January 2019 Wrap-Up

NEEDLEWORK:

In January, I FFO’d two projects I’d stitched in 2018.

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The cardinal is from September House’s “Holiday Birds” pattern set. I had intended to stitch up the 3-bird set during November/December, but only managed to get the cardinal stitched. I love the design and enjoyed stitching it. I used a red Sharpie to color the hoop’s front and sides.

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The Santa is the CozyBlue Handmade “Many Mini Santas” freebie I stitched up last May. I had enlarged the pattern to fit into a 4″ hoop, which I found to be easier stitching for my non-slender, non-nimble fingers than the mini-size pattern :P.  The 4″ size made for a lot of French knots, but I love stitching French knots so I didn’t mind! I red-Sharpied this hoop, as well.

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Mill Hill “Happy Camper” — This was the last of the Mill Hill kits I had in my stash, and I stitched it up as a just-because gift for my sweetie <3.

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This is my favorite of the Mill Hill kits I’ve stitched thus far. The camper, the night sky, and the moon button are my favorite parts. I found this kit to be one of the easier ones and I love the colors. The red beads on the camper and the bronze-ish beads on the ground are so pretty when the sunlight hits them. I backed the ornament with a forest-green felt, which seemed appropriate for the theme!

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Although my husband and I never camped in this style of trailer, this still conjures up wonderful memories of the different times we’ve gone camping over the years, from when we were dating, to when we were newlyweds, to the various times we took our sons with us.

 

WIP: 2019 Calendar Panel by September House — I snagged a calendar panel, in the gray (DMC 414) colorway, right before Corinne sold out of them.

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I opted to first backstitch all of the outlining, using 3 strands of DMC 414 (gray). Now I’m working on the fill-stitching. Thus far I’m using DMC 3801 (coral), 744 (yellow), and 597 (blue). I’ve not been able to find a green in my flossbox that seems to work well with these colors; any suggestions?

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I haven’t decided yet which stitch I want to use for the very outer border of the rectangle’s frame — I think French knots would be pretty and would lend additional texture, but I’ll make that decision after I finish everything inside the frame.

Floresita is sharing her own progress on her calendar panel on Feeling Stitchy blog’s Project a Month feature for Jan. 2019, as well as on the Feeling Stitchyish Instagram. Her stitchwork is gorgeous, and her up-close photos show the details of her stitches beautifully. For even more stitchy inspiration for the 2019 calendar panel, check out the “septemberhouse” hashtag on Instagram. (I’m not affiliated with September House or Feeling Stitchy, but I am a fan of both!)

 

PURCHASES: I picked up a couple easy-peasy felt applique kits and a pair of ready-to-embroider pillowcases at Walmart when I visited my dad earlier this month, with the intent for them to be projects I can leave at his house and work on when I’m visiting him.

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I like having needlework to do when he and I are watching tv in the evenings and chatting, but I don’t want the needlework to require too much effort or thought on my part. These three projects are all plenty easy (the embroidery holes on the felt applique kits are even pre-poked!! see photo below), and I can embellish the projects as much or as little as I want.

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I did bring all 3 kits home with me, so it’s very possible they’ll be worked on here instead of being travel-only projects ;-).

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BOOKS:

the Throne of Glass series (Sarah J. Maas) — At the end of last year, I’d finished my re-read of the first three books of this 8-book series (I’m counting the book of novellas, which were prequels, as book #1). This month I finished rereading books 4 thru 7, and I’m currently savoring my first read-through of book 8, which is the final book of the series. I love this series so, SO much…..in fact, it lands squarely at the top of my list of favorite series. I’ll be having the post-book/series-ending blues pretty hard when I finish this book!!

