Jolly July 2019 Wrap-Up

My July needlework was all about Jolly July (which I talked about HERE). By the end of June I’d kitted up 31 projects, 23 of which were cross-stitch and the remaining 8 were embroidery, with the intent to start a new project each day during July.

So, did I actually start a new project each day? Wellllll, no, I didn’t :P. There was a 5-day stretch when I was sick and just didn’t have the oomph to do anything more than sleep, watch tv, and read. And then there were a few cross-stitch projects for which I realized, when I was ready to start stitching them, white floss would not contrast enough with the fabric for those projects, so I set those aside and worked on other already-started projects on those evenings.

Out of the 31 kitted-up projects:

  • I started 22 projects.
  • Out of those 22 projects, I completed 3 in July and have completed 2 more thus-far in August. (I’ve not FFO’d any yet.)
  • I have 5 projects which I didn’t start because I was sick. (All 5 were embroidery projects.)
  • I have 4 projects for which I either need to coffee-tea dye the chosen fabric, or swap in a darker fabric, or see if I can swap in a different color for the called-for white.

I have thoroughly enjoyed having these projects kitted up and ready to go!!! I find this funny because whenever StitchMaynia has rolled around each of the past couple years I found the idea of having multiple starts stressful. But the idea of having multiple ornament-sized projects going intrigued me enough to want to try, and I’m so glad I did.

Below are my 3 finishes from July. (I do want to mention I’ve had a heck of a time with outdoor light because it’s high summer here and the light is so very harsh. During other times of the year I can get soft outdoor lighting for taking photos, but not in July or August! My FFO pictures later in this year should better capture colors and show them more true-to-life.)

“PRESENT REINDEER”, a freebie chart from Daffycat

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This was my July 1st start and I finished it July 19th. Finished size 3-1/4 x 3-1/4 (46w x 46h). Stitched on Loops & Threads 14-ct “Oatmeal”. DMC 801, 814, 3051 (2 strands of each).

I may end up finding a button or something to put in the empty area of the top left corner — it feels like there’s a lot of empty space there.

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“THE BERRY BIRD” by Theron Traditions, from Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue 2000 (pgs. 15 & 99)

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This was my July 16th start and I finished it July 20th. Finished size 2-1/8 x 2-1/8 (30h x 30w). Stitched on Loops & Thread 14-ct “Oatmeal”. I subbed in DMC in place of the called-for GAST: DMC 469 in place of GAST Avocado, DMC 3799 in place of GAST Soot, & DMC 3685 in place of GAST Cranberry (2 strands of each).

(If I were to stitch this again, instead of 2 strands of 3799 I’d opt for 1 strand each of 535 & 3799, or I’d use GAST Soot or another variegated black/dark gray. And I’d use a bead for the eye so it would stand out better.)

I love love love the color combination on this project!! This project calls for Palestrina Knots for the berries and it was my first time to stitch those knots. I didn’t have a problem with them, but I think they would be much prettier on a surface embroidery project (I think that’s true of all knots though).

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“BRITTY CHRISTMAS PUPPY” by Brittercup Designs, from Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue 2006 (pgs. 20 & 37)

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This was my July 27th start and I finished it July 29th. Finished size 3-3/4 x 3-3/4 (53w x 52h). Stitched on Artiste/Zweigart 14-ct “Mist”. I subbed in DMC in place of the called-for GAST. DMC 501 in place of GAST Evergreen, DMC 535 + 3799 (1 strand of each) in place of GAST Soot, DMC 676 in place of GAST Buttercrunch, & DMC 3328 in place of GAST Pomegranate (2 strands of each, other than as noted).

I feel like this could use black backstitching around the yellow, red, and green, so may add backstitching before FFO’ing. And I may add beads or some other tiny bling on top of the green of the stocking because it feels too plain as-is.

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There were many evenings during July when I didn’t want to stitch, but I told myself to just get that day’s project started and put in only 1 strand of floss, then I could put it away. Some nights I did only do the 1 strand, but other nights I ended up stitching for 2 or 3 hours.

