Saturday, January 6, 2018

2018 WIPocalypse, let's start the year off right!

Q:  Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

My name is Carla!

For 2018 I have decided on a small-ish rotation. In 2017 I started doing something that seems to be working for me....finishing my WIPs one at a time. That is working for me. I can work on other things, but there has to be the main focus piece WIP that gets done.

In a previous blog post I had stated that I was adjusting my progress bars, and finally came up with my rotation so we all aren't getting bored seeing the same dang things sitting there, never aging like Dorian Grey.

For the beginning of the year I'm working on the following in a rotation:

Spring (New year start which is the main focus piece)
Fire and Ember SAL (my first full coverage piece)
Unseen Things (has sat stagnant for entirely too long)
Tapestry (a new start on December 15, 2017)
Cead Mile Failte (been sitting around almost as long at Unseen Things)
Stitching Pirates Ship (My Slow Stitch Sunday piece that hasn't been touched in over a year)

My main goal is to finish all the WIPs I have in my WIP bag. As I finish one, I will put another into the rotation. I have several new starts I want to do this year but feel that it wouldn't be right to do any of them without finishing some of the oldie but goodies. Cleaning out my WIP bag is something I need to do!

I can safely say that as this first week of the year has gone by, I have only successfully stitched on one thing and that is SPRING....and then I had to rip out half of what I stitched!  It makes me laugh, so all is not lost.

This is exciting for me as I really do LOVE each one of these projects!  I'm looking forward to figuring out how this rotation will work and if I really can do six projects on a rotation.  I've tried a rotation before and failed.  I wasn't centered and didn't have as much quiet time as I do now.  My new goal for 2018 is to empty my WIP bag!!

Until next time.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Everything Happened So Fast

No matter how organized I think I am, something gets overlooked or undone.  That would be my year end WIPocalypse post.  Like my WIPs, I too am a work in progress and therefore I forgive myself for the oversight.

Here are my completed projects for 2017!

I didn't include my Fire and Ember SAL as that is going to be part of the January 7th post for the 2018 WIPs.

Until next time.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Missing My Blog

Since I started doing Floss Tube in January I have let my blog languish.  After fumbling around for most of the year trying to learn how to speak clearly about concepts I can write pretty eloquently about, it renewed my NEED to write.

I have updated my 301 Reading List, and have been doing so here and there all year.  This evening I updated My Stash list and My WIPs so everything is current.  One thing that irritates me is that I haven't changed any of my progress bars project names in a very long time.

I am working through my WIPs, getting them done one by one.  By the end of the year more of those progress bars should be fuller or filled or gone entirely. One has disappeared!

Photo courtesy of The Mucha Foundation
Starting January 1st I'm going to start stitching "Spring" which is a Mucha painting from his 1896 Seasons.  Ashley Mae of Make It Pink has been granted permission from the Mucha Foundation to create the patterns and sell them for a time at her Etsy shop.  I'm hoping others will join me in this endeavor!  I'd love a SAL! Soon, "Summer" will be released and so on, but how beautiful is it to have Mucha at your fingertips that is not only a well made pattern but originally created from one of the most interesting artists of all time?

She is beautiful and I cannot wait to begin!  As I have said, I really need to quit messing around and get some of those old WIPs finished and out of the way. 

Hopefully you all aren't taking it as if I'm complaining about those WIPs and asking "Why don't you just put them away and do whatever?"  My answer is this:  I would like to see them finished!  I love them all.  Very rarely do I not like a project, and if I remember correctly there was only one that was pure torture to stitch. Looking at it now all I can say is that it is lovelier as time passes and I'm pretty glad I finished it.  So, let's get some stitching done!

Currently I'm working on prizes for the Stitching Pirates Words of Wisdom Contest.  My friend Leah had made some lovely little bags for me last year when I was downsizing my fabric so I've been making biscornu for each of the bags.  Since these are prizes, I'm thinking about  what all needs to be in a travel bag.  Biscornu, needle book, scissor cover and scissors.  Sounds about right, am I right?

Recently I completed five Halloween patterns.  I have never done more than three and have always felt that having one  per year was good enough.  Because Leonore and I created an FB group Carla and Leo's Halloween Stitch Along we had many more people join us.  This has been an annual SAL on DeviantArt for a couple of years, but since making the group on FB we have expanded.  This year Leonore chose Satsuma Street patterns and HOW FUN!

Happy Halloween was my first project for the SAL and all of the lettering was done in Kreinik's Blinding Black #4 braid.  It's beautiful.  The fabric is Fabric's by Stephanie.

Then, before I could finish that one I ran out of the Kreinik, ordered more and while I waited I started and finished Sorry We're Dead.  28ct Lugana that I hand dyed myself from a piece of fabric I had in my stash.

Once that Kreinik came in, I finished the two H's and that was done and on to Halloween Cat.  This was the pattern almost everyone else who joined us chose to do.  I have to say that Halloween Cat is such a fabulous pattern that no matter what kind of fabric you choose, the pattern looks great on ANYTHING!