Becoming (Michelle Obama) — (audiobook) I had been on the (oh-so-long) Hold list for this audiobook from our library. In a case of “the timing couldn’t have been better”, it became available for download the day before I was to travel back home from visiting my dad. I have a challenging time staying focused on audiobooks but hoped being in the car for six hours might help my train-of-thought not drift away from the book. I’m happy to say my attention did not drift one bit!! In fact, I didn’t listen to anything else on my drive besides this book….I started it when I left my dad’s driveway and stopped it when I pulled into my own driveway. Mrs. Obama is a fantastic narrator and storyteller. I still have two-thirds of the book left to go; I’m at the point in the book where Michelle and Barack are getting serious about each other, so I know there are many more interesting stories to come! I knew I wouldn’t finish listening to the audiobook before it’s due date, so I returned it to the library and will finish out the book when I next travel.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

Mansfield Park (1999 version) — I loved this! I left it in my queue for re-watching while stitching =D.

Vanity Fair (2018 mini-series) — This one tickled my funny bone, and is another one I’ll enjoy re-watching while stitching.

Mission Impossible: Fallout — My husband and I enjoy these movies, and they make for fun re-watches. We liked this one better than the last couple ones.

Casablanca — My dad has an extensive dvd collection and asked if I’d seen this movie. I had not, so we watched it one evening. I have a hard time watching movies in black-and-white, but I stitched and listened and that worked out well!

Reign — This is my current go-to when I’m stitching and don’t want to watch Flosstube. Reign is so very stereotypical CW Network, filled with pretty people and all the drama, but I find it entertaining and I love love LOVE the costuming!! Megan Follows as Queen Catherine is a DELIGHT(!!)……I just love her as her character. (Sidenote: I’ve never seen Anne of Green Gables and had no idea Megan Follows was THAT Anne!)

 

2019 GOALS UPDATE:  (“2019 Goals” post is HERE)

For my “Progress, Not Perfection” Goals #1 thru #3:

#1 – Groom Dogs Regularly — I didn’t do this as often as I would have liked. I’ll see how it goes during February and will then reassess if or as needed.

#2 – Floss Daily — This one’s just not happening, and I think I would do better if I tied it, along with brushing my teeth at night, to another habit. Since the hurdle seems to be that I stay up too late at night (that’s a whole ‘nother issue!), resulting in my being so-very-tired when it’s time to brush my teeth and get into bed, I’m going to see if it works better for me to brush and floss my teeth right after I feed the dogs in the evening. I’m not typically a late-night snacker, so there’s no reason to wait until bedtime to brush and floss.

#3 – Do Something That Requires Movement — Overall, I’m doing well with this one!! Keep in mind that I’m not talking specifically about “exercise” or “fitness” when I say “movement”. My goal is simply to not sit on my butt all day for work AND all evening after work. Some days I’m busy and moving around a lot, other days are more sedentary, and some days I crawl into bed right after work and read all evening. All in all, though, I’m happy with how I did on this goal in January.

For my two hobby-related goals:

#4 – ReadingMy general reading goal for 2019 is to not hurry to finish one book just to get to the next book or to achieve a certain number of books-read. I got rid of my To-Read lists, as well as most of the books on my library Holds list, and it felt So. Good.!! When I finish one book, then I’ll either grab an unread book I already have or I’ll poke around a few blogs or IGs for ideas for my next read. I am loving this reading goal and anticipate it’ll be an easy one to follow through with the remainder of this year.

I had two January-specific reading challenges: (a) no new buying or new borrowing, and (b) pick any unread book off my shelf and finish it by 1/31 or get rid of it.

(a)  When my name came up on the Holds list for Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming,” I did opt to go ahead and check it out. If I had not been out of town and facing a long drive home, I would’ve bumped the book on to the next person in line. But since I knew I could listen to a chunk of it during my drive, I opted to go ahead and check it out. This is the only book I borrowed this month, and I did not buy any books. I felt a bit of pressure about trying to hurry up and finish the audiobook before it’s due next week, but then decided I will get the book through Audible before I travel again, which took away the low-level anxiety I felt about trying to get the book finished before next week.

