Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 Ideals (I'm Not Good With Goals)

As the title of my post states, I'm not so good with goals. They feel too pressure-y and, since I'm a very strong-willed (ahem, stubborn) person, I feel the immediate need to bristle at the thought that I 'have to' do anything. Just ask my DH...the fastest way to NOT get something done, is to tell me I HAVE to do it, lol.

Therefore, I set Ideals for myself. Things I'd like to get done, maybe only in a perfect world, but that I am completely okay with not finishing. For example, if the goal is to get 15 things done in a week and I only accomplish 8 of them, I feel as if I've failed somehow. On the other hand, if the ideal is to complete 15 things in a week and I finish 8, I feel pretty good about getting more than half of them done! It's all in how you look at it, I guess :)

Anyhow, I've set my Ideals for 2013 in the form of my very own (slightly tweaked) Crazy January Challenge. I've decided to reduce the number of CJC projects from 15 to 13 (for 2013, duh) and I'm 'cheating' on a couple of them, because I'm carrying over current WIPs from this year. I figure, since it's my challenge, and it's really only for fun and motivation anyway, I may as well do whatever will help me accomplish the most...rather than frustrate me further because now I've started more things that I can't complete. Make sense? 

I will be creating a new tab at the top of my blog page to chronicle my CJC projects. I've also decided to commit to making 2013 the year that I put aside more 'ME' time to dedicate to stitching and the year that I begin to log my projects in a journal of some sort. I hate that I've been stitching since I was 9 (going on 25 years, now) and I have no idea when I started/finished most of the projects I've done. 

Anyway, enough babbling, here's the 2013 CJC 'Ideal' List, in no particular order:

Christmas Gentlemen - Leisure Arts Leaflet

Egyptian Sampler - Teresa Wentzler

Fractal Tiger - Gran's Stitch Niche (freebie)

Glory - Bent Creek

Halloween - Passione Ricamo (freebie)

July's Amethyst Fairy - Nora Corbett/Mirabilia

The Stargazer - Nora Corbett/Mirabilia

Titanic Poster - designer unknown (free download)

Wisteria Fairy - Karen Weaver, Black Swan Designs

Woodland Violet Sampler - The Sweetheart Tree
Celtic Heart - M Designs (magazine freebie)
Forrest Goddess - Nora Corbett/Mirabilia (current WIP)
Wondrous Works of God - Bucilla Kit (current WIP)

My plan is to make updates to the CJC 2013 tab regarding my start/end dates (hahaha!!) for these projects, as well as posting progress pics there. That's not to say I won't be updating here, as well, but keeping the tab updated will help me track my ongoing progress on each project more visually.

Now, for those of you that are still reading, a quick update on why I've not posted for 3 weeks. Here goes: work, Christmas shopping, work, daughter playing/practicing volleyball 6 days a week, work, Christmas shopping, work, DH sick, work, Christmas shopping, kid's on vacation from school, work, Christmas festivities, me sick, me sick still, house cleaning. Yep, that about covers it. 

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed some time with family, friends, or whomever you prefer the most. Here's wishing you a happy and most blessed New Year to come. Thank you all so very much for reading/commenting/encouraging/motivating me this past year. I look very forward to continuing to build relationships with you in the coming year. God Bless!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

So Many Updates. And Pictures. Lots of Pictures.

Wow! I just looked at my last published date and realized it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post. Crazy how fast the days go by this time of year! I have been stitching but, unfortunately, I can't show you what...because it's all boxed up to send out tomorrow to my exchange partner. Hope she likes it!!

Last weekend someone (I believe it was Katy over at Just a Little Stitchin...she's such an enabler, lol) posted about HAED extending their 45% off sale. And then mentioned it was the last one of the year. Oh boy. Look at the damage I did:

Spirit Guides - Judy Mastrangelo

Steam Butterfly - Brigid Ashwood

Which May I Keep - Elsley

Zodiac Mandala - Ciro Marchetti

Blue Moon - Lewis T Johnson
Ancient Egypt - Ciro Marchetti

Ice Palace - Ciro Marchetti

I'm officially going to have to live to be 214 years old so I can stitch all the stash I have. But at least I'll be happy right up to my dying day! Ok, I don't know how happy one can be at that age, but I'll be busy, anyway, lol.

