Friday, April 4, 2014

Been a bit busy this past month (or so)...

It's been a wee bit, but I have been stitching and crocheting and traveling...and then back to working.
During a recent attempt at a road trip to San Francisco, we ran into a problem. Literally, ran into it. An elk, that is. We were all ok and the car was still driveable, thank God. The elk did not survive its encounter with us, and I am more sad about that than I am about the car.
Needless to say, we did not continue our trip to San Fran and instead contented ourselves with the beauty of the redwoods, which we did not get to fully enjoy as it rained most of the day.

I have been out making my yard & garden spring ready. Here are a couple pics from there:

I have balled quite a few skeins of yarn to make them crochet ready. This is my current project, a rainbow ripple that I just love to look at already.

I have been stitching on quite a few Just Nan smalls, in readiness for a massive finishing effort later this month. (I was sidetracked by the arrival at my LNS of three new JN smalls and the fabric for a couple others.) Here is a pic of some of my completed smalls that are awaiting the grand finish:

I have also been stitching on a couple of other projects here and there. Not a lot of progress on anything that isn't Just Nan, but it's OK.

I had a fabulous time at Camp Wannasew in Oklahoma last month. Many of my non-stitchy friends could not understand why on Earth I would travel to Oklahoma for a stitching weekend. I have to say, they just don't know what they are missing. I made some new friends and we stayed at a lovely bunkhouse right off of a lake in Sequoia State Park. I saw my first in-the-wild real live red cardinal. 
I've stitched a few of them but never seen a live one, as they just don't get over to Oregon much. 

I finished up a couple projects while I was there, including these lovelies:
Both designs are from Chessie & Me. I love her stuff.

I have settled in to my part-time schedule and I am really enjoying it. Things still seem to be in turmoil at work much of the time and I'm not happy with the politics and the decisions of people who are not front-line care providers. The difference is, I am able to let go of it more easily than before because I have a good stretch of time in between shifts. The balance is helping me to be a better nurse and a happier person. (Most of the time.) Not to mention, more stitching, gardening and crocheting time!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

BIG Happy Dance!

At long last, Tanglewood is finished!!  

This is actually the second start on this project. The first time, I had stitched almost everything under the tree before I realized that I had messed up centering the project on the fabric and would have the tree running up to the very edge on the left-hand side. Only slightly discouraged, I started over again on fabric I actually liked better. And, look, it's done! I'm very pleased. I did save the other partial stitching and I plan to make it into a needlebook with the tree as the spine.

Other finishes since my last post include La-D-Da's "In The Garden".
I changed the colors a bit on this one as I stitched with 2 over 2 and did not have enough of the flesh colors to make both Adam and Eve. I actually like having them different shades now that it is done. My own little touch.

I also finished BBD "Sunflower Charms".
This piece needs to be framed and given to a friend of mine.

I also continued on my quest to have 2014 be a year of finishing projects and I finally whipped out this cozy little lap afghan.
It is very soft and rather warm. It's also just the right size for my lap. I have some of the yarn left and I plan to make a long scarf from it as it is so cozy. I jumped right in to a new afghan, which will be a rainbow ripple. Less bulky yarn, so it will take more work, but I'm looking forward to it. 

I do, as always have many pieces on the qsnaps, but here are two of the current favorites:

L&L Celtic Autumn in a gold/green/orange conversion (not mine) that I prefer to the original chart.

SB Eve's Garden--yes, I do have a thing for the Adam & Eve samplers...

Well, hope everyone is staying warm and dry. I am off to Camp Wannasew next week, hosted by the ladies at The Silver Needle in Tulsa, OK. I've never been to Oklahoma, and I just can't wait to get on the plane. I am ready for an adventure.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Stitching thru the Storm

Last weekend, here in the Pacific Northwest, we had a taste of the winter weather that the rest of the U.S. has been experiencing over the past month or two. In our area, we got about 8 inches of snow that I only had to venture out into on one day for work, thank goodness. We were lucky to keep our power on and escape the weather relatively unscathed. The boys got a four day weekend, which warmed their little teenage hearts.