(b)  The unread book off my (Kindle) shelf is the book I’m currently reading, Kingdom of Ash, the last book in the Throne of Glass series. This is a series I will re-read repeatedly, so I have no interest in getting rid of it.

The February-specific challenge is to read a book gifted to me or get rid of it. I don’t have any books which were gifted specifically to me, but there is one book which was gifted to both my husband and me back in 2006: “Fort Concho and the Texas Frontier”, by J. Evetts Haley, with an introduction by Elmer Kelton. This is not a genre I’d normally read, but I’m game to give it a try. (We have several of Mr. Kelton’s books, which is why this book was gifted to us.) If it ends up not holding my attention, it stays on the bookshelf because (a) it was a couple’s gift, and (b) it’s inscribed specifically to my husband and me by the author and also includes Mr.Kelton’s signature.

The month-specific challenges are by way of the #unreadshelfproject2019.

#5 – Needlework

~ Finish my last Mill Hill kit; stitch up the 2019 Calendar Panel:  Check, and check! I finished the Mill Hill kit, and I’m currently working on the 2019 Calendar Panel.

~ Convert patterns I already own into applique+embroidery projects:  Not yet. I currently have an embroidery project I’m working on and I’m not in the market yet for another WIP. I tend to be a monogamous stitcher and don’t usually think about the next project while I’m still working on the current project.

~ See if there are any cross-stitch kits or hard copies of patterns I want to let go of: Sort of. I’m still on the fence about a couple items. I’ll revisit this goal again in February.

~ Be proactive about always having an embroidery and cross-stitch project ready to pick up and work on:  The embroidery project I’ve been working on is easy to pick up and stitch at a moment’s notice. I also have the two new felt applique kits that are good pick-up-and-stitch projects. I’m just not feeling the cross-stitch love right now, so don’t have a cross-stitch project that’s in “pick up and go” status.

~ No new purchases or patterns, other than what comes in magazines to which I already subscribe:  Whoops!! 😛  The two felt applique kits and the pillowcase embroidery kit are purchases I made this month. I’m opting to ditch this goal, because I do love to have small kits and projects at-hand for when I want to start something new and don’t want to have to kit it up myself. I know what my storage limitations are for stash, which helps keep me thoughtful about what I purchase, so I feel comfortable eliminating this item from my goals.

 

FAVORITE PICS:  It’s all about the plants!! I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, but I’m making an effort to add some greenery into our home.

This trio of plants were each in tiny 2″-size pots — so cute!! The nursery at which I bought these had a good assortment of tiny potted plants. If the nursery has more of these set-of-3 pots when I’m back there next time, I’ll pick up another one or two of them along with a variety of plants to go in them.

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This plant was a Christmas gift, but I don’t know what kind of plant it is. It was full of flowers, which I cut off after they died. There are actually three plants in the one container, so I’ll either put them in a large pot together or split them between three smaller pots.

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This is part of a Pothos Ivy we’ve had for quite a long time. I like this white pot a lot, so bought two of them and split the ivy between them.

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I love the leaves on these Neanthe plants! I didn’t buy any Neanthes this trip, but will pick up one or two if the nursery still has them when I’m there again.

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The Kangaroo Paw plants would be for outside. In reading the care label, they do seem like plants that would do okay in our environment, and I love that they’re good for attracting hummingbirds. We do have hummingbirds visit our hummingbird feeders regularly at certain times of the year; these plants would be a tasty and pretty addition.

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We’ve had a mild winter thus far, so wandering through the nursery and seeing all the pretty outdoor plants sure gave me the itch to get the Spring plants and flowers going. However, we have a couple more months before we pass our last frost date, so I will be patient and wait to begin purchasing new things to plant.

Happy stitching and reading!!

2019 Goals

The goals I’ve set for 2019 are greatly impacted by the last several months of 2018. During those months, my stores of mental, emotional, and physical energy were frequently depleted and, in my downtime, I often found myself mindlessly watching tv or scrolling through instagram. I quit going to the gym, and I did very little needlework. Even reading, which is my favorite hobby, took a hit.

