July 2019 Wrap-Up

NEEDLEWORK PROJECTS: I completed 3 projects in July and posted about them HERE.

I’ll keep working on my Jolly July starts in the coming months, but I also have 3 other, more time-intensive, projects I plan to work on over the next few months: two charts I received for my birthday last year (Lizzie Kate’s “Dog Lessons for People” and Plum Street Samplers “Turkey Sausage”) and my 2020 calendar panel from September House.

For the Dog Lessons pattern, I’m looking at this Pawprints 14-ct Aida. Super cute, and yay for it being available in 14-ct!!

 

BOOKS READ:

What To Say Next (Julie Buxbaum) — As of July, this was my favorite book of the year (although what I’m currently reading has since landed in that #1 spot!). I loved the two main characters and how their story was written.

Force of Nature (Jane Harper) — I liked it.

Into the Wilderness (Sara Donati) — I love big, fat novels, and this fit the bill at approx. 700 pages. It had been recommended as “for fans of Outlander,” so I went in with Expectations. I did read the whole book, but it didn’t have quite the depth I was hoping for and I don’t know that I’ll continue on with the series (this is the first book in a 6-book series).

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES: Lots of stitching equates to lots of tv/movie/Flosstube viewing!!

Teen Wolf — I re-started this series earlier this year and it’d been one I’d bounce back to when I couldn’t find anything else that interested me. I found the first several seasons entertaining (I love the humor), but, whew!, I have stalled out mid-S5 because it is so very creepy and there’s not enough humor to offset the creepiness for me.

Lucifer — I watched episodes here and there with my husband when the series was originally airing, so decided to go back to the beginning and watch from S1 Ep1. This show has taken the place of Teen Wolf as being my fall-back show while stitching if there’s nothing else catching my interest.

The Night Manager — I loved this!! For some reason I originally thought it was set back in the 1950’s/1960’s, which is not my favorite point in time for watching/reading, so I put off watching it. When I did finally start watching it, I was hooked right away and found it very compelling viewing. It’ll be one I’ll re-watch, for sure. Also, Hiddleston could totally pull of being James Bond, IMHO.

Sneaky Pete (S3) — I’ve enjoyed all 3 seasons of this show. Fantastic cast!!

In the Dark (S1) — I stumbled across this on Netflix (it’s a CW show) and took an immediate liking to the flawed-and-imperfect main character. I was glad to find out this show’s been picked up for another season. (Side note: there’s plenty of cursing, so you may want to avoid this show if you find cursing offensive.)

Fosse/Verdon — I watched 3 or 4 of the 8 episodes via F/X on-demand one evening, then the next night I was going to watch the remaining episodes but the series was no longer available on-demand. What the heck?!! It wasn’t at the end of the month or at another time during the month when I would expect shows to be added or removed from on-demand streaming, so I’m not sure why it left or if it’ll be back. I do hope to watch the rest of the episodes at some point because I found the story very interesting.

Yellowstone (S2) — Oh boy, I am enjoying this season so much!! I like this season’s storyline moreso than S1, I’m loving the character depth that’s happening this season, and the addition of Neal McDonough was perfection. This is a series I’d like to buy because I’d enjoy re-watching it.

 

BLOG HOUSEKEEPING I had fallen quite behind on updating my “Books Read” & “Patterns Stitched” pages (here and here), so have brought those current.

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:::

June 2019 Wrap-Up

NEEDLEWORK PROJECTS:

I only stitched on one project in June, and it was an embroidered Blue Jay which I gave my dad for Father’s Day. I love love love how it turned out!!! And how lucky to have found a frame that looks like it was made specifically for this project!! (The frame was from Hobby Lobby.)

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The pattern is from Chloe Redfern and I found the instructions easy to follow. I did decide that I preferred more fill-stitching, as compared to how the model was stitched.

The reason I didn’t do any other stitching this month is because I spent a whole lot of time preparing for Jolly July — read my post about it HERE.

 

BOOKS READ:

Boy, I did not do good picking books in June. I ended up DNF’ing a disappointing number of them, resulting in only two books completed. But I really did enjoy the two I completed!

Kingdom of the Blind (Louise Penny) (Inspector Gamache series) — It was a delight to pick up this book and get hooked right into it and to be reunited with the characters. I’m a longtime fan of this series and of Ms. Penny’s writing, and I felt so much emotion as I read this particular book because I could hear/feel her love for her recently-departed husband in the character of Inspector Gamache. I’m so glad Ms. Penny found she did, indeed, have some more Gamache/Three Pines stories in her.

One Day in December (Josie Silver) — This ended up having more substance to it than I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I like that the author told the story over the span of a decade.

 

TV SERIES & MOVIES:

I’ve noticed my interest in currently-airing series tends to be much less than if I’m able to binge-view. As a result, Season 2 of both Big Little Lies and Yellowstone are not holding my attention as much as their Season 1 did. I won’t continue with Big Little Lies because I’m not enjoying it enough to fork over the $15 HBO add-on, but Yellowstone is one I can continue to watch through our Sling subscription so I’ll finish out S2, although I’ll probably wait until the season’s done and then I’ll binge-view it.

Crazy Rich Asians — It was a fun movie, but I did enjoy the book more.

Game of Thrones (final season) — I wasn’t sure I was going to watch the final season, as I’d (purposely) read spoilers. However, I decided to do the HBO 7-day trial and ended up binge-viewing the final season. There was the expected sadness, and I’m glad I knew beforehand what would be happening for each character.

The Hot Zone — I had wanted to read this book when it came out, but never got around to it. The tv series was interesting and it did make me want to get around to reading the book (whenever I find myself in the mood for non-fiction…I’m not holding my breath on when that might be, though!). The tv series did get a bit too graphic for me re: “blood-n-guts”, although it’s to be expected because of what the story is about. I just muted the sound and looked down at my needlework during those parts ;-).

 

FAVORITE PHOTO THIS MONTH:

I don’t snap photos as often as I used to, but this one of our dogs was my favorite June snapshot. Sweet sisters/littermates (who look nothing alike!):

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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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