Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Angel In Lilac - Week 33 1/2 - FINISHED!

I had several late nights, but I made it to the finish line and here she is in her entirety:
ail054

I actually finished her last night, but it was way too late to post it. I got home early enough tonight, but got called back in, so this is the first chance I've had to get her up. Considering she is 12 pages, I'm surprised at how small she really is, especially compared to Pea. She literally fits in two mattress layers of Pea easily. But anyhoo, onwards and upwards...Maleficent starts Friday!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Angel from Hades

My plan was to have Angel in Lilac finished before the New Year so that I can start on Maleficent and my rotation idea (which has morphed, but more on that later). I stitched non-stop all weekend long, living constantly in confetti hell, switching colors more often than I took breaths, and although I did make progress, I'm not sure I've made enough to get me to the finish line by the end of the week. I started last week here:

ail047

and ended here last night:
ail051

I know it doesn't look like there is much left, but trust me, working non-stop every non-working, waking hour between now and Friday still might not get me done. There is even more confetti to come in her wings and since they are so similar in tone, I'm more worried about them than the entire project (which is why I've saved them to last). Each one of the designs on her dress (I call them sea horses, not sure what they are), have about 40 colors each. Granted, it's why all the browns and yellows look gold, but dad-gum! Absolutely crazy! Give me a full project any day!

But, if by some miracle I do actually finish Angel before Thursday, that will mean I will have five finishes this year and that might be the most ever! The two HAED's, Angel (not pictured yet) and Pea:
pea183

A project for a friend:
DSC04383

A CloudsFactory project I did as a test for the A to Z Challenge to see how long the characters took to stitch up (which I still haven't framed):
SleepingBeauty

and the actual Challenge stitch itself:
az102

I WANT to start Maleficent on Friday. I've already got her kitted up, the material is on the scroll rods and I've even graphed out the first row. I've even taken most of the day off in anticipation of her start. It is eating me alive that I'm stuck in Angel-land. My eyes were constantly wandering longingly over to Maleficent all weekend. I may not be able to finish her and Alice and the B's, but one of them will probably be finished before the end of the year. And, if by some miracle I do manage to finish A Summer Ball and 35th Anniversary Celebration, well that will be three huge projects over and done with. Rainy Wedding should be a no-brainer finish, and Tartan B will get it's attention as well. Add to that a new Challenge stitch (if I decide to go that route), and I'm already on track to beat 2014's total.

Which brings me to the rotation idea o'mine. The idea of five projects on a Monday through Friday rotation sounded good at first, but the more I think about it, the more my Asper, one-tracked brain is rebelling. I think that is too much change in a week for me, so I've decided to modify the plan a bit. Maleficent will still be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's child and Rainy Wedding will still be Thursday's Needle Club project (providing we can get through all these Thursday holidays), but I think that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday might be better spent as dedicated to one project, although I will be rotating them from week to week. Next Mon-Wed will probably be spent working on A Summer Ball and then the next week I'll switch to Alice and the B's, etc. We'll see if that works out better. I may wait until I finish A Summer Ball to finish 35th Anniversary since I can't stand either one of them and working on two "hated" projects week to week might just lead me back down solo project road. A Summer Ball could easily be finished in a month or two if I could focus on it. If I find that it's not too terrible, I may just stick with it until it's finished and then start the beginning week rotation to plan. All things considered, I know for sure that I'd be much better off taking baby steps with the whole rotation issue, at least for January, and see how it goes, versus diving head first only to end up with more straggled projects lying around.

Then there is the whole Disneyland planning issue. I know how obsessive I get with Disney World planning, all things, projects, and life stops around me and I become a trip planning machine. How horrible will I end up being over a place that I have never been to before? So much to learn and to organize. Here's hoping that my stitching doesn't take the 6 month sabbatical that it did last year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

IHSW - December 2014


Well, the last International Hermit and Stitch Weekend has passed for 2014! This is the first year since I started doing the IHSW that I actually missed a couple of months. Hopefully next year I'll be able to stick to a regular schedule (unless I get sidetracked by Disneyland planning).