I’m not upset about my lack-of-doing in my downtime during those months because I know my energy was being used elsewhere for very important things. But I considered what had fallen by the wayside, when determining goals for 2019.

For goals #1 thru #3, my mantra is “Progress, Not Perfection”. Doing these things daily would be ideal, but, right now, unrealistic. For now, I’m aiming for “more often than not” over the course of each week. I’m using Elise Blaha Cripes‘ goal tracker, which is (as of the date of this post) a freebie download when you subscribe to her newsletter. It’s a simple one page sheet with circles to fill in or check off for each day of the year, and I’ve printed one copy for each of the following three goals.

1.)  Groom Dogs Regularly — One of our dogs does not do well with being professionally groomed; understandable, seeing as how she’s twice suffered nasty clipper cuts to her elbows :/.  I’d been regularly working with her myself, getting her used to me brushing her, then progressed to trimming her fur with scissors, and eventually progressed to trimming her fur with the electric clippers. This was about a two-year process, getting her to the point of trusting me to use the electric clippers on her.

Because of my being away from home often in recent months, I fell out of the habit of routinely working with her and we’re back to square one, which is simply brushing her for 5 or 10 minutes a day. The goal is to have her patience and tolerance with being trimmed with the electric clippers being built back up before warm temperatures set in for good here, which will be around late March or early April.

I’d also like to get both dogs accustomed to letting me brush their teeth. They’re old dogs who aren’t used to having their teeth brushed, so we’ll see how it goes!

2.)  Floss (my own teeth) Daily — This takes all of a couple minutes before bed, and yet it’s always a struggle to make it a habit 😛 😛 😛 .

3.)  Do Something That Requires Movement — I office at home, and I’m a homebody to boot, so it’s easy to go from sitting in my office all day to sitting on the couch all evening.

My “something that requires movement” could be as energetic as going to the gym or as low-key as baking a pie or preparing a pot of soup. It could be a short walk around the block, or going to the store, or vacuuming, or raking. Essentially the goal is to not sit on my behind all day AND all evening. This is a very attainable goal.

My other two goals are hobby-related and are not daily-type goals:

4.)  Reading — I do read daily at bedtime and that won’t change. What HAS changed is my mindset. I’m no longer in a hurry to finish one book so I can get to the next book. I deleted all books off my to-read list, off my library wish list, and off my library holds list . . . and I don’t plan to add to any of these lists during 2019. I’m only focusing on what I’m reading right now, not on what’s next. And since I’m reading books I own, instead of library books, I’m not reading against a due-date deadline.

I’m selectively participating in #theunreadshelfproject2019. I’m not sure if I’ll participate in each month’s challenge, but I am participating in the January challenge, which is two-fold: (a) no new buying or new borrowing, and (b) pick any book off your unread shelf and finish it by Jan. 31st or get rid of it.

On my unread shelf, I currently have 13 owned books (7 kindle books and 6 hardcopy books) and zero library books.

The unread book I plan to read this month is the final book in Sarah J. Maas’ “Throne of Glass” series. I started a reread of the series back in November and should be able to get Kingdom of Ash read before the end of this month.

I typically do not buy very many books, especially fiction books, but I do like to pick up books at our library’s annual book-sale fundraiser, which is where the hard-copy fiction books currently on my unread shelf came from. I do plan to attend this year’s book sale and pick up any fiction books that catch my eye, but my 2019 goal still remains to be to focus on reading what I have on my unread shelf before borrowing library books.