While all of this is going on, Magical was busy creating a fun pattern for our Neglected Floss Stitch Along on DeviantArt.  We have a model stitcher now who creates the most fun from all the patterns, but I squeezed in a few days to stitch the October pattern as well.  

A little haunted house that was so fun to stitch up.  I used flosses from Colour and Cotton and those flosses were a delight to stitch with!  If you don't believe me, order a skein and give it a try.  Smooth sailing and I don't remember if there was any knotting or twisting.  I'm thinking there wasn't.  Delightful to stitch with! Also a fun pattern to give them a try.  I mean, I'm doing the five flosses per month club so trying the floss had to happen sometime.

Finally, and in keeping with my evil plan, I grabbed up Wacky Witches in Stitches by Cloudsfactory that was part of the 2016 Carla and Leo's Halloween SAL and FINISHED that one with a few days to spare before Halloween.

I did change a few things.  Hair on a few witches, changed the called for DMC to as many WDW flosses as possible which means 6 skeins of WDW Kohl!  The two owls were changed to a Raven and a black Cat.  This piece was a monster to stitch as it should's Halloween after all!  I went in to full berserker stitching mode for a week and a half since I was stitching after work every day.  

FIVE.  DONE.  Quite a feat for me who doesn't usually finish anything on time or by any self made deadline.  The downside to all of this is that I was OVER Halloween.  That has never happened before.  Exhausted.  I have surprised myself by completing all of these in a short amount of time.

Now that my work contract is finished, Halloween is finished, I've caught up on things, I'm tired.  Been sleeping quite a bit, but the healing has to happen in order to get back in to my personal schedule of get up, coffee or tea, check emails, chores, stitching and so on.  Yesterday and today I have spent more time sleeping than anything else.

What's next?  Those prizes I told you about which are too cute! I had said on my last floss tube that I was going to use patterns from the Floss Box Biscornu pattern pack 1, but when I sat down to figure out which patterns to use I almost threw the patterns across the room in disgust.  I was tired and hated everything, ha, ha.  So I spoke to Magical and asked (it was more like a bit of whining, and complaining and begging) if she could create special, just for this patterns.  She graciously, and patiently, took time out of her busy schedule and created patterns that MATCH the fabrics of each bag!  I was just sluggishly having that thought when up pops the first pattern!  I squealed with glee and even giggled....ADORABLE!  The first pattern she created from two pictures on the first bag and I could not be happier.  Tell me that's not ADORABLE??  You may know her as Galdra Stafir on Facebook and she has started a group called Weavers Tapestry Band Samplers SAL.  The woman is busy, and yet took time out for me.  Crabby, I hate Everything, me.  Let's not forget she is doing a Friday Freebie on her blog, she does the monthly patterns for NFSAL on dA and during all of this...SHE STITCHES like a mad woman.  

I may be babbling at this point but I feel I have to point out that my THREE, the top THREE designers for me are Magical, Ashley Mae and Jody.  Any time, day or night, these besties are there for me.  I love EVERYTHING they create.   Next year these three will dominate my stitching.....prepare yourselves for that onslaught!  These three designers are so completely different from each other in personality and style it makes me laugh.  I love them so very much.

My floss tube videos have been quietly successful.  A small following.  Turns out my Grandma watches me....MY GRANDMA.  She's 94.  I don't think the You Tube analytics have a section for that age range ha, ha!  She's in a special group all her own.  I am loving the interaction with floss tube watchers and other stitchers there and love to find out that the person I'm watching is someone I've been blogging along side and follow here.  It's nice to put a face to the wonderful writing.  It is all just happy stuff to watch.  If you haven't given Floss Tube a peek, try mine or just go to You Tube and type in Floss Tube.  It's a magical world that is so enjoyable and better than anything on TV.

Now it's time for me to say goodnight, still pretty wrung out and need that rest!  I hope everyone who stops by here is happy and healthy and stitching!

Until next time.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Brief Conversations With My Adult Daughter That Happened

It is always a good time when my daughter walks in and begins speaking or vice versa.  I never know what will come out of her mouth and one would think that having raised her myself I would be less shocked or surprised with our conversations.....but then I suppose I surprise her just as much.


Me:  Daughter, there is....can you...oh gawd, will you clean your room???

Daughter:  I can't.  It's called Xibalba and it grows.

Me:  Can you kill it please?

Daughter:  No mommy, the underworld will never die.


Daughter:  Marm, why is the deadbolt always locked when I come home from work?

Me:  Because people walk through the house and steal the laundry soap.


Daughter:  Why is there burnt bread in the sink?

Me:  I have no idea, I wasn't here


Me:  Did you know.....?

Daughter:  How long is this history lecture going to take? I have things to do online.

(My brother James was on two episodes of the Nat Geo show Port Protection)

Daughter:  Why is Uncle Jimmy the only person on this show that knows what a Spruce tree is?

Me:  His name is now Joms...listen...Curly is about to call down to him....


Me:  IF I ever become a grandmother I need to have a cool name the kidlets can call me...

Daughter:  Old is good, or old and fat....

