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.

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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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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