Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mega-Mini Month Madness 5 and Small SAL check-in

That is probably the most unimaginative post title I have ever come up with, accurate but blah. Titles are the hardest part of a post for me, I suppose I could just as easily put Post 1, Post 2, etc but that's pretty blah too. 

I really can't believe how quickly the time has gone by, two weeks from today I will be back in the office (assuming the doctor gives me the go ahead).  The total lack of work stress has been amazing, not only physically but mentally too.  I knew I was stressed and heading for burn-out, but really didn't realize how close I was.  I did have all intentions of teleworking during my recuperation and had planned to be almost back to full time work this week and next, but there was a change to our mobile access software that can only be installed when the computer is connected directly to the system, which given the number of people that are remote employees makes absolutely no sense, so I am unable to connect to the work network and therefore, no work at all.  Fortunately, my new boss understands and told me she wasn't sure why I was so worried about it as I was supposed to be getting better.  I was so shocked as that attitude is so different than what I have been working with the last seven years - so my question of whether the new division will be better?  Yeah, I'm pretty sure it will.

Anyway, I have two SALs to check-in for today.  Before I do that, have you seen the new SAL that By the Bay Needleart is hosting next year?  I haven't stitched many of her designs but do have a bunch in my stash.  I really like her style and color choices.  You can see the new piece here and here is a little bit of information from her blog:

"If you remember I mentioned long ago that I have been designing a 36 inch tall cross stitch scene.
I have been working on this design for a few years. Always making changes. 
Well I finally finished it and will be offering it as a year long project. 
If you choose to participate you will be emailed a 3 inch by 11 inch section once a month to stitch. 
There will be a blog that you will be invited to publish on and share your photos.
 I still have to think of cute names and create the blog, the design is finished as a chart but of course I have not stitched it myself. We can do this project together. 
The cost will be $7.00 per month. You must sign up for the 12 months to complete this project and at the end I will be sending out to you a special  thank you kit made just for this class."

No connection, etc., etc., just a very tempting piece.

Back to my SALS.  Pull the Other Thread hosted Mega-Mini Month Madness.  Stitch on small(s) and post photos of your progress each week of October.  I didn't stitch solely on smalls but I did manage to finish two.

First an update of The Nutmeg Company's Fondant Icing.  I took an afternoon and evening off from stitching and finished all the little pieces I showed in my last post into this:
Front and side
Back and the other side
 Makes me want to pull the other kits out and get busy on them.

I was also able to finish She Tends from Shepherd's Bush's She Tends leaflet.

Heather at Stitching Lotus is hosting the Smalls SAL. A fun SAL that focuses on smalls of all types.  Fortunately, actually finish-finishing them is not a requirement.  There was a definite cross over of the Smalls and MMMM SALS so the above two pieces are doing double duty this month.  I will be continuing with the Shepherd's Bush leaflet so there should be three more pieces coming in the next few months.  I have some finishing ideas rolling around in my head but will have to see what other ideas I come up with.

I also worked on Lizzie*Kate's Holly and Hearts Sampler this week. It looked like this the last time I showed it:

and today it looks like this:

One picture I will get an accurate photo of the fabric, it is really pinkish with blue and purple bits in it (much prettier than I am describing). 

Just Nan's Spring in the Air is on the frame and after a couple more episodes of Inspector Morse (apparently the only place more deadly than Midsomer is Oxford) I should have the over-1 pansies finished but that progress picture will have to wait for the Just Nan SAL check-in.

Friday, October 24, 2014

SAL check-ins

For someone who normally has very little time to stitch, I am involved in a lot of stitch-alongs.  Fortunately for me, none of them are really very stressful, they mostly give me topics for my blog posts and keep me on track with my stitching.  The only bad part is that the check-ins seem to cluster around the end of the month which makes for a either a lot of posts in short period of time, or more recently crowded, multi-purpose posts.

This week, I have check-ins for TUSAL, Mega-Mini Month Madness, and Stitch from Stash and pictures of my regular stitching, so let's get started....

First up is TUSAL which is hosted by Sharon at It's Daffycat.  As I mentioned above, low stress.  Put all those little snippets of thread from the back, leftovers and, in my case this week, frogging fuzz into a container and post a photo each month on the new moon.  I am using a repurposed Yankee Candle jar and I think I will probably continuing using it next year as it seems to be just the right size.

Lots of metallic ends from Santa's Magic and lots of frogging fuzz from Fondant Icing.

Speaking of Santa's Magic, here is where he ended up after his week in the rotation:

I was able to finish the moon and the metallic blue swirls on the right hand side and added a little bit to that unfinished glove.