I worked on Angel and Tartan B this weekend, but I didn't get a ton done because I ended up having to do some work for one of my bosses on Saturday and I went to Hobby Lobby and got the thread for Maleficent. On Sunday I got Pea mounted and ready for framing and got my thread for Maleficent wound up. I'm still waiting on the paper to come in to print her off, but I'm not going to start her until Angel is finished (or I might not finish Angel at all). I did manage a bit of work on Angel throughout the week and ended here:
ail043

Starting with my progress Friday:
ail044

Saturday:
ail045

and Sunday:
ail046

Tartan B ended here:
TartanB-002

but I did manage to get a bit into the blue yesterday:
TartanB-003
I definitely prefer the new blue to the old and I'm still happy that I scrapped the old one on linen in favor of this one on Aida (although I can't bring myself to throw away the old start just yet).

Hopefully, with a slack holiday schedule and a day off, I'll be able to get a chunk done on Angel. For a Quick Stitch, it's filled with confetti and it's driving me mad in areas, especially the wings and necklace. At least she's a standard size and I won't need to get her framed. I might have a mat cut professionally for her since she is going up at work, but any old frame should do.

Friday, December 19, 2014

OMG!

It is a rare occurrence for me to buy HAED's in a non-sale time, but today is different. Despite my financial difficulties right now, some things must be gotten immediately, and this is one of them:
maleficent

I think it's a very safe assumption that Sleepy Hollow Mural now gets put back into stash, Alice and the Bouguereau's becomes my #2, and this beauty is my new top focus (as soon as the special paper I print them on comes in...had to order more of that too, oh, and I guess I'll have to get more thread, geez, cross stitching is an EXPENSIVE hobby!). But I figure by January 1, Maleficent will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's child!

Yesterday was also the first Needle Club for Rainy Wedding. It's weird working on Aida again and definitely weird working on 18ct and two threads, but here it is anyway:
rw001

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Princess And The Pea - FINISHED!!

I have done it! Excitement abounds! Now I just have to mount her so I can get her framed. Ugh, the worst part.

pea183

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge


I've been staying away from the Hodgepodge lately because frankly I can't stand all the festive happy holiday-related questions. I haven't been feeling particularly festive or happy lately, so I thought it best to keep quiet versus spewing tons of negativity. I did read quite a few people's posts however, or as much as I could before the "happy families" of it all got me too far down.

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?
I work in healthcare, I try really hard not to keep up with healthcare news in my off time so I have limited knowledge of the ebola people. I think the nurse and the reporter who broke quarantine should have been punished more harshly...it's one thing to prove a point, it's an entirely other thing when you put people's lives at risk, however minimal. Granted, they didn't get anyone else sick, but there were no guarantees they wouldn't have had they come across the "right" person. The reporter was just dumb and didn't know any better. The nurse, who has dedicated her life to helping others, should have lost her license. It was reckless and selfish, something you wouldn't expect from someone who volunteered to go to a third-world country to help those in need. If they had locked her up in Gitmo or something, I could see the need for protest. They didn't (but maybe they should have).

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home? Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today!
My favorite something "old" would be Zachary, which means "new" would be Bam. I don't like to borrow things (nor do I like to lend things out), so I don't have anything borrowed. I guess, right now, the blue thing would be me...everything else is pretty much purple.

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?
Overall, I'd say nay on the fudge. Upon occasion, I will eat Tiger Butter, but only rarely and I usually only get it in Eureka Springs. Since Tiger Butter has no nuts (and I don't really care for nuts anyway, except for almonds), I'll say nay to the nuts as well.

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks?
I was 10 and it was to Disney World. I love flying, it's airport security that I have the most issues with. Numerous sleepless nights, several panic attacks, and large quantities of Xanax are consumed to get through it.

I have been all over North Carolina, from one side to the other (I had family there), but it's been years since I've been and I've never been to Kitty Hawk.

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?
Apparently the medical profession...my mother and aunt are retired histotechs, I work in pathology as well, and my sister is an oncology nurse.

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?
The last square inch (literally) of my Pea cross stitch.

7. This Christmas I hope___________________________________.
It's over and done with quickly.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm really looking forward to starting new cross stitch projects...2015 will be the year of the stitch!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Busy stitch week and next year's aspirations

Despite having the second worst work week of the year (or because of it...I tend to stitch more when I'm stressed), I managed quite a chunk of stitching this past week. Pea is in the home stretches and she went from here:
pea172

to here:
pea178
Barring death or dismemberment (or incarceration for a homicidal rampage), I fully intend to finish her this week.