My goal is to have all 31 ornaments finished (but not necessarily FFO’d) by the end of next May, and then to again participate in Jolly July next year.

And I’m even considering participating in StitchMaynia next year!! :::gasp:::

Ready for Jolly July!!

I’ve decided to participate in Jolly July!!! I’m going to do a new cross-stitch or embroidery ornament start each day in July.

I heard about the Jolly July project back in early June on both Priscilla & Chelsea’s Flosstube channel  and Fat Quarter Shop’s Flosstube channel. While the idea of StitchMaynia is overwhelming to me, I immediately was interested in the concept of a month of ornaments.

I have digital issues of Just Cross Stitch’s ornaments issues going back to the late 1990’s, as well as assorted cross-stitch and embroidery holiday patterns I obtained as freebies or purchased over the past dozen years. Jolly July seemed a perfect opportunity to make use of those resources to get a bunch of small-to-medium sized projects started. And if I have some projects started, I’ll be more inclined to pick one up and stitch on it in the evenings after work.

Last night I finally finished getting everything kitted up and ready to go. I looooove to organize, so looking at this box with all my projects ready to go makes me so darn happy!!

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I ended up with 23 cross-stitch projects and 8 embroidery projects. Of the 31 projects, 2 are Halloween and the rest are Christmas/winter. Here’s a list of the patterns I’ll be stitching:

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All the cross-stitching will be done on 14-ct fabric…primarily on Aida, although the two Halloween projects will be on plastic canvas. To keep things affordable, I’m using Aida from Hobby Lobby and Michael’s.

For floss, I’m primarily using DMC, although I did buy Anchor in white and black since I’ve heard those are a bit plumper than DMC, and I did buy the Wisper and Kreinik flosses called for in a few of the patterns, and I’m using a Weeks Dye Works floss in the July 31st project. Here’s a list of alllllll the DMC flosses I needed for the 31 projects…I had about half the flosses already, which was helpful…and a list of the specialty flosses, buttons, and so forth which were called for in a few projects:

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For kitting up the cross-stitch projects, I just cut 2 long strands of each floss called for in the pattern because that was the quickest and easiest way to put together 31 kits in just a couple weeks. I know some kits will have floss left over, and in some kits I will probably need more than 2 long strands of certain colors. The nice thing about using DMC is it’s easy for me to pick up more skeins if needed, it’s affordable, and I don’t worry about the dye lots being noticeably different. For the embroidery projects, I have a loose idea of the main color I want to use in each, then I’ll pick the remaining colors after I’ve started stitching. Below is a sample of how I kitted up each type of kit (the embroidery pattern was a freebie from years ago, so it’s okay that I’m showing the whole design):

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I’m using a notebook to keep track of each project’s info. This will be helpful when I finish a project and want to blog the relevant info, especially if it takes me 6 months or a year to finish something…I won’t have to rely on my, um, not super great memory for details!! Below is an example of how I’m tracking each project:

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I’ll be curious to see, after the end of July, to see how my kitting worked out, and to think about what I would do differently if I opt to participate in Jolly July (or StitchMaynia) next year.

I’m so excited to get home after work tomorrow and start on my first project!!!

 

 

 

 

May 2019 Wrap Up

NEEDLEWORK PROJECTS:

2019 Calendar Panel by September House — I finished it! … and it only took me until May ;-).

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I used 3 strands of each of DMC 414, 597, 744, 906, 907, 3706, and 3801. The stitches I used were back stitch, satin stitch, and a few straight stitches and french knots.

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For finishing, I wrapped a piece of white Kona cotton around a piece of 11×14 sticky board, then wrapped the calendar panel on top of the Kona cotton. On the backside of the sticky board, I used low-tack painter’s tape to tape down both pieces of folded-over fabric. Using low-tack tape will allow me to easily remove the calendar panel after the end of this year, and I can use the Kona-covered sticky board with the 2020 calendar panel.

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The frame is an 11×14 frame from Hobby Lobby.

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I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this panel, and am hoping Corinne will design panels for 2020. If she does, I’ll be sure to buy one early enough this year to allow me to have it completed by the start of 2020.