Me:  I was thinking more like Yaya like the Greeks do, I don't like grandma...everyone is grandma....

Daughter:  No, old and fat or fatty mac fat


Daughter:  From now on I am paying the rent!!

Me:  Okay

Daughter:  No, I mean I'm paying the rent but you have to give me money.

Me:  Will two bucks be okay because I really want to go to that con in Portland in two months...


Daughter:  If I buy this food, you can pay me back for half.

Me:  Do I pick any of the food?

Daughter:  No, just pay for half. You put those chips in the cart.

Me:  Alright, well what's half of the internet bill?

Daughter: NEVERMIND.

Me:  Oh and how about $25 for the phone?  Wait, this is per month, so I'll pay half for the food and you pay half for the internet and $25 for your phone and then............

Daughter:  I'm not listening anymore.


Me:  I found this hundred dollar you want it?

Daughter:  Oh yes!

(the next day via text)

Me:  Baby bird will you bring home TP?  I'm making Colcannon.

Daughter: Yes.

Me:  Can you bring home Tofurky, Naan, sour cream, mac and cheese?

Daughter:  I will bring home mac and cheese piggo but that's all.

Me:  ?


Daughter:  I need to get a new office chair because mine is slowly falling apart.

Me:  Okay but we will have to dismantle it all the way before we put it in the dumpster.

Daughter: Yeah, I'll break it with my ASS.

Me:  Your fries smell delicious, may I have one?

Daughter: Pretty Princess does not share.

Every day spent with my beautiful daughter is a blessing to me.  She is such a beautiful and intelligent and creative person that I really cannot get enough of!

Until next time.....Keep On Stitchin'!

Friday, May 12, 2017

An Interview

My precious stitchers!

Next week I will be in Arizona with my good friend Ashley Mae, aka Pinky the Pink.  She does the most wonderful beadwork miniature dresses and art to pattern cross stitch patterns and I will be sitting down with her for an interview.

If you have questions about Ashley, or how she started her bead work or cross stitch or seamstress work, PLEASE post a comment below!

Here are some links to her wonderful and amazing works and Etsy store to give you a great idea of what this woman has accomplished and a peek in to future endeavors.

She is AMAZING!  I will be interviewing her in person and posting the video on my floss tube channel.  If you'd like to watch floss tube #14 and respond there here is the link for that:

Until next time.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April TUSAL and Things

Because I've been doing whatever I have been doing and then trying out the floss tube, blogging has taken a back seat.  Writing in general has taken a back seat.  I'm barely able to write an email these days!

Since I was here today reading some blogs and looking at the pretty things, I figured I might as well post a shot of my ORT jar.  I normally empty it when I do a TUSAL post and it's been a really long time!

I don't know if I can remember everything, but I believe there are threads from Fire and Ember SAL, three biscornu, one biscornu in progress, Satsuma Bunny, some Neglected Floss SAL patterns, and honestly I cannot remember what else.  It's been awhile since I emptied!

Now that this is emptied in to the larger jar and all of that tamped down, I have a shiny and empty jar to start filling again.  I don't know about you, but when I empty the jar I feel very accomplished.  It wouldn't need to be emptied if I wasn't doing things I loved to do.

So, after taking this picture of my ORT jar, I thought, "gosh, why not add a few yummy shots of recent finishes and almost finishes?"

Satsuma Street Bunny was supposed to be finished in time for the Easter Blog Hop, but that didn't happen which was really okay since I had that wonderful basket.  I don't normally do Easter decorations around my home but this year there was a serious NEED to do it.  Why not?  Bright colors and fun handmade items to show off are always a good decision.

The stitching is done here, and I have a lovely plan on how to FFO, but that part will have to wait as it isn't a gift for anyone or a commission.

If you follow my blog, you will know I used to make Chickie Bags and sell them on Etsy.  The particular way that I make them now hurts my hands to make, but I still have commissions to finish and give to the good people who ordered them.

I sucked it up, and finished the first one I'm calling M's Big Mama Chickie Bag.

My friend Cyndy and I went to Joann's and together found fabric for this bag and the remaining two.

I really love how this one has turned out.  Cyndy had purchased the pretty button, and as you can see we went though some of my finished motif's and I attached those on as well.

Day before yesterday I finally cut the fabric and made the lining inside with some floppy pockets. I have the lining ready to be hand sewn which is the last bit before it's ready to be given to the intended recipient...Cyndy's daughter in law.

Here's what I'm excited about most:  When I move to Colorado and I am no longer in this water logged yet totally beautiful place and my bones dry out, will I be able to crochet the Chickie Bags again?  I'm excited to find out.

For now, I'm trying to get commissions done, promised gifts and pack up my belongings for my big move in August....if  you haven't heard I'm bound for Colorado.

I really should blog about that entire idea and plan and the actions taken since it began, but for now please enjoy the pretty things!

Until next time.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'!

Friday, April 14, 2017


Hello beautiful stitchers!  

Behold my busy little Easter display in it's glory!  Half of the fun things in the basket were handmade, some by myself and the rest by others.  

