Monday, March 12, 2018

Unexpected Travel

This past week has been a whirlwind.  My husband's stepfather passed away - not unexpectedly, but still a very sad passing - March 4, which meant we needed to fly to the Midwest late last week.  My daughter, who has never experienced the death of a person she knew before, was anxious to the point of illness ("Mom, my tummy feels all achy" - thankfully, she wasn't throwing up or anything) on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We flew out early Thursday morning, and she was a trooper.  We talked about taking each moment as it came and not worrying about "what came next."  She enjoys flying, so at least that wasn't an issue!  And we stayed at a hotel with a pool, so that was a welcome break (when we could take advantage of it, around all of the events we had to attend and family to see).

I was so proud of her.  When we got to the church for the viewing/funeral, she at first insisted that she did not want to see the body.  I supported her decision, and DH and I figured out how she could best get into the church without being too near the casket.  But as we got close to the door, she told me, "Mom, I think I want to see that."  So I let her lead.  As she got close to the casket, she was joined by another little girl, and the 2 of them stood there studying Grampa Doc for several minutes.  Then my mother-in-law walked up, lovingly fluffed his hair a bit, adjusted his glasses, and patted his chest, saying, "that's my guy."  And THEN, my daughter who had panicked at the idea of seeing a dead person, reached up and patted his hand.  (I tear up just thinking about that!)  Children are so amazing.

In the midst of all that overload, I DID stitch....because I need something to do on those airplanes.  :)
(A little Ink Circles freebie, I think it will work as another jewelry box top when it is finished.)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February WIPocalypse Update

So I seem to be failing miserably at this WIPocalypse thing.  :/  I was determined to finish a few of my languishing projects....but it would seem that they are languishing for a REASON, after all.  So instead I start All The New Things, and I justify it by saying that well, it is still stash that is getting used, right?!?!?

In addition to my "Autumn House" small that I posted for the Smalls SAL, I started Moonflower Designs' "May You Believe."  I LOVE this on the green fabric with the purple floss (HDF Old Maid of the Aubergine, thanks again to Robin!).  Here is about a week's progress.
I'm currently debating whether to fuss with moving my Q-snaps, or just to finish up the area currently inside them and then stitch in-hand for the rest.  Confession: I'm a fabric miser when it comes to my excess fabric, so it might be simpler to just stitch in-hand.

In addition to my progress, Measi proposed the following discussion topic: Gadgets!  Show us your favorite stitching gadgets! AND how did you do with Olympic Stitching, and what goals did you achieve?
So, gadgets.  I didn't start out as a big "gadget" person - heck, I didn't even have any nice scissors until I started hanging out on chatboards!  And while I do have a few fun little toys now, I'm still not in the realm of other stitchers I've seen who have entire refrigerators covered in magnetic needleminders.  :)  My current favorite things -
1) Gingher embroidery scissors.  I have 3 pairs, with 2 being my most favorite - one is the 2006 limited edition "Julia" pattern that is blue floral, and the other is a purple and pink floral design that I can't find the name of...

I especially love them because of that fob - I made it myself using beads from my husband's grandmother's jewelry.

2) I recently acquired this little stitch ripper from Heartstring Samplery.  Totally unnecessary, but he was too cute to resist (I just hope not to need his services too often!).
(pic from vendor's Etsy site)

3) Which brings us to needleminders.  Yes, I do have, I rarely use them all.  My favorites are 2 smaller ones - the one I use most frequently lately is my "evil genius" button.
And the one that got me turned on to needleminders in the first place - this little pretty that I got for a song on eBay a couple years ago.  I like that there is a little groove between the center cabochon and the decorative edge, where a needle gets a little extra security.