 

I’m Sorry, Did My Eyes Roll Out Loud? by Amy Bruecken Designs — This chart and the 14-ct. silver perforated paper were already in my stash. I made this to keep for myself, so used my own choice of DMC floss colors: 3 strands each of 208, 600, 740, 973, and 3844; I love these colors! I framed it in a bright 4×6 frame from Hobby Lobby, and it lives in our spare room/home office on the end table with my Mother’s Day orchid (photo is later in this post).

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BOOKS READ:

Ghosted (Rosie Walsh) — There were several twists and turns, which made this an interesting read to me.

Winter in Paradise (Elin Hilderbrand) — Elin Hilderbrand is one of my go-to authors, in that I’ve liked everything I’ve read of hers. I didn’t realize when I started this book it is apparently the first in a trilogy; otherwise I would’ve waited to read it until all books had been published because this book did end on a cliffhanger.

The Mother-in-Law (Sally Hepworth) — This was a slow burn for me, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I initially thought I would. I liked how the author revealed more back-story about each main character as the story went along; it made the characters more dimensional.

Flowers & Foul Play: A Magic Garden Mystery (Amanda Flower) — This is a cozy mystery set in Scotland, and is the first book in the Garden Mystery series. It was okay for pre-bedtime reading, but, oy!, this book could’ve used much better editing and the writing oftentimes felt formulaic and simple. Having said that, I’ll probably read the next book; if it, too, feels formulaic and simple then I’ll not continue the series.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

A Discovery of Witches (currently-airing S1) — Abandoned. I liked the storylines, but didn’t feel like there was the kind of chemistry between the two main characters that there should’ve been based on the direction the plot was headed. So I abandoned the tv series and instead have the first book in the series on hold at the library.

Dead to Me (S1) — I liked this a lot and will definitely watch S2. There is a lot of cursing, so this may be a “skip it” for you if you find cursing offensive.

Imposters (S1 & S2) — I enjoyed this series, although I found the 3 exes far more interesting than the main character. The end of S2 is set up to where a S3 could happen, but I don’t see a S3 on IMDB or on the actors’ filmography.

About Time (movie) — I love everything about this movie. The cast is top-notch. The relationship between the father and son is so beautiful, loving, and supportive; I wish there were more father-son depictions like this on the big and small screen. The relationships among all family members and friends were postive and uplifting. This is a movie I’ll enjoy watching multiple times.

 

FAVORITE PHOTOS THIS MONTH:

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March & April 2019 Wrap Up

NEEDLEWORK PROJECTS:

Dimensions “Love” Snow Globe — I love how this turned out!

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Stitching on the 14-ct plastic canvas was easy on my eyes, and since the plastic canvas was precut to the finished size it was easy to hold in my hand while stitching.

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I used the floss which came with the kit. The only change I made was to put the year on the snow globe’s tag rather than the word “Love”. For FFO’ing, I will probably cover the back with felt and add a corded hanger.

 

Dimensions Owl Felt Applique Kit — This was a quick-n-fun kit which I completed in an evening.

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Carrots! by Petal Pusher — I made this cute Anne-n-Gilbert hoop for a sweet friend and think it turned out super cute!

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It’s stitched on 10-ct “Daisy” Evenweave fabric, which has a wonderfully-soft handfeel and the holes of which were the easiest cross-stitching ever for my eyes. I have a package of this same cloth in “Burlap”.

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I made the floss-wrapped hoop using Lucky Star Stitcher’s tutorial; I found wrapping the hoop this way to be a nice change from my usual go-to method of ribbon-wrapping. I also put my Kreinik cord-maker to use for the first time and made a corded hanger, using Vonna the Twisted Stitcher’s youtube tutorial.

 

WIP: 2019 Calendar Panel by September House — I put the heat on in April so I could get this finished. I didn’t quite get there in April, but it’s my first FO/FFO for May and will be shared in my May wrap up post. Here’s where I was towards the end of April.

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This has been a relaxing project to work on, and I’m hoping Corinne will release calendar panels for 2020.