We have the bunny biscornu which was a beautiful freebie pattern from the amazing Joan Elliott. Thank you Joan!  The second biscornu is a beautiful pattern created by the lovely Magical.  Thank you Magical!  The fun chicken (aka Lavender Hen) was made by a local woman and I bought this from her at the recent craft fair at the Mendenhall Mall.  It is a lavender sachet and if you give it a gentle squish you smell nice!  Thank you ladies at the mall! Finally, the Wagon Trail Doll.  There was no tag and the woman who was selling the two that were there didn't know who made them, but talk about flash back!  Love that doll!  My friend Cyndy bought them both so we each have one.  Thank you Cyndy!  Love my basket.

For you fun loving blog hoppers here is your letter, handcrafted by yours truly:

Your next stop will be to head on over to time2xstitch!  I love the Easter blog hop so much!

Keep on hoppin'!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

WIPocalypse...Mostly RIPPING

Question for this month is: What SAL's are you participating in this year?

I'm so glad you asked!  

The Fire and Ember SAL is a DRAGON so naturally it had to be done!  I started this in July 2016 and we are supposed to do one page per month.  I finished August and then the rest of 2016 happened and this is as far as this went until recently.  While working on the September page, I finished all of one color only to find out that at the top of the page I made a mistake that was just enough to have to rip out all of that stitching up to a point.

As you can see, this is quite a bit of removal of perfectly beautiful stitching and where the needle is pointing is where I will be stopping and starting much still to remove...thank goodness I caught it in time (*sarcasm*).

The second SAL is Carla and Leo's Halloween Stitch Along.  For those of you who read my blog or are a Stitching Pirate on dA, you already know that for the past couple years, Leonore (aka Fusainne) and I have put on a Halloween SAL.  Leo picks the pattern and off we go!  This year we are doing it again and even created a Facebook page for everyone to join us.  

The patterns that Leonore has chosen this year are from Satsuma Street!  The pictures I'm showing here are courtesy of the Satsuma Street Etsy Shop and are the patterns for this year's SAL.  You can pick one or two or all three to's  up to you!  The owner, Jody Rice, is also a member of the group so I'm sure if you have questions for her you can post them on the Halloween SAL group page or just get on over to the Satsuma Street FB group page and shout out there.


We don't start stitching until August 15th so you have plenty of time to pick your pattern, get your fabric selected and figure out flosses!  Also, it is not too late to join the Fire and Ember SAL, we are only six pages in and still have plenty to go!

That's my WIPocalypse for this month!

Until next time.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Floss Tube and Finishes

Not only do I love to watch Floss Tube, read blogs, be a working part of Stitching Pirates....I now have my own Floss Tube videos!  It's so incredibly fun.  

I think the most fun is trying to find the best way to take video of my floss tube (I'm lying so hard right now)....trial and error and now I think I have found the way (telling the truth now).  The second video has audio problems...I said trial and error folks!

I have been a busy, busy stitcher since the new year, so here goes:

First biscornu of the year for the first place prize box of goodies on the Finish the WIP 2017 Contest over at Stitching Pirates.  I tried to match the colors on the biscornu to the box so it matched.  Just a box of goodies that any stitcher could easily fit in a suitcase or backpack for traveling.  I'm betting you could fit a small travel project in there.  

I'm guessing that is a $60 prize right there and that doesn't even count the adorable biscornu I made.  I don't know about you but I love making prizes.

I've been working really hard to get my promised 8 squares for Rainbows for Peace and Comfort group finished so they can be washed, ironed and sent to Timothy and turned in to quilts.  Rainbow Butterfly was created by Climbing Goat Designs.

Love was created by Miss Red and I am so grateful she has designed several patterns and donated them to our group for this lovely concept.  She is the one who created Peace which were the two doves I had done previously with the names of two of the fallen.

The most recent finish is Love Has No Limits by Lily Lyon.  I think this one was done specifically for the group but if I find out differently I will update that information.  I absolutely LOVE this pattern.  The heart was supposed to be all red, but I made it rainbow because you cannot have too many rainbows....or glitter...rainbows and glitter...seriously NEVER ENOUGH.

A small little finish for the January NFSAL that Magical created I will make a lovely card out of for someone special.  It's lovely blues and I really like how it came out.

I also finished the first section of the Beyond The Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman which was cirlces.  I'm going to start the second section on February 1st.  

Aren't they soooooo pretty??!!  One per day.  I also have the other two books that came after this book by Edie Eckman and I will be doing those as well.  They are so fun and satisfying.  Still haven't figured out what to do with them once I've done them all.  I'm at 28 right now.  By the time I do them all I should have a little over 200. 

There you have it my sweet, sweet readers!  If you have a floss tube PLEASE share the link down below so I can watch and stitch.  I really am getting quite a bit done watching your videos.

Until next time.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 WIPocalypse

2017!  I can  hardly believe it.  I'm overjoyed by the newness!  It's just so wonderful.  

The first question of the year is:  Introduce yourself, your projects and any goals you have for the year.

Introducing myself:  I'm recently "retired", mother of three grown children, and ready for the next adventurous road life has to offer.

