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.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Plodding Along

It seems that this time of year always brings a case of the doldrums around my house. Maybe it's just me, projecting my blahs, but it seems like everyone is sort of uninterested in anything for most of the month of November. The kids are restless, flitting from one thing to another with no satisfaction. That, or they're sitting/laying around staring at TV, video games, iPods, etc. all day. The in-between weather we have here in the Midwest this time of year is partially responsible, I'm sure. The day before yesterday, it was 74 and sunny with a hint of a breeze. Today? It was 28 when I woke up this morning and my van doors were frozen shut from the blowing rain last night. Sigh.

I have been putting some of the 'blah' time to use by working on my Christmas exchange, so still no progress pics. It's a fun little stitch and I'm almost ready to turn it over to DH to be finished. I wonder if my exchange partner will mind that her item required a little teamwork from this end?? :)

I've also been working here and there on Forest Goddess and would love to pick WoWG back up, but I feel an obligation to make absolutely sure my exchange piece will be done in time, so that's getting all of my focus right now. Maybe after Thanksgiving rolls around and it's time to start hauling out and putting up my Christmas decorations, I'll start to perk up a bit. I love fall and I adore Christmas...I don't know why November seems to make me want to stay in my PJ's and sleep for 30 days straight.

Well, ok, 29 days straight. Even my colder weather ho-hums can't keep me from a plate of turkey and all the fixin's! LOL


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Some Progress and a Wonderful Surprise

I'm still working on my Christmas exchange project. Obviously no pics of that just now, but I do have some progress to show on Forest Goddess. I've been putting some time in on it here and there when I need a break from the exchange piece. Here's the latest: 

Now, for my wonderful surprise...I walked in to work yesterday to find 3 full-size, unopened kits on my desk. Wait...what?!? Um, yeah. You read that right. Let me explain:

My co-worker recently lost her FIL (it was expected) and found herself helping to clean out his home so it could be sold. Her MIL had passed years ago, but she was not aware that her FIL had kept all of the crafting stuff she had accumulated. Most of it was crewel, which I have never done, nor have an interest in doing. But when she found the cross stitch kits, she said I was the first person she thought of, so she put them aside and brought them to work and left them for me. They're very nice kits. I think a couple of them are discontinued. Here's what I got:

Seaside Sweethearts from the Quiet Moments collection by Lanarte

Largemouth Bass by Bucilla


Tulip Trio by Dimensions Gold

I'm very blessed to have such thoughtful friends and co-workers. DH will be the happy recipient of the largemouth bass kit, but the other two will most likely be put away until I get some other 'to-dos' finished. Now, off to figure out what to give as a Thank You gift...

Have a blessed night, all. Stitch happy! :)