 

BOOKS READ:

A Court of Thorn & Roses [reread] -AND- [new read} A Court of Frost & Starlight (Sarah J. Maas) — I enjoyed my reread of the first three books, but the novella wasn’t as interesting to me. However, I’m not typically a fan of novellas; I’d far prefer a thick novel.

“C” is for Corpse -and- “D” is for Deadbeat (Sue Grafton)

On the Edge of Gone (Corinne Duyvis) — I liked it.

Bridgerton series (Julia Quinn) — These are good palate cleansers and fun reads.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

Reign — I finished out the series. Not a happy ending (obviously!), but I found it to be an entertaining series to watch. If you want your tv series to be historically accurate in all ways, this is not the series for you! But if you’re okay with a lot of liberty being taken, and you’re into costuming, this series makes for a fun watch.

Yellowstone (S1) — It took me a few episodes to get into this series, but I did end up enjoying it enough by the end of S1 that I’m looking forward to S2, which will begin airing in June.

Good Girls (S1 and currently-airing S2) — I like all three lead actresses in this series, as well as the dark humor.

The Rookie (S1) — This is a series my husband and I enjoy watching together. It’s good to see Nathan Fillion in a series again (well, in a series we enjoy!).

Teen Wolf (S1 thru S3) — I had watched the first 2-1/2 seasons back when they originally aired. After finishing Reign I was looking for another series I could listen to/watch while stitching and this fits the bill. I have a few other shows I’m watching before I come back to this series and start S4.

Killing Eve (currently-airing S2) — This is my and my husband’s current favorite show to watch together. Sandra Oh is, not surprisingly, fantastic, but this season we’re enjoying Jodie Comer’s performance even more…….her facial expressions are hilarious, her accents are wonderful, and we find her performance as a whole to be entertaining. And we enjoy the dark humor of the show, as well.

February 2019 Wrap Up

NEEDLEWORK PROJECTS:

Dimensions Felt Applique Kit “Friendly Llama” — This kit was so much fun and I think Miss Llama is cute as can be.

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She’s residing on the door of our book cabinet, where I can easily see her while watching tv/stitching/reading.

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WIP: 2019 Calendar Panel by September House — I’ve made some progress since last month, but I didn’t get the panel finished. It’s a busy time for me right now, at work and at home, and will continue to be through March, so I’ve been doing very little stitching…and when I do stitch, I’ve gravitated towards projects which lean more towards being no-brainers. Not that this is a hard project to stitch, but I’m being thoughtful about my stitch choices and I may opt to add beads or buttons, so it’s not really a “no-brainer” project.

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WIP: Dimensions Love Snow Globe Ornament Kit — I’m enjoying the heck out of stitching this. The 14-ct plastic canvas is super easy for my eyes and is comfortable to hold while stitching, and the way the kitmaker carded the floss is one of the best I’ve seen from a kit. I’ll probably look for more kits like this.

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NEEDLEWORK PURCHASES: Namaste Embroidery recently had a 3-for-the-price-of-2 sale on her mini kits, which include a pattern plus the design preprinted on fabric. I’ve had her animal patterns on my “one of these days” wishlist for a while, so pulled the trigger on purchasing the hedgehog, the giraffe, and the red panda during the sale. I’ve never done thread painting before and am excited about having a go at stitching these cute critters. Jessica’s YouTube channel includes a video tutorial showing how she stitched the hedgehog.

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RE-HOMED NEEDLEWORK/PATTERNS: One of my goals this year is to be realistic about which of the cross-stitch patterns I’ll probably stitch, and to re-home the patterns I don’t think I’ll stitch. I’m surprised by how much I like the plastic canvas in one of my current WIPs and have decided I will, going forward, use plastic canvas, perforated paper, and larger-holed cross-stitch fabric, all of which are easier on my eyes, and if I think a design will be done a disservice by being stitched on one of these options then I will re-home the design.