I busied myself with stitching, of course. I mean, sure, I did some other domestic-y things like chores and stuff, but when I felt like it, I stitched. Had a few completions, too. First up, finish #9 is From Blackbird Designs, Loose Feathers#17: Evergreen. The chart didn't call for any green at all, which I felt was silly, so I added the green myself.
Next up, #10 and 11 are a couple of quick Just Nan pieces, Maple Ravens and Whirlibird Whimzi.

I actually stitched up a couple more of the little Just Nan pieces, but I'll show those off when I finish them up entirely. I will have a little Just Nan finishing day during my staycation next month. Hopefully, I can get some other previously stitched pieces finished into something as well...maybe some of my St. Paddy's Day and Easter smalls.

I also promised to show a picture of this finish from January when I had it back in my possession, so here is Baby, It's Cold Outside by Heartstring Samplery.

caught a creativity bug yesterday and graphed out these two bookmarks. Then, I just had to stitch them until they were finished. Only the coolest of the cool will get it. I used a couple free alphabets I found on the internet and then free-handed the motifs. I still have to iron a piece of interfacing on the back, but then, they'll be done.

I put more stitches into Tanglewood while watching an episode of Sherlock last night. I am inching closer to a completion on that one. If I could just keep myself from getting distracted by these other pieces. All that's left is mostly just mindless filling in, so that is both an attraction and a turnoff at this point. I haven't decided exactly which WIP will go on the large q-snap when it's done, but hopefully I can find one that's over 75% done.

I'm currently listening to Insurgent by Veronica Roth on audio book, having just finished Divergent, the first book in the trilogy. It's pretty captivating for teen/young adult fiction. On the level of Hunger Games and far better than the Twilight novels.

Well, hope you all are staying warm and dry. Will be reading blogs this weekend and catching up on the latest stitchy news. Cheers.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Finish 8...a loooong time coming

I started this piece several years ago. It jumped in and out of the q-snaps with a few bursts of enthusiastic stitching only to be replaced with a new piece I liked better. Lately it has been languishing in my work bag, coming out for 15 minutes here and there. As is usually the case, I realized it was getting very close to the end and I vowed to bring it back into the house for a concentrated run toward the long-awaited finish line.

Here it is in all its autumn glory, Bent Creek's Autumn Snapperland (and a close-up of the last frame):

I seem to be seasonally out-of-sync, as most of my finishes seem to be either Autumn or Christmas projects. I do have a few spring-y things on the q-snaps, but they have not yet grabbed me. I am sure they will soon. 

Oh and I had promised an update on Tanglewood. Unfortunately, it hasn't had any stitches added since I last mentioned it (bad, bad me). 

I finished the Hunger Games trilogy and I've been listening to an interesting audiobook, "Changing Planes" by Ursula K. Le Guin. I do enjoy her stories and this book is no different. It's almost like a collection of short stories.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Finishes 5 thru 7

So, I missed the IHSW last weekend and instead spent this past Friday and Saturday madly stitching on some things that could have been finished ages ago if I had not gotten bored and moved onto other things (lots of other things.) The "madness" paid off, however, starting with two Halloween ornaments from a JCS Halloween issue from a few years back. Stitched but not finished, but that's fine. Color is off in the pics, too.

I also then proceeded to finish two biscornus. The Lizzie Kate LE "Hoot!" Biscornu and the Sweetheart Tree "Holiday Holly" biscornu. 

The holly biscornu only needed to be beaded on one side and assembled. It was the beads that turned me off it a couple years back. Silly me. 

The L*K biscornu had a small miscount on one side that I thought was worse initially and caused me to set it aside in disgust as I thought I would have to frog quite a bit. Picking it up this week, I realized that I had miscounted the degree of the original miscount and was not going to have to frog out as much. And next thing I knew, voila! It was done.