I went to my 2016 Finish it Up tab and copied this...STILL goals I'd like to achieve.

WIPS TO WORK ON:                                                      

12 Days of Christmas
Cead Mile Failte

Celtic Goddess
English Cottage Sampler
Flowers of the Month Bookmarks

Satsuma Street Citrus Biscornu
Stitching Pirates
Unseen Things

Motif a Day!


Pat's Quilt
Snowmen wall hanging
Derpy dice Bag
Rag Basket
Flowers For Nancy

You might have noticed that Celtic Goddess is back on the list...why?  Because the designer of this pattern contacted me hoping I still had her pattern!  Her home had been invaded, computers were stolen, her business suffered greatly, sites had to be shut down, pass words changed....and it has taken her five or six years to recover.  So back on the list the Goddess goes and because I hoard emails like hers, I was able to return her pattern.  

That list up seems that at the rate I'm going, I'll get done with it all when I get done with it all and not a moment sooner.  I've been frustrating myself for YEARS by putting up unreasonable deadlines or even thinking I could finish by a deadline.  So no more of that.

There is no guarantee that whatever I might have planned to happen this year will happen, so I'm going with the flow to see where it takes me.

Until next time.....Keep on Stitchin'!

Monday, December 19, 2016

This New Adventure I'm on...

Not sure how clear I have been on how very unemployed I am, but today is when I share with you that I am unemployed.  Four years shy of what could be the first in five different ages for acceptable retirement.  That means this isn't retirement.  I feel very retired. Sometimes just tired.  According to my retirement 401A (you know what that A stands for...because it's butts that's what), I shouldn't retire until I'm 65...the year 2035!  2035 is when the sun stops spinning so I think I will not wait that long.

Today I woke up on the couch at 7:30 am because my daughter likes to slam, stomp and bang around while preparing to leave for work.  She has this Ninja smoothie thing that is not quiet either. Then she leaves and doesn't make sure the front door is closed, so when anyone comes in to or leaves the secure building we live in, the door slowly opens a little more every time.  I just stayed on the couch.

Around 8:30 am the bladder insisted I find a way to get to the bathroom.  There is the roll and low crawl.  The butt scooch.  Roly Poly...sad fact on this one is I would get stuck trying to roll down the hallway unless I rolled like a ball and then decided rolling was no longer a viable idea.  In the end I just got up and walked.  I am a bipedal after all so why not?

After that I made some really amazing coffee I then made the really huge mistake of picking up my 2DS.  Played Animal Crossing; New Leaf until noon and then woke up at 4:19 pm.  The question of how to go to the bathroom again popped up but the leg thing worked earlier so let's do that again.

My daughter came stomping in, we conversed, had some food and then I sat back down on the couch wondering where my day went?  What exactly had I accomplished?  Well....I only owe Nook $18,000 for the remodel he did on my house and I did a little fishing.  If any of you play Animal Crossing: New Leaf, my town is Opochka and my dream suite 5A00-0029-54A6.....have a lovely dream!

....about an hour later:

In order to give you the dream suite address I had to grab the 2DS and open the game...and then I went to the island and caught a few beetles (40 because that's all that fit in the box) and then came back to my village of Opochka and make a little over 148,000 bells with my haul, paid off my loan to Nook and did the happy dance.

In reality, Opochka is a lovely town in the Opochetsky District in Pskov Oblast, Russia.  In English that means it is a town on the western most end of Russia.  I just love the way the name sounds...Opochka.  It is just fun to say. Google Earth the town, you will agree, it is charming.  Little bit of a rough history with everyone and their neighbors invading since Opochka's beginning in 1414 and I'm confident at some point a townsperson stood up shaking their fist and said, "Пожалуйста, прекратите вторжение мой живописный городок! Мы просто перестроен из последнего вторжения, и мы не можем позволить себе новый пять галлонов ведро с краской!" English that means "dang it".

You want to know what I actually, really thought I would be doing today?  Cross stitching.  Then I actually thought I would finish one of my commissioned Big Mama Chickie Bags, or the Big Mama Chickie Book Bag, or even crochet some motifs.......or even better!  Finish cropping the motif pictures and uploading them to dA.  Mattsma's Gallery.  That didn't happen either.  I think I'm still showing I've done up to #20 in the motif book....surprise on you!  I've done up to #28, but it's only posted to #20.
This happened, thought I would share
I see you all stitching and doing....I have eyes.  I think when I made the Executive Decision to not be employed anymore this year I mentioned to myself that I am not going to be responsible for the rest of the year.  So far, so good apparently.

Tomorrow I need to walk.  So I will walk.  Now that I'm not employed I'm not an "insider" anymore and can look at all that work stuff from an outside point of view which basically makes it all subject to some fun story telling.  While walking I always see a co-worker who escaped briefly, and I will look for you tomorrow...around 10:00 am which is your break time......

Even though I am not, you all should KEEP ON STITCHIN'!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Less Than Zerio Fried Chickens

Day before yesterday I said I would give a personal update "tomorrow".  Tomorrow was yesterday and here I am today trying to figure out how to write the promised personal update.

