Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reading Challenge Complete

This year, I decided to do a  reading challenge off Facebook and I quickly filled up most of the categories.  However, once I reached a certain point, I was reading more off my other challenge of reading all the Newbery books and so I finally finished the last category on the reading challenge this week.

A book by an author with your same initials:  The Lost Years by J.M. Dillard

I've been meaning to read this forever since I have the four book "Lost Years" series of Star Trek in a boxed set.  I ended up reading it off Scribd because it was just easier to read it digitally.  I find myself embracing digital books more every year.  Anyway, this book is set after the Enterprise returns from her five year mission and we see Kirk promoted to admiral while Spock and McCoy resign from Starfleet.

My book count for the year according to Goodreads is 255.  Not too shabby.

Here's the complete reading challenge:
  • A book with more than 500 pages - Insurgent
  • A classic romance - Sense and Sensibility
  • A book that became a movie - The Princess Bride
  • A book published this year - The Mermaid's Sister
  • A book with a number in the title - 1776
  • A book written by someone under 30 - Flawless
  • A book with nonhuman characters - Dragon Kiss
  • A funny book - Fortunately, the Milk
  • A book by a female author - Dear Mr. Henshaw
  • A mystery or thriller - Broken Symmetry
  • A book with a one-word title - Paperboy
  • A book of short stories - Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland 
  • A book set in a different country - A Day on Skates: The Story of a Dutch Picnic
  • A nonfiction book - 41: A Portrait of my FatherKilling Patton
  • A popular author's first book - Star Trek The Next Generation #5 Strike Zone
  • A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet - The Cuckoo's Calling
  • A book a friend recommended - Off to Be a Wizard
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book - Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945
  • A book based on a true story - The Road From Home
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list - The Winter Room
  • A book your mom loves - Lad: A Dog
  • A book that scares you - Doll Bones
  • A book more than 100 years old - A Little Princess
  • A book based entirely on its cover - Orphan Train
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't - The Lantern Bearers
  • A memoir - I Am Not Spock, I Am Spock
  • A book you can finish in a day - El Deafo
  • A book with antonyms in the title - Over Sea, Under Stone
  • A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit - Born With Teeth
  • A book with bad reviews - The Glass Magician
  • A trilogy - The Lord of the Rings
  • A book from your childhood - Sarah Plain and Tall
  • A book with a love triangle - Unsouled
  • A book set in the future - Legacy Code
  • A book set in high school - Go Ask Alice
  • A book with a color in the title - Brown Girl Dreaming
  • A book that made you cry - The Crossover
  • A book with magic - The Eye of the World
  • A graphic novel - Farscape Vol 5 Red Sky at Morning
  • A book by an author you've never read before - The Dream Coach
  • A book you own but have never read - The Bronze Bow
  • A book that takes place in your hometown (home state) - Caddie Woodlawn
  • A book that was originally written in a different language - Pippi Longstocking
  • A book set during Christmas - The Dark is Rising
  • A book written by an author with your same initials - The Lost Years
  • A play - William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope
  • A banned book - The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show - Pretty Little Liars
  • A book you started but never finished - Mere Christianity

2015 Year in Review

Wow.  Writing this will be harder since I'm no longer tracking things for Stitch from Stash.

I hope your 2015 was a good year.  Mine was actually pretty good.  I had an adjustment period from being a full time grad student then a full time student teacher to being a full time stay at home mom with no other large responsibilities.  I had a lot of extra time for reading and stitching, which I took advantage of.  I also started subbing occasionally and grading STAAR tests to give me some more experience for my resume.  My girls made grade strides with their Autism-induced speech delays and we started them on medication which has helped immensely.

Here are my string highlights.

First, I got caught up with ornament boxes.  The only ornament not finished at this point is Zoé's 2015 Aurora ornament which I am about 2/3 done with.  I'll post a picture later.  Here are the 2015s that I finished.

I also managed to finish my oldest WIP, "Do Not Meddle," the much blogged about dragon piece I've been working and frogging forever.