I have nearly finalized my list for the Crazy January Challenge. I rearranged some of the projects so that I could focus on ones that I already have all the materials for. I decided that rather than buying a whole bunch more stuff just for the CJC, it would make more sense to try and use up what I have. That way, when I replace what I've used...I can do so guilt-free :) Hopefully by next week I'll have my list finalized. When I do, I'll be sure to post it here...but I'll also add a tab up at the top of my blog just for the CJC, so that I can track my progress and timelines.
A couple other updates:

Titan (my big 'ol dog) is officially fine after our scare with his suddenly swollen face. The vet thought it might have been a spider bite, and treated it as such. After 3 medications, 4 shots, and $235 dollars...he's all better. So nice to be able to see both of his eyes again. For awhile, one of them was swollen shut and had nearly disappeared. Thank goodness it wasn't any worse! Here he was before it was even at it's worst:

 Excuse the blur...he doesn't like to be still. Here's what he looks like 'back to normal':

Thank goodness for a skilled vet! He really is like one of our children and I'm so thankful he's better :)

We've finally gotten (mostly) moved in to my Mom's house. We've filled a 10 x 20 storage unit and may need yet another small one. We have the things we 'need' with us here in our little garage apartment, but it sure will be nice to get back into a house and be able to spread out all my crap again! It sure has made us realize how little we really need to be happy, though. And we just keep reminding ourselves - not only is this a tremendous help for my Mom, but it's only temporary. To quote The Good Book: "This too shall pass."

That's about all the energy I have for right now. Since my exchange is all finished up and ready to ship out, I'm going back to WWoG for the evening. I have one child in her room catching up on last season of The Walking Dead, one that's been asleep since before 8pm (here's hoping he isn't awake at 4am wanting Pop-Tarts and cartoons, lol) and DH is at work, so I have Law & Order: SVU cued up on Hulu and I'm cozied in with a hot cup of coffee and my blankie.

Happy Stitching, y'all! :]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lots of Progress, New Stash, and A Big THANK YOU to Melinda!

I'm going to go in the opposite order of what my post title suggests...

First, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! to Melinda over at Family Business for awarding me and my blog with the Liebster Award. Melinda always has a kind and encouraging word and is a great motivation when you think you just can't make it to that last stitch. I consider this a true honor!!


How flattering that someone out there considers my lil 'ol blog a 'favorite'! Here are the rules for accepting...and my picks:

1. You must publically thank the person who awarded it to you
2. Paste the Liebster Award on your blog
3. Pick 5 blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave them each a comment on their blogs letting them know of their honor :)

 Here are the 5 blogs I picked...

Bonnie's World


Crossed Stitches

All wonderful, encouraging, and inspirational stitchers...and excellent bloggers!

Now, on to our new stash - On Saturday, DH, kids, and I went shopping. We were hoping all the Black Friday shoppers would be home in bed, sleeping off their exhaustion, and thus leaving the stores all but empty for our shopping pleasure. This was not the case. It seems we had the same genious idea as 75% of the rest of the population. It was all good, though, as trips to Hobby Lobby and Joann's were on the list and everyone had a great time. The kids especially enjoyed their Egg Nog flavored Baskin-Robbins at the end of the night!

I didn't take any pics of our new stash, but there were needles, scissors, fabric, floss, a kit, and some other things I can't rightly remember at the moment. Hobby Lobby, of course, had their 40% off one item coupon active and we had a Saturday-only, 50% off one item at Joann's. Good haul, indeed :)

As I mentioned above, I have made significant progress on WWoG. My goal is to have it done and ready for backstitch by the end of the year. The amount of b/s in this one will be a project in and of itself. I had forgotten how detail-heavy Bucilla kits can be. Oy vey! Anyway, here's where I was before the ample stitching time I was able to carve out (finally) over the long weekend:

Wondrous Works of God as of 11-1-12
 And here's where I am now:

Wondrous Works of God as of 11-26-12
 My apologies, as usual, for the horrible picture quality on that last pic. My camera batteries are D-E-A-D...dead. I took this with my phone, which does not sell itself on the quality of it's camera!

Hope everyone is finally recovered from the holiday weekend and is off to a fantastic week. Happy Stitching, y'all!! :) 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Still Playing Catch-Up

Man, what a crazy couple of weeks it's been!! I haven't spent as much time stitching as I would like, but I have made little bits of progress on a couple of WIPs. Wondrous Works got some love and I also pulled All Hallow's Eve (HAED freebie) out for a bit. Neither one has enough progress to warrant a picture, but I'm okay with "a little bit is better than none", considering the couple of weeks I've had.

At this point, part of me really just wants to fold up and pack away everything I have in the works and start over fresh come January 1. I know what a crazy notion that is, but I'd venture to guess we've all been there at least once, lol. This will be my first year to participate in the Crazy January Challenge...I'll be doing the 15 starts in 15 days, not the new start every day for the whole month. I'm ambitious, but I tend to only do BAPs, so I can't imagine what madness starting 30 would be! :)

I'm working really hard on getting as many WIPs finished as I can, before the end of the year. Otherwise, I know I'll feel like I have to finish what I've started before I can feel comfortable about working on 15 new projects. Kind of the same way I can't sit and stitch guilt-free if I know there's housework that needs to be done. Damn guilty conscience.

