching I am doing has been on the Savannah Birth Record.  I last stitched on it a couple weeks ago and got it to here:


I am feeling so much better and have almost finished up the things around the house that were neglected for the last 10 days, so I hope to spend some quality time with this today.  I do need to get a move on and get it finished.  Jack's three months old and I don't want to be giving this to him when he's 3 years old. 

Speaking of Jack:

His servants parents have been sending pictures on an almost daily basis to the family Snapchat group.  It is fun to see him grow.  I'm heading to Michigan the end of the week for his baptism.  Can't wait to see everyone. 

There's another great-nephew in my circle of friends.  This is Jax.


Isn't he adorable?  He was a little eager to get started so came the end of December instead of late January.  He spent a few weeks in the NICU but he's home and getting Mom and Dad (that's great-Aunt Shirley holding him) trained - his mom said if she'd known she would not have picked "Boss Baby" as the theme for the baby shower - seems it gave him ideas.

So back to crafting.  Lots of crochet pictures to follow, so if you're not interested in that, you can stop here.  The rest of you are warned...

So I mentioned in my last post that I was going to do a temperature afghan/throw/blanket.  Got all my yarns and got started.  I was crocheting along and loved the way the colors were working together and was very happy with my progress:


I can already hear the experienced crocheters out there, but for the rest of you.  I finally decided to measure a row so I had an idea of how big this would be.  Well, each row is about an 1".  Doesn't sound too bad does it?  BUT there will be 365 rows and that makes the completed blanket about 30' long - well, huh.  So I thought, I'll just do two 6-month ones, but then it dawned that they would be 15' long each - I did say I was a bit muddled from the cold didn't I? - so I pulled it all out and started over with single crochet.


Both pieces are photographed on the same board so you can see the difference - there is also an extra row on the single crochet piece.  It's still going to be 7' or so, but that's a manageable length.  Starting over had the added benefit of giving me balls of yarn so I've been using the yarn bowl my sister gave me for Christmas:



Right after Christmas 2018 I started thinking about Christmas 2019 and making gifts for folks.  I found several patterns that I liked, got everything organized and then did nothing.  Over the last three weeks, I've started all of them.

This is a corner to corner pattern and will be for my son.  I actually started a knitted throw with this yarn a year or so ago and didn't like it.  The yarn has been staring at me since.  I love how quickly it works up and it's easy to pick up and put down so I can do a section or two when I have a spare few minutes.


Isn't this one cute (and yes it needs blocking)?  It's a fun one to do.  I have this red, a yellow, a bright blue, a lime green, and a bright purple for the bulbs.  It's going to be a very colorful throw.


Centers of these will be cranberry (above), hunter green, moss green or bronze.  They'll all have the same background color.  A much more muted color palette then the lights, but I think it will be pretty.

And finally:


This one just makes me smile.

Standard time ends today here in Virginia.  I am one of the people that does not do well on daylight savings time - my body doesn't care that the clock says 3:45 AM and it's time to get up, it says it's 2:45 and no it's not.  I will be counting down the days until we switch back (it's all a silly idea anyway).

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Gifted Gorgeousness

*sigh* my planned day off yesterday turned into about two hours.  Because of the uncertainty of another shutdown, we were scrambling to finish a couple of big projects before the end of the day yesterday.  Fortunately, it turned out to not be necessary and we're done worrying about funding until September 30th.  And those two projects are done and dusted, but WHEW! it was some work.  I was able to get out and get my out-of-the-house errands done during the two hours, so that I don't have to worry about going out in the lovely wintery-mix that's been going on all day.  Right now it's sleeting, a few minutes ago it was snowing and I can see blue sky off in the distance.

While doing everything else today, I'm also participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count.  Easy and fun, you don't have to just sit and stare at birds, if you see one while you're out and about you can log it.  Mom had four roughed grouse make an appearance for the count - I don't have anything as neat as that, but the regular ol' "background" birds need counting too.  If you're interested, the count runs through tomorrow, click on the link and register.

Yaaaaa, I've made a SAL check-in!  Yesterday was the official check-in day for Gifted Gorgeousness.  Jo at Serendipitous Stitching hosts the SAL as a way for us to thank all the people that have given us stitching gifts (what better way to say "thank you" than to use them) or to show things we're stitching for gifts or anything else we can fit into the general theme of the SAL.  I have one stitching project and one yarn project.  The stitching project is Nephew Jack's birth sampler.  It's a Dimensions kit called the Savannah Birth Record.  I did switch out the fabric for a piece of 28-count Cashel from my stash but otherwise it's as kitted.  Right now it's here:


My non-stitching piece is a crocheted hat for DSon.  I've been working on it off and on and am about ready to start the ribbing.


It's a horrible picture, but it looks like a hat.  The bobby pin hanging down there in the center is my fancy stitch marker/holder (not as fancy as a lot I've seen but much cheaper and I don't worry if I lose one).

No other stitching to show.  I'm still doing lots of card planning - I may take tomorrow morning and do some test cards so I can get rid of the scribbley drawings - and I bought some paint so I can give the dot mandalas a try.  I've also jumped on the 2016 bandwagon and have pulled the yarns together to do a crocheted temperature throw.  If nothing else I'll get lots of practice changing yarn colors.

And last, but definitely not least, a Jack photo:


He is, so far, a very happy, contented baby.  I just wish folks thought my chunky thighs were as cute as his. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

February (hopefully not my only post this month)

I'm back to work after the furlough, and as I suspected, doing two plus jobs at the same time is exhausting - mentally and physically.  I've done a little bit of crocheting and have everything but the final details of this year's Christmas cards done.  I've also come up with some ideas for future cards, that I need to put together before I lose my idea sheet (or buy a bound notebook so I stop drawing them on bits of random paper), so I guess lots going on but the thing that's been taking most of my free time?  I have become completely fascinated with watching people make dot mandalas.  I'm sure I'll jump in and try it someday but right now, I'm just watching (fortunately I can watch while stitching).

The brightest spot right now? If you've been reading for the last few months, you already know it's  Jack.  He's two months old now!  Here he is celebrating:


I'll be heading back up to Michigan in about a month for his christening and can't wait to see him (and the rest of the family too).

All of my stitching has been Jack related too.  Here's where I am on his birth sampler:


Three more animals and a ton of back-stitching and this will be done.  I need to see if they want it framed or made into a pillow or wall hanging or...

Once the sampler is finished I can start his stocking.  Here's the stocking DNiece picked:


It's needlepoint done with wool and embroidery floss.  Fortunately, it's a kit so I don't have to hunt down anything except the backing fabric.  The kit came with felt for backing, but I don't think that will be sturdy enough, so will go looking in the near future.  I saw a navy with snowflakes and swirls a little bit back that I think will be perfect.

Next weekend is a holiday weekend (President's Day) so I've taken Friday off so I'll have a 4-day weekend!  Having just come off a 36 day furlough, I'm not sure why that sounds so great, but I'm looking forward to it.

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

RIP

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.