I won another blue ribbon at the fair this year for "Sunflower Sampler."  Shooting for a champion ribbon next year!

Other larger framed finishes.

Yellow Submarine
Blackbird Designs

Dimples Designs

Contemporary Wedding Sampler
And that's all for the string of 2015.  I'll post a reading wrap up post to follow.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

I managed to finish this in the nick of time last night.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Crunch Update and More Giveaways from Santa Nancy

I've been diligently working on my sampler.  I'm still shooting for it to be done by Christmas Eve.  I have no idea if I'll make it.

Now, onto the Victorian Motto Sampler giveaways.  I already didn't win day 1 :( but there are still 11 more to come!

Day 6: Sewing Necessitaire
Day 7: Sampler Chart and 10 yards of floss
Day 8: $50 Surprise package
Day 9: Jingle as Ye Enter - I have this kit, it's such a great design!
Day 10: Surprise Package of Floss
Day 11: 18 Skeins of Primitive floss
Day 12: Entire Primitive Floss Collection

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Some Christmas Crunch Knitting

I do not loom knit as much since I picked up crochet and decided to try knitting on needles again.  However, two pieces that I wanted to make for Christmas required looms so I have been looming quite a bit more lately.

The scarves are for my in-laws and now that they're complete, the only thing I have left is the wedding sampler for my brother and sister-in-law (ok, it's not the only thing but it is the only thing that absolutely positively has to be completed and framed by Christmas - good thing I do my own framing!).

Do you like my Fluttershy model?

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Christmas Crunch Update!

I have not been posting on the blogosphere much as of late since I have been busy with Thanksgiving (hope yours was great) and then I had to substitute teach.

I am still scurrying to finish everything that needs to be done by Christmas.

I was able to finish up my Mill Hill Santa.  He is looking very cute and is already on his way to my cousin in Wisconsin.

I actually finished all my Christmas cards.  It's a good feeling.  My Christmas shopping is almost done too.

I am still diligently stitching on Zoé's Christmas ornament.

I modified this design so that I used metallic for the crown and there will be metallic on the dress and also some satin floss.  She should look very regal when she is done.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Victorian Motto Sampler's Giveaways

Once again, Nancy over at Victorian Motto Sampler has become "Santa Nancy" and is having a bunch of giveaways in time for Christmas.  Now is the time to become a follower if you have not already!

Day 1 - Favorite Colors of Floss
Day 2 - $35 Gift Certificate
Day 3 - Best Friend Present
Day 4 - Auntie's Flower Garden Floss
Day 5 - Primitive Floss

Nancy always has the most generous giveaways.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Some Christian Finishes

For the past several years, we have done our Christmas tree in almost all sacred ornaments.  Every year, I try to make a few more ornaments.  I managed to finish up a few I had finished stitching.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stitch from Stash B Wrap up

As many of you know, Mel from Epic Stitching has decided to discontinue Stitch from Stash for personal reasons.  I have enjoyed being a part of it from the very beginning, as my unemployment has caused me to limit my stitching purchases.  So, to wrap it all up, here is what I accomplished in the few months of SFS B.

Mel, if you are reading this, it's been fun and I totally understand you abandoning it.  See you around the blogosphere.

We'll ignore the money part as I was well under budget actually.

New Starts:

