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!!