I am very pleased with myself that I have started no new designs so far and kept from purchasing stash for almost 25 days. Go me!

I am very excited about a new start that is soon to be on my q-snaps, though. I designed it myself and it should stitch up quickly. Can't wait to show it off. 

Other highlights of my week include:

--the discovery of homemade simple syrup and how well it flavors the iced tazo green tea that I am making at home
--the discovery that I can now make shaken green tea lemonade that tastes just like it's from Starbucks, but at a fraction of the cost
--progress on my quest to make my own Starbucks caramel frappucino at home, also ata fraction of the cost
--watched the first episode of "Sherlock" and really enjoyed it
--continued with my resolve to not check work email on days that I do not work, which has definitely improved my ability to not think about work when I'm not there
--I am only 15 days away from going part-time (not counting, though.)
--we've finally had a couple offers on our rental house, the sale of which would take a huge weight off both my husband's shoulders and mine. 

I truly feel like this, my 40th year, has the potential to be really awesome. I am excited at the possibilities that await me. I am trying very hard to be optimistic instead of always living in fear that something is going to go wrong. I hope your year is wonderful, too. Thanks for poppin' by.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Finish 3 & 4

So, I made quite a bit more progress on Tanglewood. I had a miscount on the right side of the clouds after I had put quite a bit in, but I did not want to frog out all the stitches. So, I just went a little crazy and reworked the design to match up with my mistake. It ain't perfect but it's mine and it's fine. Luckily, Tracy made this design asymmetrical. I'll get a pic next post.

My stitchy ADD kicked in last weekend and I got distracted by Shepherd's Bush "Holly and Ivy". I started this chart in early December 2013, but had very few stitches in it. I threw myself into it and got it finished. I then promptly lost the green button for the finishing touch, but oh well.

I also finished up this little needle drum pattern from BBD Winter loose feathers. 

My problem is that I have so many small to medium projects started and on q-snaps that I have a hard time sticking with the big projects as they take soooo long sometimes. The flip-side is I have a lot of big projects that need finishing (or starting), too. First world problem. I know.

I have three more work nights in this four night stretch so I must be off now.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Second Finish of 2014!

After working 3 BUSY nights in a row (get your flu shots, cover your cough and WASH your hands,  folks!), I finally got a little time to stitch. While I am really trying to focus on my bigger projects this month, I was so close to the happy dance on this one that I gave in and finished it up: "Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Heartstring Samplery. (And....I left it at our biweekly stitch group before I got a pic. Will share one later.) 

Before I started my working stretch, I made some great progress on "Tanglewood"
and also put a bunch of stitches into a newer start, "Persuasion" by The Stitching Parlor.

I am not an avid fan of Jane Austen, but I really do like her novels. My top three favorites are Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion, although I am quite fond of the others as well. I enjoy both the novels and the older movie adaptations. (No Kiera Knightley for me!) So, I thought it would be very fitting to have a sampler that features one of those. I have my eye on a couple other smaller pieces by Tanya of The Sampler Girl, but those will be something for future endeavors.

Speaking of books, I am listening again to the audio book versions of the Hunger Games trilogy. I have listened to them before, but there is just something about the story that just captures me. Since I have recently watched the second movie, it just seemed reasonable to check them out again. And, boy, the convenience of digital audio books on my iPhone is great. If only the selection and availability of free or library copies could keep pace.

Another WIP to show you (and one I have no hope of completing anytime soon is "And They Sinned". I'm doing it with Vikki Clayton silks, although if I had realized it's charted in Sampler Threads, I would probably have stuck with those. Oh well. I still like the colors and I made a bit of progress on it last year before it got set aside.

I eagerly await the arrival of the UPS truck next week, for it is bringing me my last stash splurge for awhile. One of my new starts this year is slated to be my first (and probably only) HAED "The Nativity".