5.)  Needlework — I had thought I might set a goal of finishing one project a month, but I decided I don’t want a number-tied-to-a-deadline goal for needlework any more than I do for books. Instead, my needlework goals will be to:

  • Finish the Mill Hill ornament kit WIP I’m currently working on.
  • Stitch up the 2019 calendar panel embroidery so I can use it this year ;-).
  • Convert some embroidery and punch-needle patterns I already own into applique + embroidery projects.
  • Take stock of the cross-stitch kits and hard-copy patterns I already own and see if there are any I want to pass along; if so, then pass them along! I only have 4 kits and a handful of hard-copy patterns, so it’s not too daunting a task. But I do need to be realistic about if I will actually stitch the bigger charts, or if I’d rather primarily stitch smaller-size projects.
  • Be more proactive about always having an embroidery project and a cross-stitch project ready to pick up and work on.
  • No new purchases of patterns or kits during 2019, other than what comes in magazines to which I subscribe.

So, all five of my 2019 goals feel very doable to me. I do plan to re-evaluate at least once during the year to see if I want to modify, delete, or add any goals.

Progress, Not Perfection!!!

Mid-September thru December 2018 Wrap Up: part 2 of 2 (books & movies/tv)

[Part 1 is HERE and recaps the needlework goings-on.]

BOOKS:  (These have been added to my Books Read page found HERE.)  

Winter Garden (Kristin Hannah) — This was an emotionally-heavy read, but it sucked me in and I didn’t want to put it down.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (Hank Green) — It was an interesting plot and I finished the book, but I might’ve enjoyed it more at a different time.

the Graceling Realm trilogy (Kristin Cashore) — This was a reread of the books Fire; Graceling; and Bitterblue. This is one of my favorite trilogies.

The Immortalists (Chloe Benjamin) — I read the entire book, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents (Pete Souza) — Pete is one of my favorite Instagram follows. If you’re a fan of 44, this might be right up your alley. If you’re a fan of 45, however, you’re not the target audience.

The Hazel Wood (Melissa Albert) — I had gone into this one knowing nothing about it. I liked it just fine, but think this would’ve been an instance when I would’ve like knowing which genre I was getting into before I started the book. (I don’t always look at genre info or read blurbs before starting a library Kindle book.)

Head On (John Scalzi) — The sequel to Lock In. I enjoyed both books, and really like that Scalzi did not assign a gender to the main character.

The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde) — It took me a while to get into this book (which was more because of my head space at the time rather than because of the book), but once I did get hooked into it I thoroughly enjoyed it.

the Throne of Glass series (Sarah J. Maas) — I started a reread of this series towards the end of the year, in anticipation of reading the newest (and final) book. I finished the novellas and first two books before year-end 2018, and will finish the remaining books, including the new book, in early 2019.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

The Rookie (currently-airing S1) — This is a series my husband and I both enjoy. Nathan Fillion is a gem and I’m glad to see him on tv again (I didn’t find Castle interesting, and Firefly was a long time ago!). Very enjoyable cast all around on The Rookie.

The Great British Baking Show (S9) — I’m gonna say it…I really, REALLY like the new line-up of judges and hosts. (But I also really liked the prior line-up, as well.) I’ve not yet watched the newest (to the U.S.) masterclass series, but it’s in my queue.

Bodyguard (S1) — This series made for tense viewing, but I liked the series.

MOVIES — I’m sure I’ve watched some movies the past several months (besides Hallmark’s two months’ worth of holiday movies), but nothing specific is bubbling to the surface of my memory. If something noteworthy does, I’ll add it to my next wrap-up.

 

SIDEBAR UPDATES for FLOSSTUBE & PODCASTS:  It’s been a while since I’d updated these two sidebar lists, so, as of today, they agree with my current watch-list and listen-list.

 

BAKING:  Because I’ll be looking for these recipes when the holidays roll around again…

Chocolate Pecan Pie I (Allrecipes) — I used a store-bought deep-dish pie crust, increased the crushed pecans to 1-1/3 C., rimmed the top out edge of the uncooked pie with pecan halves, and used 1 C. dark chocolate chips. I baked for 55 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie (Smitten Kitchen) — I used a store-bought deep-dish pie crust. No changes to the filling.