Back to SALs, the next one for check-in is Mega-Mini Month Madness.  It is hosted at Pull the Other Thread and is a one month blitz to stitch on smalls.  Small was defined as ornament size or smaller.  I stitched away on The Nutmeg Company's Fondant Icing this week and finished the stitching and beading.  I am not sure when I will get to the actual construction - maybe next week.  Here are all the pieces finished:

And because I have another week of MMMM and my Smalls SAL, I started Shepherd's Bush's She Tends.  As the whole design consists of four separate ornament sized parts, I figured it fit the definition of both SALs.  I got this far with it last night:

I am stitching this one in-hand so it's wrinkled and a bit wonky.  It's stitched using a combination of Weeks Dye Works, Crescent Colours  and DMC fibers and I am stitching it on 28-count Weeks Dye Works Linen (or at least I think I am - I didn't save the fabric label when I kitted this up).  I may finish this one before the end of next week as I was able to get this far after only about an hour of stitching.

And the final SAL is Stitch from Stash.  Hosted at Epic Stitching, it is a reminder to "love the one you're with" (with recognition to Stephen Stills) and keep within a budget with our stash acquisition.  We are given a budget of $25 each month for purchases and any balance rolls over to the next month.  There have been several exceptions given and we have been given a $50 exception to use anytime through the end of the year.  We were also given one free month to really binge if necessary.  So for October:

Carry over:  $225
October Budget: $25
Available:    $250
Spent:  $0
Balance Forward:  $250 + $50 exception

I had two new starts from stash, both are shown above and I stitched on Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden, Kayann's Kreations Elegant Doily, Mirabilia's Santa's Magic and Lizzie*Kate's Holly and Hearts Sampler.

Speaking of Holly and Hearts Sampler, it is on the frame right now and has gone from here:

To here:

It's spot in the rotation is up tomorrow night, so I am hoping to get a bit more done before it gets put up for a few weeks.  After this one, Just Nan's Spring in the Air will be pulled out. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mega-Mini Month Madness Part 3

Lots of stitching this week!  It feels so good to say that as it means I am sitting up more than I am lying down now.  Yea me!  Recuperation is still going very well, as a matter of fact, except for the weird numb/hypersensitive skin right around the incision, I really don't feel as though I had major surgery. A HUGE part of this is due to a big mental shift that happened when I got a phone call offering me a new job!!!  I don't talk about it here (much) but I had reached a point where I hated going to work - not the work itself I think it is a great program nor my immediate co-workers as they are awesome people or even the crazy, ridiculous commute, but the management people leave a lot to be desired.  Read any article on what defines a bad boss and it could be written for the two I work for.  To give you an idea of the six people in my office with the same job I have, six of them are looking for new jobs.  Anyway, effective Sunday (our pay periods run from Sunday to Saturday for some reason) I am going to a different division.  Will it be any better?  I know all the people in the division and they're all great, I know the middle management folks and they are great and I know the upper management folks and they are good (can't say great as I really have only had minimal interactions with them, but everyone that works with them likes them), so I think it will.  The important thing is the minute I got the call with the job offer, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders and I have felt better, mentally, than I have in years, so "yes" I think it will be better.  Anyway, you didn't click over here to read about these issues, but to read about my stitching, so here you go....

Mega-Mini Month Madness is being hosted at Pull the Other Thread and just asks us to stitch on a small and post about it each week in October.  Last week I moaned about the lack of progress on The Nutmeg Company's Fondant Icing, but I can't do that this week.  Last week I was here:

And right now, I am here:

I finished the roof and one of the two side walls and am almost done with the second one.  Once these are done I have to do the fiddly bit of fitting the end walls on the fabric and then all the beading.  Oh yes, the wall closest to you is upside down - it is just easier for me to stitch it from the top down so I flip the fabric around to accommodate my stitching style.

The other piece I worked on this week was Mirabilia's Santa's Magic.  When I put him on the frame last Friday, he was here:

Yes, he's still sideways...
And right now, he's here:

Lots of metallic in the section I worked on if you have this pattern and are planning to stitch him on 32-count, I recommend switching the #8 Kreinik (if it still calls for it) to #4 or even Petite Treasure Braid (if you can do the conversion) - I'm using #4 and can't imagine trying to pull #8 through this fabric .  I hope to finish the moon and the blue streamers there in the lower right corner before I put him away.