I just signed up to try Amazon Prime (after being convinced/tempted by another blogger whose name escapes me), so I am off to catchup on Downton Abbey and put some more X's to fabric.

Thanks for checking in. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shall we begin again?

Well, it's been almost two years since I truly blogged. As other returning bloggers have expressed, I have also missed sharing my stitching endeavors with people who care about stitchy things. 2013 was rather a difficult year, to be honest, and I am really looking forward to 2014. Especially because I go part-time in February, which equates to 24 hours a week, only 2 nights. What's really nice is that it will be 4 nights in a row, with 10 days off in between. It's like a vacation every 2 weeks, although with the reduced income, the days in between will be more of a "stay-cation". However, I already have many plans for the extra time at home, including home improvement projects, gardening projects, more time spent with family and friends, getting healthy, reading more books, decluttering my house, cooking more, etc. All of the things that I have let go because the energy I expend trying to be a fabulous nurse leaves me with very little for home.  (Please remember the next time you have to be in the hospital that we are probably short-staffed because that's how most hospitals save money and we are doing the best we can to maintain excellent care, often going without breaks or answering our phones while on lunch. Many of us nurses/care staff go home after 12 hours shifts feeling beat up enough already without a patient yelling at us because the wait times are long or we took awhile to get back to them.) In October, I will turn 40 and I want this to be a year of much personal growth. Anyway, enough about that and on to the stitching.

If you're still reading after that re-introduction, thanks for hanging in there. I have stitched a bit the past year, but I have been very lax about taking pictures. Most were smaller projects as my bigger projects seems to have taken a back seat in 2013. I should finish the Ink Circles "Tanglewood" sometime in the next few months. All I need to do is put some good solid stitching time into it and it's gonna be done.

I went crazy on the last couple days of 2013 and started a BUNCH of new projects, putting in 20-30 stitches on each. "WHY?" you may ask. Well, it's simple enough. "Hello, my name is Sonda, and I'm a start-a-holic." So, in 2014, I've decided to limit myself to only 14 new starts, other than Christmas ornaments. And like any good addict, the best way to start your recovery is to binge. In my case, on starts. That way it doesn't count as a start in 2014. Also, due to my decreasing work hours, my stash budget is trimmed way back, so I will be stitching from stash this year. I haven't joined any blogs or groups committed to similar goals, because I don't want to have to be forced to post more.

A good portion of my starts were retired Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers patterns which I acquired. Stay tuned for future blog posts as I dig into those. Speaking of BBD, my first finish of 2014 is the pattern named "Eveline Cunningham" featured in the BBD Loose Feathers Winter booklet from 2011.

I have replaced her grandmother's name and birthday with my own grandmother's name and birthday. As my grandmother was the one who did the most handcrafts in my family, it's rather fitting to have a sampler with her name on it. She is now 85 and her memory is failing, so this is another link between us. When she passes away, I will get back the Teresa Wentzler Castle Sampler that I stitched and had framed for her as a gift several years ago. She tells me often how much she enjoys looking at it and I will cherish it for that reason when it is mine again.

One thing I did treat myself to this year is a trip to Camp Wannasew in March, the twice-a-year stitching retreat in Oklahoma put on by the ladies who run The Silver Needle. I have never been to one of their events (as I am from Oregon), but I do buy from their website and I am looking forward to the adventure of going somewhere I've never been and meeting other stitchers. I do find that traveling to new places is something I am finding increasingly enjoyable. There's just something about getting on a plane and going somewhere new. Lucky for me, I've hardly ever been anywhere, so "somewhere new" is a broad menu to choose from.

Well, that's a long enough post for today. I hope to get meet some new stitchy blogger and reacquaint myself with some folks I've "met" before. Can't promise I'll be prolific, but I'll be around. And I do read other people's stitchy blogs, but I am not much of a commenter. Maybe I'll be better in 2014. Who knows? Happy New Year to everyone. Thanks for reading.