Angel got a bit of work despite a short Needle Club. She went from here (and a better full picture of her):
ail040

to here:
ail041
If I plan it right with her and take her home immediately after finishing Pea, she could possibly be finished by the end of the year also, or at least during New Years break.

I finally jumped the fence with Tartan B as well as restarted it on Aida. I tried 18ct first, but thought it was a bit too big (that's what happens after years of working on 28ct), so I ended up going to 22ct and I absolutely LOVE it! It's so much cleaner than it was before on the linen (although the material might be just as thin):
TartanB-002
I started it in a different area, so it doesn't quite look the same (yet). I also changed the blue color up a bit. I thought it was a bit too drabby to match the bright Christmas Red and Christmas Green colors, but I didn't go with my instinct to go with a brilliant royal blue. I tried to stay as true to my Tartan color as possible, just a bit more on the blue side and I think I found the right one. Time will tell. It's not even looking like a "B" yet anyway. I'm just happy I managed to appease my OCD monster...he was really rearing his ugly head on this one. I will definitely have to think twice about working on linen again.

I've been debating how I will start the new year. I know I will be starting Rainy Wedding at Needle Club for my co-worker:
Rainy Wedding
It's pretty small and shouldn't take too long, but considering Needle Club is only three hours once a week, it still might take the year.

I know that Alice and the Bouguereau's will be my next big HAED:
Alice And The Bouguereau Princesses_1
And it will probably be my big focus piece.

I've been thinking about rotating a bit though and adding a couple of extra pieces. Maybe scheduling one project each day of the week, Monday through Friday with the weekend being spent on whichever of the five I choose (which will probably be Alice). That way, nothing gets left by the wayside, getting at least one day a week's worth of attention, and maybe A Summer Ball (which got left off here):
asb045
and 35th Anniversary Celebration (which got left off here):
disney020
will finally get finished (and considering Disney World is not far off from it's 45th, that might be a good thing)! Both of these projects I really hate...Summer Ball because of the fractional stitches and 35th because of the dark fabric. Lessons learned on both projects I guess. But both will look great when finished.

I can use the fifth day to start Sleepy Hollow Mural:
Sleepy Hollow Mural
It's been kitted out for over a year now anyway. Once Summer Ball and 35th get done, I will keep at least one store-bought kit in rotation.

Needle Club has brought anticipation to Angel In Lilac and I'm hoping that rotating projects at home might create the same enthusiasm. Besides, I stitch a heck of a lot more than 3 hours at home (because I have no life), so they should see more growth than the Needle Club projects do, even if they don't make it into weekend rotation.

If I manage to stay on track, 2015 should see the finish of Tartan B, A Summer Ball, 35th Anniversary Celebration and Rainy Wedding and those will be replaced with my redo of Kitchen Fun (as my kit choice):
Kitchen Fun

Snow White for Needle Club:
4792d23308ec8129693110bf4b83c82a.image.480x600

Night Wish:
Night Wish (1)

And I say now that Belle of Bonaventure will be my next Jasmine HAED:
belle of bonaventure
but my mood is always subject to change, so none of these may make the 2015 cut!

Kitchen Fun was a project I did many many years ago when I was married, but due to a faulty nail, the frame the original was in fell and broke and tore the old one. I had all the other mice kits tucked away in my stash, future projects that were meant to be finished as a set and all hung together anyway, so why not get started on them? If I remember correctly, they were pretty quick to stitch up and even pretty fun (for a kit). Tea Time as been sitting in a box for far too long now:
DSC02554
Right when I finished Tea Time is when Kitchen Fun broke. Fate was definitely involved, but I'm not sure if it was because she just wanted the frames to match (which can really only happen if they are bought at the same time) or if she was ushering out a project from a bad part of my life with one from a good part. Considering I have three or four of those in my stash, I hope it's not the later because the stages of my life are as varied as the projects themselves and I might end up spending the rest of my days stitching and restitching these puppies!

As of now, I'm also gonna say that I'm going to rotate my projects through IHSW as well, giving each ample stitch time and I say that I'm going to start taking one day off a month (instead of cashing in my vacation), kind of my own little IHSW, so we'll see how that goes. It's hard for me to take any days off, salaried or not, because I'm the only person who does I.T. for my company, so I don't have backup to cover everything. It's just easier to cash in vacation instead of taking it off, but my mood (and my poor battered head) hasn't been the best lately and that's entirely down to stress, so it's time to make some changes. Considering I'll probably never win the lottery so I can stay home 24/7 and stitch, I guess I'll settle with one day a month (or maybe a half a day twice a month, we'll see).