Now, as for the Olympic stitching....ha.  Ha ha.  Hahahahahaha.  I had big plans to work on Family Treasure III, but it was too fiddly for watching sports (that's my excuse, anyway).  I ended up working on and finishing a small, and then pulling out "May You Believe."  As I said in an earlier post, maybe I will propose a NEW Stitching Olympics event - "start something new because you are inspired by the amazing achievements of others." It can be an exhibition sport for a couple years first.  LOL

Monday, February 26, 2018

Quickie Finishing

A wood block from JoAnn Fabric, some twine, and some teeny clothespins....
I'm not sure it is my favorite finish, but it works!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February Smalls SAL

I was all set to work on Family Treasure III throughout the Olympics, but then I changed my mind and pulled out a new small instead.  Perfect, because I finished it just in time for the Smalls SAL check-in!
 "Autumn House" by Bent Creek
some floss changes made (gray, roof of house), substitution for acorn charm

I have a finishing idea, too - and my daughter and husband are at an indoor waterpark today (an event that is part of their "Wilderness Princesses" daddy/daughter group activities) so maybe I'll get that done!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

"...a hue somewhere between lilac and dusky plum."

Yes, that quote from April Tucholke pretty much sums up what I was looking for in this piece!  With a huge thank you to Robin in VA...
I left the original shade in for a bit, just to see the difference - and because I wanted to get up to the top border and make sure all the colors played well together.  The lighter color was an unlabeled skein from one of Vikki's detritus bags, and the darker is Old Maid of the Aubergine.  Old Maid is perfect!

I know, I know, I had intended to stitch on Family Treasure III for the duration of the Olympics...ah well.  Perhaps I should propose a NEW Stitching Olympics event - the "start something new because you are inspired by the amazing achievements of others" event.  Like that Google Home ad...

Monday, February 19, 2018

On Creativity

Lately, on Facebook and various message boards, I've seen a lot of talk about "Priscilla's."  I was not familiar with this particular site, so I Googled and found her blog.  It is filled with many lovely little projects, to be sure.  But then I see people lamenting that they just "aren't as creative as Priscilla," or that they "could NEVER come up with that."

Stop selling yourselves short, people.

We're crafters!  We make things!  And some things come out better than others, to be sure.  But don't devalue your own creative process just because you don't have a blog with a bazillion hits.  Wander the craft store and thrift store aisles with an open mind, and you never know what you might find.  Of course places like the blog I mentioned above and lovely finishers like Vonna (The Twisted Stitcher) are great for ideas...but when you start combining materials and colors in a way that pleases YOU, it is YOUR creation, not theirs.  This is where I start to wonder how much credit I need to give when I finish things anymore - for example, my little clock.
I was "inspired" by all the pocket watch finishes I'd seen - including Vonna's, and a few others.  But finding a piece that fit, the elements I was all mine.

And what about my little zombie girl?
Someone else had used a little Halloween house decoration from Michael's for a similar finish before I posted this.  But there are Michael's stores all over the US, and who knows how many people decided to purchase one of these and do something like this.  Same goes for my mermaid lantern...
...and my re-purposed jewelry boxes.

I just don't feel that I "own" any of these ideas.  I'm not a professional crafter, and there's no profit for me to make in this.  Please, take them, change them, make them your own...and share them with the world.  In the end, we're combining threads and fabrics in ways that please us, and  then sewing or gluing them to other bits that make us smile.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Selling finished needlework never works out for me.  I know, people tell me over and over not to devalue my own work by pricing it too low....but if I price it closer to "what it's worth," no one buys it, and I certainly don't need all these finished pieces!  So earlier this month I decided to dip a toe back into eBay, and see what would happen.
This was a Stoney Creek design that drove me mad while stitching, and while it is a very sweet finished piece, I have no desire to keep it.  So I listed it, with a starting bid at $10 and a Buy It Now at $20....and I got ONE bid (at $10).  So away it goes, leaving me with about $6 in my pocket after eBay and PayPal fees and shipping costs.  <:(  And then I made myself feel worse by packaging it all pretty, with a "card" made from some old database marketing materials I found in my office at work.
Ah well.  I still love knowing my work is out in the world, even at a discount to its new owner.  Hopefully it will be loved.

And I'll probably try selling stuff again in the future....I certainly have enough stuff in bins and boxes!  My mother once mentioned the annual school fundraiser/craft fair at my old high school - I used to turn up my nose at that idea, but now it is seeming more appealing.  A little table, with finished pillows, ornaments and other smalls?  It could work.  And maybe a few larger pieces, unframed....I could reach out to the local framing shop and see if they'd be willing to offer a coupon or something ("buy this unframed needlework, here's a 10%-off coupon to get it framed at XYZ Frame Shop").  I doubt I'd make a huge profit, but it might still be fun.  Something to think about, anyway.