 

WEIGHT-WATCHERS (now officially re-branded as “WW”):

While I’ve not been actively following my WW program in recent months, I have managed to maintain the 15(ish)-lb. loss from summer 2018. I’m okay with holding steady, especially since there’s been a fair bit of stress-eating the past three months!! I had not renewed my membership when my six-month special pricing ran out, but when I submitted a request to cancel my membership I promptly received a two-months-free offer from WW, which I accepted. I’m hoping by the time the end of those two months rolls around things will have stabilized with family health issues (see the Part 1 post from earlier today if you’ve not already read it) and I’ll be in the frame of mind to pick up my efforts and move forward with my weight loss.

 

RECENT FAVORITE SNAPSHOTS:

This is one of my first cross-stitch projects, which would’ve been completed in 1991 or 1992. The person to whom I’d gifted it is the family member who recently passed away. It brings me a great deal of joy to see this project, along with several others I’d made for them, still displayed in their home.

 

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Okay, 2019…let’s do more things!! (preferably not involving hospitals :P)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-September thru December 2018 Wrap Up: part 1 of 2 (needlework)

Well. The last quarter of 2018 was a doozy for my family. On my side of the family, a stepparent passed away, less than two weeks afterwards another parent (the spouse of the stepparent who passed away) had a stroke, and then right after Thanksgiving a grandparent went to the ER with an intestinal bug at which time it was also discovered they have serious heart-health issues. So there has been grief, stress, and a general sense for all involved that none of us were ready for any of this (as if anyone ever really is). But, seeing how Life is multi-faceted, there have been some positive things which have come out of the scary and dark things. I’m so very grateful for the strength and love and kindness my family has provided to each other, and for the strength, love, and kindness I’ve received from friends. My husband has been my rock — I can be strong, knowing he is there for me to lean on when I don’t feel strong, and knowing he will take what he can off my shoulders.

For the latter part of my 2018, there was only a minimal amount of needlework/crafting that happened, and my reading took a sharp turn towards the S-L-O-W end of the spectrum. I watched a lot of Hallmark holiday movies and Flosstube, and did a lot of perusing of Instagram.

NEEDLEWORK:

Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful — This was an inexpensive applique + embroidery Bucilla kit I picked up at Hobby Lobby, as something easy to work on at the hospital.

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I used the threads and pre-cut craft felt that came with the kit. I used 6 strands of floss for all of the stitching, and the words are couched with 6 strands.

 

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Because I opted to couch and to also use 6 strands for everything, I did run out of the pink and blue floss. Even though they weren’t DMC, I was able to match them pretty closely with DMC.

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I have the finished project hanging from a metal heart I’d picked up earlier in the year at Michael’s.

I enjoyed this kit a lot!! More so than I thought I would. I loved using the felt (and didn’t mind that it’s inexpensive craft felt), and am thinking about converting some embroidery and/or punch-needle patterns I already own to be applique + embroidery projects.

 

WIP: Antique Scissors & Spools — This is a Theresa Venette pattern which I purchased in PDF format from her website. I’m stitching it using Belle Soie “Cinnamon Stick” floss on 14-ct Aida that I tea- and coffee-dyed. (more info below about this floss)

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WIP: Mill Hill “Happy Camper” — This was another “take it with me” kit I worked on while out of town. I’m just about done with the cross-stitching, then will do the beading (which I didn’t want to start on until I was back home).

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GIFTS RECEIVED:

I received two fabulous embroideries from Kittykill (Pam), who has been my embroidery color-tinting inspiration for over a decade now, from back when I first came across her needlework on Craftster in 2007/2008.

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Aren’t they adorable?!!!  Since our walls are a light, neutral color, to help the designs better stand out against our walls I used wood-colored Sharpies to “stain” the outside of the hoops and I added ribbon around the top edge of each hoop.