So there it is, 2015's goals and projects! I'm feeling a bit hopeful and contemplative with the upcoming finish of Pea, but I might feel sullen and downtrodden once she's done an all of my thoughts might do a complete 180. You never know with an Asper!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Rough week

Well, I'd like to show a ton of stitch work, but there just isn't that much to show. I.T. isn't always a 9 to 5 job and this week was one of those prime examples of the crappy hours I'm sometimes required to keep (at salary, no less). Needless to say, I did manage a chunk of work on Tartan B simply because I could do it during those late work nights while systems were doing their thing and I couldn't do anything but watch them.
B-04

B-05
I've also reached that critical point with this one...do I continue on or do I restart it? I've got the plan to turn this into a pillow eventually and I just don't think that this thin material will work well in pillow capacity. I could finish this one and do something else with it and do another one for a pillow, but if I had a dime for every single time I said I'd "redo" a project for one reason or another and never did, well I wouldn't be in debt.

Pea suffered though and I only managed two days worth of work on her, Friday:
pea170

And Sunday:
pea171

Saturday was out because it was our office Christmas party. A fortune spent on a dress that I was melted and poured into, but it was one that I couldn't have worn before, so why not? And an entire day of primping just for three hours of socializing with people I see every single day, but hey, that's what god made alcohol for (although it still wasn't enough to get me up to sing karaoke...although I may have sung along rather loudly once or twice). In the end, I can honestly say I had a good time and that's all that's important. It's the only time of year that I do get out, so I might as well enjoy myself, right? Well, enjoy myself I did!

Hopefully this will be a better stitch week. I need one or two if I'm going to finish Pea before the end of the year and one or two is just about all I have left!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stitching variations

I didn't touch Pea this week for various reasons...was going to Monday night, but an old friend came into town and we hung out for the night. Tuesday brought a horrible Wal-Mart shopping experience (you'd think Christmas shopping had already begun) and I was worn out afterwards. I brought Angel home to do over Thanksgiving and wound up not being able to put her down for the rest of the week. Here's her progression (and forgive the dark pictures...since I started taking pictures on my iPhone, I wanted to continue the process, but apparently iPhones and trailer lighting doesn't mix very well).

First night's finish:
ail036

To row finish:
ail037

Through tonight:
ail039
For a Quick Stitch, this has been a very surprising project. It is small, but it's got more confetti than any HAED I have done to date.

Since the very last row is less than two block rows, I decided not to do the final row separate and just finishing the piece in its entirety.

I also managed a bit more work on Tartan B:
B-03

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving, it's also National Game and Puzzle Week...what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week?
I definitely do NOT like playing games with others...I'm way too competitive and I do NOT like to lose (I'm the kid who used to memorize all the Trivial Pursuit cards). But I play Sudoku a lot and have done so in the past week. I'm also extremely addicted to games on my phone (mostly Disney ones) and that occurs on a daily basis.

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?
This might be the most surprising answer I have ever given...one that NO ONE could EVER guess...Disney World!

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores...which ONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving day? For those of you playing along who aren't in the US, answer as it relates to any big holiday meal.
None...I fully plan to spend the day cross stitching at home alone avoiding family, not eating Thanksgiving food, and not even scanning past a football channel at all costs. Matter of fact, knowing that football will probably be on every channel is less motivation for me to kick my Veronica Mars habit.

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite home cooked meal?
Considering I hate Thanksgiving food, I have to say steaks or ribs (only because they have a grill and I don't), but my mother does make a mean veggie beef soup (although I always have to add extra tomatoes and corn).

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?
I try extraordinarily hard to not watch infomercials in any capacity (or commercials in general for that matter)...it's why God invented DVRs. Before their invention, I would leave the room or just turn the channel during commercials and isn't infomercials just a very long commercial? And don't even get me started on shopping channels. My Sister was always the one glued to the tele when a commercial would come on, definitely NOT me. But it's peaked my curiosity as to whether or not she watches them, so I'll have to ask her.