Two hours later, and threes tries at this and no matter how I do this, it comes off like some bitter rant about stuff I don't really care I'm not going to do that.

Here's a list instead:

1)  Saw a cardiologist who said "You need a job without stress" so I said "Okay" (there seems to be some strange correlation between my stress and something about stroking out)
2)  Transferred back to my old job and realized I give less than zerio fried chickens (a fun way of saying I give no f@#*s)
3)  Resignation letter emailed to manager (stress reduced by 1000%)
4)  Became happily unemployed (work stress now gone completely)
5)  Operation Plan Sparkle is now in effect (moving down south in 2017)

My lovely readers please do not be alarmed!  This happened as it should.  It feels right and honestly it’s about time.  Should have done this a year ago really.  So my decision is to do what I want to do and stop doing what I don’t want to do.

A responsible person would think, “I’d better find a new job before I leave this one”.  Well, at the very least have a plan on what to do next…...I’m not that kind of responsible.  I’m responsible.  This decision to resign was not made lightly.  The best part is now I get to regale you with situational stories and hopefully make you laugh.

But not today.  I have to go for my daily walk as per the heart doctor.  

I hope everyone is happy and healthy and doing what they love.

Until next time (which may or may not involve stitching)…..KEEP ON STITCHIN’

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Super Duper Mini Rawr Review Addition!

After the product review came out yesterday for the Mini Rawr pattern, fabric and floss pack, Jody contacted me to let me know that the floss "situation" had been resolved!  She had been working it out since our last conversation involving that math I told you about yesterday. Obviously she is better at the math than I am.

I know some stitchers don't buy every skein of floss available and ONLY go with what is provided so they don't have an NCC full of crafty goodness...or maybe you are a nomad and live the tiny house life and honestly there is no room for clutter....anywho, for me the floss running out was a concern (because I care about quality as much as the next consumer) and as per usual, Jody took care of that right away. Isn't she great??  She really is great.

She will not be providing that fabric since my creative honesty about the many uses of the AIDA bordered on serious danger.  Frankly, I never thought of cross stitching as a dangerous craft...except this one time I was listening to "KOKO" read by James Woods back in 1990 and my landlady popped in suddenly and if I hadn't been wearing glasses I would have lost an eye because she startled me. Since then there hasn't been any kind of safety issue.....until this AIDA.  Really it wasn't as bad as I made it out to be, but it was funny to write about.  However, I do agree with her that the fabric was not the quality she would normally hand out.  Jody never told me where she got this particular chunk of peril and that might be for the best in the end.  No one should have to go through that.

As always, Jody wants to provide a quality product.  We are all very fortunate that she goes to the lengths that she does.  You all know that there are some who really only care about getting your money one way or another.  She is also the kind of person who DOES take critique seriously and jumps in 100%.  Right now she's figuring out how to hand craft needleminders.  Not just any needleminders, but the kind of needleminder that screams "You cannot continue to exist if I am not with you immediately".

For those of you who don't think you need a needleminder, think again.  They make fabulous fridge magnets. If you work in a cubicle like I did, you can line them up at eye level on that stupid shelf that has those binders full of crap you will never read but you were told you cannot get rid of because it's company policy to keep them until the end of time...but shiny, pretty needleminders will ease you back to a place of tranquility.  Jody has so many different kinds of minders there is no way there isn't one or twelve just for you.

If you didn't head over to the Etsy shop yesterday (because you spent 18 hours reading the review) please do so today.  Check it out, make the store a favorite.  Stocking stuffers!  If you don't see anything you like, just drop Jody a note. Chances are good she has something just for you.

Unconventional X Stitch......Go there, you will not be disappointed!

Tomorrow....a personal share blog....until then.....KEEP ON STITCHIN'

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Super Duper Mini Rawr Product Review

RAWR WIP 1.jpg

Jody over at Unconventional X Stitch asked me to do a product review for her and I gladly accepted.  How could I not when she provided pattern, fabric, floss and needleminder?  The USPS and Australian mail carriers cooperated extremely well, and before you know it I had everything I needed to begin the stitching. (Seriously, when she ships you will receive very quickly)

During this time Jody was stitching the same pattern and I was very excited to have a speed stitch competition.  I honestly thought I would win since Jody was in the process of relocating, has two kids and her business to run….when could she possibly have time to finish even if the pattern is a mini?

Sadly (or happily), she did beat me to it, but that’s alright.  It gave me time to slow down and pay attention to the job at hand….carefully inspecting the products provided for this fun mini stitch.

By now you are curious about RAWR?  Head on over to the RAWR Mini Pattern to see what I was stitching and if you are interested in a more detailed version of RAWR, the larger pattern might be perfect for you.  The original art is by Sugar Fueled (Michael Banks).. It is quite unique, adorable and fun (yes, I’m a fan).