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It was a wonderful surprise to return home shortly before Christmas to find happy mail in the form of stitched ornaments!! The sled ornament was a gift from Tracy, and the Santa ornament was a gift from Kristi. I love both ornaments!! The sled and pattern can be found on 123Stitch, and Kristi said she found the Santa wooden blank and pattern as a kit at Joann.

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My dad found the cute cross-stitch kit below at a local discount store and bought the kit for me. I  may end up stitching her on the sparkly Aida (see “Purchases” below) and I’ll definitely swap out the floss colors. The sentiment is pretty dead-on ;-).

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PURCHASES:

Back in September, I purchased some fabulous loot by way of Michelle BendyStitchy‘s fundraiser for the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimers. I scored dyed Aida, various patterns, silk floss, and a couple already-stitched items.

This Aida is so sparkly, and it’s a huge piece of fabric! If my eyes give me trouble with the 16-ct, I’ll just stitch over 2.

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These Belle Soie silks are sooooo lush and have such a wonderful feel to them. I’ve started a project with the brown (“Cinnamon Stick”) floss on some Aida I coffee- and tea-dyed myself. I’ve not gotten far on that project, but will hopefully have a few more stitches in by my end-of-January update.

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Below are the 4 patterns I won. I will likely change the colors on the Nora Corbett pattern to better fit my own preferences. For the hummingbird pattern, I’ll crop that design to just include the feeder, the couple of birds right around the feeder, and the flowers immediately surrounding the feeder. Having said that, if I think I can convert the hummingbird pattern to embroidery rather than cross-stitch, I’ll do so — I think it’d be pretty as an embroidery, with lots of options for creating texture. For the 2 patterns in the second photo, if I end up keeping the patterns then I’ll probably just pull out little bits of them to stitch rather than stitching the complete charts.

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I love having needlework stitched by others! The Santa was stitched by Michelle “bendystitchy”, and the girl was stitched by Theresa “kittenstitcher”.

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I did a bit more stash-building via Michelle’s charity auctions on her Instagram page and also via her Instagram de-stash account.

This Mirabilia “Fairy Moon” UFO is, by far, my favorite acquisition!! This UFO had been found IN A GARAGE SALE…a garage sale, people!! It appears all the cross-stitching has been done, as has some of the beading.

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My lighting is blowing out the color. If you have a minute, though, you can see this Mira in all her gorgeousness on Michelle’s Flosstube #82 at the 1hr 4min mark (or go HERE). So much sparkly beauty!!

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Michelle was kind enough to purchase the needed beads so the project can be finished. Completing this Mira is on my needlework To-Do list for 2019. (Now, if I find my eyes just cannot do the beading, then I’ll pass this along to someone else.)

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Below are the final two items I purchased from Michelle. I’d like to convert The Bead Fairy to a specifically-Christmas color scheme, and I may stitch the Santa ornament on silver perforated paper (which I already have) instead of the included plastic canvas.

 

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2019 Calendar Embroidery Kit from September House — I had stitched some of Corinne’s calendar panels up as gifts several years ago and enjoyed the process. This one is for me to keep and hang in my office =D.

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[Part 2 will recap the books I read, the things I watched, and a few other life goings-on. Find it HERE.]

 

August to mid-September 2018 Wrap-Up: part 2 of 2 (books & movies/tv)

[Part 1 is HERE and recaps the needlework goings-on.]

BOOKS:  (These have been added to my Books Read page found HERE.)  

Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) — Written from the points of view of a black nurse, a white supremacist, and a white public defender; racism is a central issue.  The kindle version I read contained an author’s note, which I was hoping it would, and a good bibliography.

Practical Magic (Alice Hoffman) — I’d read The Rules of Magic a few months ago, which was a prequel to this book but this book had been written first. For me, both books stand alone just fine; you don’t need to read one to enjoy the other. I did wish I’d not already seen the movie before reading this book.

Firefly Lane (Kristin Hannah) — The first part of this book had lots of “brings back memories” references for me from the 1970’s and 1980’s. This book left me feeling melancholy.