6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?
Christmas shopping ended for me two years ago, but I always did 99.9% of it online. There is no way in Hades you could even pay me to go anywhere near particular stores starting this week all the way through the first of the year...people are insane lunatics and I want no part of it all!! When my mother worked full-time, she had a Christmas Club put aside for me to afford to buy Christmas presents for people. Now that she is retired, the money is no longer there for me, so that's my excuse...I can't afford it. Besides, most all my family have money, and I could never measure up to their gift giving anyway.

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life?
That's a tough one...I don't live in a nice home, I'm not particularly attractive, I don't work with nice people, I'm not surrounded by the love of my family, so I'm gonna have to be superficial and say my VIB Rouge Card from Sephora...nothing says beauty like a Naked pallet from Urban Decay and pretty much anything Kat Von D!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Sorry, this one was a bit on the bitchy side. This time of year makes me extremely grumpy, but not for the reasons it does most singletons...most people are lonely this time of year, I can't get left alone enough! It makes me grumpy because I'm expected to participate and I'm constantly either ridiculed or pitied because I won't. Even as a child, when Christmas was supposed to be this magical event, it was always a stressful, horrible time for me and I'm extremely grateful that I'm at an age now where I can choose to opt out. My grumpiness comes from everyone else's inability to accept this. I've had numerous comments directed towards me about Thanksgiving this week already and it will be worse by Christmastime.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Busy stitching week

Closer and closer she comes to being finished! I was very nearly done with the row at the beginning of the week:
pea163

and by early-mid week I had it done:
pea164
She looks so small while I'm stitching her, but all rolled out, she's huge! It's gonna cost me a fortune to get her framed!
pea165

But I did manage to get quite a bit into the final row:
pea167
This row will be much easier because the confetti is at a bare minimum. As a matter of fact, I'm almost done with most all of it now and it's pretty much smooth sailing from here!

I added an extra hour to Needle Club last week, but it didn't help much...Angel only went from here:
ail034

to here:
ail035
We won't have Needle Club this week due to the holiday...maybe I'll take her home and work on her Thanksgiving day. At least get further along if not done with this section so I can move on.

But to make myself feel better with my lack of Needle Club progress, I threw in a bit of work on Tartan B which went from here:
B-01

to here:
B-02
I'm still on the fence about the fabric, but it's such an easy pattern, I could always do it again if I don't like the result.

At least this week grants me an entire extra day of stitching! We don't do Thanksgiving in my family anymore (and I'm thankful for that), so I get to enjoy the day. I never liked Thanksgiving food and the stress of dealing with family has gotten too much for me to deal with in my old age. If it were just me and my sister, that would be one thing, but it's not. It's just better for me to stay away. That's the good thing about being an adult with Asperger's...there are no parents or counselors or teachers forcing you to do things you don't want to do because it's "good for you". I never understood that whole "good for you" mentality anyway. If something makes you miserably uncomfortable and causes lasting stress, then why be forced to do it? Why is the appearance of normality such a treasured goal? People always say that if you force yourself to step outside your comfort zone, it will get easier, but pretty much any Aspie will tell you that's utter and complete bull! The more I'm forced outside my comfort zone, the more I crawl inside myself and the worse I get. And the older I get, the more I realize it's SO not worth it! People at work keep asking about my Thanksgiving plans (you'd think they would know me by now) and give me that "poor Keiley" look when I try to explain. I'd be much worse off being forced into Thanksgiving versus doing it my way. Not everyone has the "perfect family" or likes to pretend they do. It is what it is and I am what I am (gee, I sound a bit like Popeye...must be all the spinach I eat!).

But I am hoping by Thanksgiving I'll be able to kick my Veronica Mars habit...I tried this past weekend after the fourth viewing of all three seasons (and probably the tenth viewing of the movie), but by last night, I was back in the trenches. I've got a couple of British DVD's on the way, so maybe they will redirect my attention for a while (at least long enough for me to get control), that is if they manage to come in this week. Ahh, the joys of OCD...if it's not one thing, it's another. At least it's diverting my Post-Disney Depression into a different outlet than the usual financially deprecating state I usually end up in. Some people eat when they are depressed...I spend, and spend lots, usually on Disney merchandise, but well past my means. If watching a TV show over and over and over again means I can save my wallet from being brutalized, then so be it! Besides, it provides a good background for stitching.