I decided to re-home Strawberry Fields Forever by Blackbird Designs. It’s a beautiful design, but it’s one that, to me, would lose some of its beauty on one of my fabric options. The pattern was a gift from a friend who had two copies of it, so I sent this pattern along to another of her friends who had expressed an interest in it.

I also re-homed the Mirabilia “Fairy Moon” UFO I’d won in Michelle BendyStitch’s fundraising auction last fall. The fabric was just too difficult for my vision, so I sent the UFO, pattern, and beads back to Michelle to re-auction in a future fundraiser.

 

BOOKS READ:

Look Alive Twenty-Five (Janet Evanovich) — The newest book in the Stephanie Plum series. Not my favorite of this series, but nevertheless there were laugh-outloud moments.

“A” is for Alibi (Sue Grafton) — The first book in the Kinsey Millhone series. I initially read the first several books in this series years and years ago, but it’s been plenty long enough that I didn’t remember any of the story. I’m getting a kick out of these stories being set back in the 1980’s…lots of neat flashbacks to my teens and early 20’s, and I very much like the absence of cellphones, computers, and the internet.

“B” is for Burglar (Sue Grafton) — see above

The Wondering Years (Knox McCoy) — The Popcast is one of my must-listen podcasts each week, and when this ebook came up for sale on Kindle I snatched it up. It was a delightful read. If I were an audiobook person, I think this is a book which would be best read in audiobook format.

My Oxford Year (Julia Whelan) — I enjoyed this but it did take a bit of a serious turn which wasn’t quite what I was looking for when I started reading the book, but it didn’t bother me enough to quit reading ;-). I think this story would translate well to the screen.

 

BOOKS PURCHASED: This year I’m choosing to purchase more books and use the library less. I’ll primarily purchase in e-format since physical storage is a bit trickier for me, and also because I prefer to read on my Kindle than hardback/paperback; however, there are certain types of books I prefer to read in hardback/softcover, and I’ll let go of other books to make room for them.

I used my Christmas-gift money to purchase in hardback/softcover a handful of needlework books and non-fiction books. Of course I immediately flipped through all the needlework books and I love them all!

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I’m also making use of the Kindle Daily Deals and Kindle eBook Credits to build up my unread ebook library. I only keep unread books and my current read on my Kindle, to help keep my Kindle manageable; once read, a book gets removed immediately. (Have I mentioned I don’t like clutter?!!)  These are my Kindle purchases for February. The Sarah Maas books are a series for which I’ve already read the first three books, but I’m now rereading those so I can then read the newest book in the series. I went ahead and bought the series since it’s one I enjoy rereading. I also opted to buy Michelle Obama’s book; I’d listened to the first third of it on audio during a trip in January, but I didn’t travel in February and won’t in March and I didn’t want to wait until April or May to finish the book, so I used my Kindle eBook Credits to purchase it on Kindle.

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OTHER PURCHASES OF INTEREST:

Elise Cripe is one of my favorite Instagrammers. I like how she approaches setting goals and trying new things, and I enjoy her 100 Days projects each year. She recently had a 40% off sale on her 100 Pep Talks book, so I purchased it, along with the perpetual calendar notepad (for personal use) and the project breakdown notepad (for work use). I have so many projects going on at work right now that I think the project breakdown notepad will be helpful in getting the mass of To-Do’s out of my head and onto paper so I won’t feel quite so like I’m barely treading water at work. I’ve tried various apps and online project management systems in the past, but when it comes down to it I’m just a pen-and-paper kind of gal and I need to be able to SEE what all is outstanding and needs to be worked on.

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TV SERIES & MOVIES:

A Quiet Place — This was SO. GOOD.!!! I’m not typically one for scary movies, but I’d heard such good things about this one, and Emily Blunt is one of my favorite actresses, so I bought this and made sure to watch it during the daytime :P.  I enjoyed having a movie capture my attention enough that I gave it 100% of my attention…no stitching, no dusting, no otherwise puttering around while the movie was on.

Reign — I’m still working my way through this series on Netflix. I’m continuously amazed by the costuming and would love to see the needlework and details up close.

 

FAVORITE PICTURES THIS MONTH:

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