Calypso (David Sedaris) — Enjoyed this one.

Retire Inspired (Chris Hogan) — I actually didn’t finish this one, but am placing it on my list because I do want to come back to it as we move further along in our debt-free journey.

Talking As Fast As I Can (Lauren Graham) — This was interesting, although I suspect it would’ve worked better for me as an audiobook.

On Turpentine Lane (Elinor Lipman) — A light, fun read.

The Outsider (Stephen King) — I’m not a fan of crimes against children being a plot point, and this book starts off with a graphic one…and the details get brought up several times throughout the book. I opted to skim liberally in order to finish the story.

Labyrinth Lost (book 1) (Zoraida Cordova) — This fell into the “not for me right now” category. I did finish the book, but won’t be moving forward in the series right now.

Notes from a Blue Bike (Tsh Oxenreider) — An older book and I’m not the target demographic, but I like Tsh’s writing voice and did enjoy the book.

Magic Hour (Kristin Hannah) — I liked this one a lot. The plot was a step off the beaten path from what I usually read in fiction, and that was a nice change.

 

TV SERIES:

Secret City (S1) — I enjoyed this, although I did have to make a point to pay attention and not be fiddling with my phone at the same time ;-). It was a good show to watch while doing needlework. (netflix)

Sneaky Pete (S1 & S2) — I liked both seasons and will watch S3 when it’s released.  (amazon prime)

Great British Bake Off (2017) (aired on U.S. Netflix 2018) — Love. Love. Loved it!! I enjoyed the new judge and hosts, as well. (netflix)

Sisters (S1) — I enjoyed this. (netflix)

Madame Secretary — I  watch a few episodes then take a long break before going back again. I like the cast quite well; I’m just not always in the mood for a government-crisis-of-the-week show. (netflix)

 

MOVIES:

Captain Fantastic — Loved it. What a great cast. This is one I’d watch anytime I came across it on tv. (I think I watched this during a free weekend of Showtime via our Sling app)

Moana — Loved this one, too. The story was thoroughly enjoyable; the animation of the texture and movement of Moana’s and Maui’s hair was superb. (netflix)

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before — Also loved this one, and will absolutely watch it again. I’ve not read the books, and probably won’t since I enjoyed the movie so much. (netflix)

Victoria & Abdul — I love Dame Judi and thought she did a fantastic job of portraying the loneliness and isolation of being a queen. Wonderful cast. Beautiful scenery and costuming. (hulu)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri — I’ll watch most anything with Frances McDormand in it. Another great cast. (hulu)

Avengers: Infinity War — Whew! There was A LOT going on in this movie. I had planned to stitch while watching it, but found I missed too much if I looked away from the tv. For such a long movie, I thought the time went by quickly. I did end up googling for an explanation of the ending (I’m not a comic book reader nor am I otherwise immersed in the Marvel Universe). I’ll definitely watch this one again when it lands on netflix or amazon prime. (amazon rental)

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society — I enjoyed this movie; I’ve not read the book. (netflix)

 

PODCASTS:

Sorta Awesome Ep. 162 re: Self-Care, Self-Comfort, What’s Healthy, What’s Not — I don’t typically recommend specific podcast episodes, but this is one which, as I listened to it, I thought would be interesting and helpful to pretty much everyone I know.

 

WEIGHT- & DEBT-REDUCTION PROGRESS:

I’ve lost about one-third of the weight I’d like to lose, and have, since the end of July, been maintaining that loss within a pound or two. I’ve not been actively trying to decrease my loss further just yet; it’ll probably be another month or so before I’m ready to shift from maintaining back to losing.

This month we paid off our smallest debt and were also able to pay an additional amount on the next smallest debt, which felt great! I imagine it’ll take another month or two before we have our budgeting process tweaked to what works best for us.

 

RECENT FAVORITE SNAPSHOTS:

thunderheads

sisters

yellow rose

daisy