So, last weekend, I spent 36 hours with a busload of teens and preteens at the Illinois Christian Teen Convention. Whew! I'm still worn out from that. I love, love, love being a youth leader at our church, but I sometimes wonder if I'm too old to keep up with these youngsters anymore. They are a great group of kiddos, though and, if I were to be honest, I'd be happy to accompany them anywhere. Unfortunately, I didn't get any stitching time in. The bus ride was 2 hours each way, but waaay too bouncy to accomplish anything. I didn't get any stitching in at the hotel, either, because the convention schedule had us going until 10:45 Friday night and then right back at it at 8:00 Saturday morning.

This week was spent working and preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. Even a small meal at home for 4 is quite an undertaking when we work opposite shifts and only come together on holidays and weekends. But it was a great meal, great family time, and great desserts! I was supposed to work today, but our big dog has something wrong that is causing one whole side of his face and under his neck to swell up. It's gotten consistently worse since Tuesday evening, so I took off work today to take him to the vet and see what's up. Hopefully, it's minor and easily treated. Poor guy.

I sure hope all of you had a fantastic holiday (and for my friends up north and overseas...a fantastic Thursday!). And for you crazy Black Friday shoppers out there, remember ...ELBOWS OUT!! :)    

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog Hop #12: A Thanks-'stitching' Story

Ok, ok, I know. I'm late to the party. Better late than never, though, right? This is a good one, so settle in. Here goes:

"When it comes to the stitching part of your life, what are you most thankful for?"

Oh, wow, that's a great question. The answer is childhood. Let me tell you a little story. Once, there was a little girl, about 5 years old, whose daddy passed away very suddenly. She had a couple of sisters, but they were much older, teenagers already. Her mommy had no education and hadn't worked a job for pay in 17 years. The home they lived in was provided by a farmer, whom the father had worked land for in exchange for use of the home. In a matter of days, they found themselves homeless, full of heartache, and without income. Enter the little girl's grandmother.

She gave them a place to stay in her large, roomy house and welcomed the mom and 3 girls to stay as long as they needed to. The mom was able to find a job as a seamstress in a factory. Sewing, needlepoint, and the like had always been a strong point for her. This left the little girl with lots of time to spend at 'home' with grandma. Grandma was fascinating...she knitted. She crocheted. She embroidered. She could do anything with a needle. The little girl sat next to her grandma's chair, enraptured by the things she could create, and just watched. And watched. And decided one day that she would like to be able to do that, too.

Months later, the little girl's mom was able to move them into an apartment. The little girl had almost no time for anything, for she had recently started kindergarten and was very busy at home helping her sisters take care of the housework. Soon, her mom started back to school and began working a second job. Her sisters were busy with high school and athletic activities, not to mention learning to drive, hanging out with friends, and the introduction of (dun dun DUN) boys. Ewww.

The little girl found herself increasingly bored and lonely, as she was shuttled from sitter to sitter to neighbor to family member to sitter. After about a year of this, her mom was able to buy them their first home. Her mom had finished school, started a new job, and was home much more often. The little girl was so happy. Unfortunately, her happiness ended about three years in, when her mom's job was 'deactivated' and she had to start over. She found work in a bicycle factory and was assigned to work second shift. By this time, the little girl was 8 or 9 years old and had learned to stay home alone and take care of herself after school. Her sisters were moved out already - one of at college and one engaged to be married. The little girl was alone. A lot. Lots of kids were running around town, riding bikes, causing trouble, playing pranks. The little girl had no interest in any of that.

She turned to TV, but that quickly got boring. She tried food, but was so small she could only eat so much before becoming full and feeling sick. She tried sleep, but that only worked for an hour or so. Then, one day, she found herself sitting on the couch, watching mindless television, and remembering how her grandma used to seem so centered and at peace...and occupied...when she had her needle and thread in hand. The little girl asked her mom to show her "how to do that". Her mom gladly obliged and the little girl soon brought home her very first cross stitch kit from the local Kmart. She attacked it with great zeal and quickly figured out just how the needle/thread/fabric relationship worked. She completed that project in a matter of days and then moved on to another...and another...and another. In time, she also taught herself how to knit, crochet, and latch hook, all hobbies she enjoyed interspersed with her stitching.

To this day, that little girl is so GRATEFUL and so THANKFUL for the lessons stitching taught her. She learned to enjoy solitude, to embrace individuality (cross stitch wasn't a terribly popular hobby for teenagers), to occupy her time wisely, and to be patient...for good things will come. Today, that little girl is 33. She has passed her passion for stitching on to her DH and her daughter. She is still an avid stitcher and she still has that very first project she ever finished

That project will always be a reminder to me that my life could have gone in so many different directions, but I love that I was able to grow up humble, be appreciative for everything I have (no matter how much or how little) and keep myself out of trouble when so many other kids my age had nothing better to do. It was needle and thread that got me through so many trying and lonely times in my life. I'm eternally thankful for such a peaceful and centering hobby. 

Phillipians 4:11-12 says - "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."      

Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.