As this is International Hermit and Stitch Weekend and I am still on semi-light activity restrictions, I think it will be a very productive stitching weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mega-Mini Month Madness SAL Part 2

Pull the Other Thread is hosting the Mega-Mini Month Madness SAL through October.  One month to celebrate (and stitch) on minis and smalls.  Pick one or several minis/smalls to stitch on and post once a week during October.  As I am home this month, I figured it would be a great chance to work on a few pieces from my smalls box.  I picked The Nutmeg Company's Fondant Icing as my first piece.  Well, with the progress or should I say lack of progress that I had this week, this may be my only small this month!

Here is where I was:

And here is where I am right now:

The blue in this photo is much closer to the actual fabric color.  I plan to work on this some more today and may designate my mornings as small stitching time, so I hope there is more progress to show next week. 

And before I forget again welcome to my new followers.  I really appreciate each of you that takes the time to read my blathering on.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October WIPocalypse

It is amazing how time slows when you take work out of the equation.  I have to say if my computer didn't have the date on it, I wouldn't know what it was.  I am very much enjoying the reduced stress of not working.  Of course, recovery is hard work (I have to make sure I get enough rest and all) and I am doing my best to keep up with everything I am supposed to be doing (and not doing) to make it all go smoothly.  The doctor has given me the clear to start adding things back into my daily activities as my body feels up to it, but was still very adamant about me NOT going back into the office for at least another month (have I said how much I LOVE my doctor?!?!)  I even had the previously unknown thought of "why even bother teleworking?"  I would never, ever, ever have had that thought before (I have teleworked with fevers and flu and never thought twice about it) and I am not sure what is causing it right now - maybe the feeling of being fully rested and not stressed? - but I am rather liking it.
One of the things that the down time has given me is time to stitch.  Hours of uninterrupted time.  And while I don't have a lot to show for my  post, I do have an exciting announcement - I finished ALL of the eyelets on Kayann's Kreations' Elegant Doily!!!  Yes, every single one of the hundreds of eyelets are done!  I have started the cutting, weaving and filling stitches and here they are:
This is supposed to be in the rotation for another couple of days but I do have say I am bored out of my mind stitching the same thing over and over and over so I will probably pull out the next piece in my rotation tomorrow and start work on it a bit early.
Oh yes, I was so completely overcome with the good news that I forgot - WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is a WIP reduction SAL.  No pressure, just stitch on your WIPs and every month on the full moon post a photo.  Melissa has given us various topics to blog about for each posting.  This month's topic is, "Are you a Halloween or Christmas stitcher?"  Definitely Christmas.  While I do have several Halloween patterns in my stash, it is nowhere near the number of Christmas pieces that I have.  I am not a particularly religious person (rather more indifferentist or apatheist than anything else) but I do like the whole family and friends atmosphere that surrounds the season and emphasize that.  I am a huge fan of Saint Nicholas and all the various incarnations - the idea of good will and kindness is the draw for me.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Not gone as long as I thought

Thank you everyone for all the good wishes for my surgery and a speedy recovery.  They seemed to have worked!  The surgery was scheduled for Tuesday the 23rd and went well.  It took longer than expected for my body to fully come out of the anesthesia so instead of going home on Thursday as planned, I went home Friday evening (and was very glad to be in my own bed).  I am resting and recuperating and just generally enjoying the lack of stress that comes from not being at work.  I am doing lots of reading and have started stitching again.

Just before I had my surgery, I signed up for the Mega-Mini Month Madness SAL hosted at Pull the Other Thread.  Pick a small or smalls, stitch and post about it each week in October - simple.  As I am home for the month of October it seemed like a bit of extra incentive to get myself going on my ornament/small stitching again.  I am hoping to finish a couple of pieces, but will be happy with just finishing this one:

This is Fondant Icing from The Nutmeg Company's Christmas Collection - Gingerbread Houses.  These are great kits that include everything you need to stitch and finish that cute little gingerbread house shown in the picture.  This is the last of the four Christmas themed ones I have in my stash but I do have four seasonal ones that I will eventually finish.

Here is my progress on the roof:

Also hosted at Pull the Other Thread is the YOTA SAL.  Pick some or all of your WIPs to work on and post your progress on the first Saturday of each month.  I like participating in SALs that encourage me to get through that list of WIPs there in the right sidebar.  Technically the posting day isn't until tomorrow, but as I have been combining posts lately, I figured I would keep continue with that, at least until I have myself back on some sort of schedule.

The only piece on my YOTA list that I stitched on this month was Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden.  I started this piece in 2007 when it was the big mystery project.  I kept up with it until July or August of that year and then I moved.  I pulled it out and put a few stitches in here and there, but nothing that amounted to a lot.  Then the Stitching Bandits Chatelaine Challenge started and I decided that it was time to give SVG some quality time.  Not a lot was done this month, but I did go from here:

To here:

This has another day in the rotation and then on to Elegant Doily for a week.