The pattern was a  PDF from the UXS Etsy Store and, as always, Jody’s pattern was clean.  By clean I mean she isn’t grouping similar symbols together hindering your ability to tell which is what.  If you are blind like I am she will make you a colored chart.  I like taking my highlighters and inking the more complicated sections, but the color charts are ALWAYS an option for those who prefer that over black and white. Just let her know your preference.

Now that we have everything we need to stitch this little cutie, my first concern was the fabric.  I’m going to tell you now that I have been stitching for almost 30 years and AIDA is not high on my list of fabrics to stitch on.  I do agree that there are times it is a good idea, but my preference is almost anything but AIDA.

I pull out this AIDA fabric, 18 ct white, and with all the strength I can muster, I unfold this weapon’s grade material.  It is super stiff (from what I understand, AIDA is made to be stiff, but there is a limit isn’t there?).  I tried to iron it flat with the steam iron and ended up with what could only be considered a very dangerous and sharp tool for cutting vegetables or logs.  I like to sew around the edges of my fabric but was afraid...very afraid….what if my sewing  machine exploded?  

Strangely my machine did very well (it’s a Singer and I read once where Singers will sew through steel if given a chance) so was able to move to the next part:  putting the fabric in the hoop.  Back hoop is on the table, I place the plywood slab of AIDA on top and proceed to struggle with getting the outer rim down over it all.  Well, this isn’t working…………. TO THE KITCHEN!

I decide to give the fabric a nice sudsy wash in the kitchen sink with warm water and Lime Method. (Just FYI, technically one should not do this, and I will tell you why later on) Normally this works to soften the fabric.  Normally.  This time all I did was moisten the incredible amount of starch (or some fantastically tight weaving) that has been applied to the fabric, but it does yield enough to get on the hoop.

You may be thinking, my keen readers, that this fabric is dangerous and you may be right.  There are, however, MANY great qualities about this particular fabric you should be made aware of:

It is very stiff.  I believe we covered that one, but just in case you are thinking this is bad, it is actually good.  Stiff AIDA (once secured in the hoops) has a natural tautness to it which really helps to keep the stitching even and not allow warping (or you can make a ninja throwing star and forget about the really is up to you).  I appreciate this very much.  If you stitch free hand this fabric could be for you simply because of that stiffness (Serious forever fabric! Perfect for heirlooms and siding on your house with a 10,000 year warranty).

Fun fact: AIDA was originally pronounced Ay-EE-Duh, but the name was “adjusted” to AY-duh after a popular opera “AIDA” by Giuseppe Verdi.  When you don’t have television, internet, radio or any other way to get the word out about your textile, why not use this as your advertisement?

Having now worked up a sweat to get the fabric and the hoops to do the thing, my excitement to begin stitching rekindled.  I was now able to grab the floss packs that had been included.  Beautiful flosses, DMC as it happens, which I looked at lovingly.  I would say most stitchers are familiar with or at least know and have experienced DMC floss. DMC has been doing this since the Romans landed on the British Isles, wait that was 55 B.C…..that’s not right...hang on a sec and I’ll check my factoids…..

Fine, it wasn’t that far back, it was 1746, and in case you all didn’t know DMC stands for D.M.C which is alphabet soup for Dollfus-Mieg & Compagnie.  Next thing you know, John Mercer came up with mercerising (you really don’t want to know what that is….if you know anything about Victorian Era stuff, it’s blech, but strangely still used today...still blech so please stop putting that floss in your mouth to straighten before stitching).

Fun Fact:  Caustic Soda (I can’t help it, you need to know) which is also known as sodium hydroxide (Lye), is used to make fun things like plastic wrap (we wrap our foods in this….so gross), soap...I feel cleaner knowing this, paper (I love paper and now I don’t know how to feel about paper)....but the best part about this special soda which is caustic is this:  it is one of the fabulous ingredients in OVEN CLEANER.  Yes, you read correctly.  Mercerising uses this to strengthen and shine up that floss.

Thank you John Mercer for making our floss stronger and shiny……….and potentially dangerous in large quantities.  I mean, isn’t that what the “experts” say?  Not harmful unless you have it in large quantities?  Good thing this project is a MINI.

Wow, that went sideways in a bad way.  My finest of readers, never fear!  I have been sticking that floss in my mouth for 30 years and the CAT scan and blood tests came back clean…..we will be fine...good to go….ready for the next project!  If I can ever finish this one!  So onward!

When Jody supplies floss for a project, she always adds 30% more than required by the program that created the pattern.  This is a wise decision.  Now that I have laid out my thread cards I grab the first color...310.  I’m a one color at a time gal if I can get away with it and there are two main colors that have 2,268 and 3,450 stitches respectively and that’s an awful lot of both colors. According to the “Thread lengths for Rawr Mini”, there needs to be 8.9 meters of 310 and 13.6 meters of 939. From all appearances, the thread cards have enough floss to do this.

Back to that 18 ct AIDA; when selecting the right needle for your project I have to recommend something with a larger eye.  You will be hard pressed to stitch through one hole four times with a smaller eye.  My standard needle is John James size 26 Tapestry.  The eye is insufficient for this fabric.  Find a wider eye.  Seriously, your fingers will thank you.

rawr_wip_2_by_mattsma-dac0d69.jpgNeedle threaded with 310, it was time to begin………..

After the first 100 stitches, I realized it was going to be a wee bit hard going.  This was before I figured out the eye of the needle situation because I was so gung ho to get at it!  I love a challenge so much I don’t always stop to consider issues that pop up….like the eye of the needle…

Sia sings it best in one part of her song “Eye of the Needle”:

rawr_wip_3_by_mattsma-dafpzjt.jpgTears fall to the beat    
Smile through pain
Feel the acid rain
I ain't ready
I’ll hold steady

rawr_wip_9_by_mattsma-dah9159.jpgAll of this crying about the eye of the needle started about a third of the way through when the eye of the needle was puncturing my right middle finger (or rather, it was sliding easily into the meat of the pad)...there was blood! Now don’t become alarmed.  Somewhere in the Ol’ NCC there were stick on thimbles.  For the life of me I couldn’t find them, so I taped up the injured finger and soldiered on.

Before long I finished all of those thousands of stitches. Thankfully, I mean….unfortunately life interfered like it does and my middle finger was allowed to heal up.  When I returned to the project it was with total glee as the rest of the colors are so pretty!  Like a prize, I couldn’t wait to dive into the greens and teals and turquoise….SNAKE GREEN if you can believe that!

20160918_225134.jpgSometime during all of the stitching, Jody and I were having a conversation about the floss lengths provided on the floss cards.  If they are supposed to be 30% more than what the pattern calls for, then wine plus ruler plus wine plus centimeters plus seque over 1/3rd divided by oh dear god I spilled wine on the RAWR, must certainly equal a trip to the bathroom sink for a rinse off.  

A wonderful tip:  If you insist on drinking wine while stitching, having a conversation about stitching and floss, always, ALWAYS drink a white wine or a nice Pinot.  They rinse out fabulously and anyone who didn’t know would never guess anything was amiss.

In the end we figured out that the ratio equaled the tri-fecta which was determined by underlining some fancy words in the dictionary and came up with a result of minus zerio.  

20161002_003941.jpgOne very important point I would like to make when doing business with Jody:  If you are unhappy or confused or  need assistance (or a good cry) over any of her products, she really is there 24/7.  She wants a quality product.  It’s HER brand that could be bad mouthed and that is unacceptable.  It’s one of the reasons I love her products so very  much and why I do this product review for YOU.   

Once recovered from the situation with the math, and having stitched so much more, I found that the supplier of the thread pack apparently cannot measure.  If I had done this properly in the beginning I would have measured each color and written down the lengths for each one.  In the end there were 3 colors that I used all of and only one color I had to dig in my stash to finish.  Not too bad considering a third party was trying to follow the strictest directions.  

My recommendation for this floss pack issue is to just provide the third party with the measurements of each color and go from there...or….and Jody this is something we have discussed….do it yourself.  The only way to be confident in the product is usually to do it yourself.  I am hopeful that if the third party continues to do or wants to do business with Jody there will be a way to figure out the measurements.  But then I wonder if their math was done the same way Jody and I did ours?  Which could explain quite a bit.   If that is the case, well all I have to say is if you order up one of the thread packs just know that the process was complicated and required a ruler, tape measure, pinot, a rumpled white tablecloth, and one eye closed.  Don’t be angry if you are two stitches shy of finishing one color, just spill some wine on it, it will be fine.

Once RAWR was finished, I snapped a quick shot for Jody with it still in the hoop.  She liked it so much she asked to use it for her product feature.   

FAWR Finished.jpgI said earlier I would share why you shouldn’t wash your AIDA before you begin and the reason why is that when you moisten AIDA, and then it leather, it shrinks.  The moisture evaporates leaving behind a dry, hard, chunk of AIDA.  (That sounds horrible, but I was thinking about beef jerky when I wrote that….the end result is about the same) So why do we stitchers wash our AIDA after the stitching is completed? It’s because of the shrinking, which tightens up the fabric and make the colored thread come together more cleanly to cover the cloth so all you see is pretty stitches.  It is also the reason it was so hard for me to use my beloved size 26 Tapestry Needle...I had already shrunk the fabric right away to make it pliant, and followed up with a healthy splashing of Pinot….so the bloody finger was really punishment for not thinking prior to stitching.  Lesson learned (until next time).  

Overall, I really enjoyed stitching up the Mini Rawr.  For me it is especially wonderful to stitch something where the content is your “thing”, the person you are purchasing from is there for you from start to finish and isn’t afraid of critique.  I cannot say enough about the quality of customer service and professionalism you get at Unconventional X Stitch.  The best part of doing business with Jody is how I ended up with a friend. How’s that for getting more for what you paid for?  A freebie extra perk!  

Now that you have spent all day with me reading this product review, get yourself over to the Unconventional X Stitch shop and take a look at everything. Make the shop a favorite!  You won’t regret it, I swear.  If you have a sec and really feel a strong desire to share your feelings, PLEASE do so in the comments below.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and remember…..KEEP ON STITCHIN’