  • Gingerbread Cupcakes (The Victoria Sampler)
  • Strawberry Fields Forever (Blackbird Designs)
  • First Star (SamSarah, JCS Ornaments 2014)
  • Cookie Monster
  • Bible (Designing Women Unltd.)
  • Contemporary Wedding Sampler (Sharon Pope, JCS June 2015)
  • Christmas Carols - Away in a Manger (Alice Okon, Cross Stitch and Needlework Holiday Ornaments 1997)
  • Christmas Carols - Joy to the World (Alice Okon, Cross Stitch and Needlework Holiday Ornaments 1997)
  • The Golden Circle (Gentle Pursuit Designs, JCS Ornaments 2013)
  • The Apple Tree (Fancy Work, JCS Ornaments 2013)
WIPs Worked:
  • Snow White Discovers the Cottage
  • Butterfly Rose Cross
  • Jingle as Ye Enter
  • Country Grace
  • Stained Glass Holly
  • The Rose Garden
  • Peace (The Stitcherhood, JCS Ornaments 2013)
  • Do Not Meddle (Dragon Fire Designs)
  • Gingerbread Cupcakes (The Victoria Sampler)
  • First Star (SamSarah, JCS Ornaments 2014)
  • Cookie Monster
  • Bible (Designing Women Unltd.)
  • Christmas Carols - Away in a Manger (Alice Okon, Cross Stitch and Needlework Holiday Ornaments 1997)
  • Christmas Carols - Joy to the World (Alice Okon, Cross Stitch and Needlework Holiday Ornaments 1997)
  • The Golden Circle (Gentle Pursuit Designs, JCS Ornaments 2013)
  • A Merry Little House (The Victoria Sampler, JCS Ornaments 2008)

Ornament Finishing

Still in Christmas Crunch and working on ornament finishing the last few days.  I got Evelyn's Ornament Box caught up which just leaves Zoé's left to do.  I also finished another Sassy fabric scarf (they work up so quickly on the loom) which leaves one more scarf, the soup dragon and the wedding sampler left to do.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Christmyth finishes

Continuing in the Christmas Crunch, I've been diligently working to finish ornaments.  But I also managed to stitch one

Meanwhile, on the Christmyth front, I managed to get the three I had not finished yet turned into pillows (despite a rocky start where I did not put the right sides together before stitching!).  Invisible Thread by Sulky is amazing!  I actually went back and fixed one of the existing ornaments using it so you can't see the line where I stitched it closed!

Mermaid - Before
Mermaid - After




Thursday, November 12, 2015

Christmas Crunch

At the beginning of this week, I officially declared the beginning of "Christmas Crunch," that time of year when crafters have to knuckle down and get stuff done on a timeline to be ready for Christmas.  

I am hoping to get Strawberry Fields done by Christmas for my husband but it is lowest in priority right now.  It is over half done.

Right now, I've been working feverishly on a Belle Ornament for the granddaughter.  She will be here for Thanksgiving but not Christmas most likely so I'll have to have it done and get both finished and wrapped before then.

Zoé requested an Aurora ornament out of the Disney Princess book, dispelling my dilemma of not having the proper threads to do the other ornament I had been planning.  I have the linen ready to go but need to get Belle done first.

I finished a knitting project this week as well. It is a loom knit afghan shawl and will be heading to a friend in Michigan.  I'm working to finish some other things for her box of goodies this week.

Also on the to-do list is to finish the Contemporary Wedding Sampler and then knit two scarves.  At least I sent Mom home with her present already!

Oh, and if you haven't heard already, Mel at Epic Stitching has decided to discontinue her Stitch from Stash.  It's sad but I totally understand.  It was a massive undertaking.  I've been part of it from the start.  I haven't decided if I'm going to track the rest of the year for fun or not.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Big Finish

I finally finished assembly of "A Merry Little House" by Victoria Sampler.  This piece is definitely involved on the finishing end.  I had to glue each part to mat board and then lace it all together.  But it is finally finished and so is Emily's Ornament Box.  Since she is 18, this is her last ornament.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cross Stitch Roulette: The Rose Garden

I put all my cross stitch WIPs in a flashcard program on my tablet so I can pick pieces at random.  Today's pick was The Rose Garden.  I hadn't worked much on it.  Got quite a bit done today.

Where it was

After today's work
I also got the roof done for my Victoria Sampler house.

The house panels I had done

The roof panels
Now, it's going to be a lot of finishing.  I hope the house turns out ok.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Contemporary Wedding String

I am experimenting with two replacement colors.  Not sure if I like the effect of the purple yet.  I need to start the heart and see how it works with the fuscia.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween and Strawberry Update

With all the rain, our downtown trick or treat for kids was cancelled (sadly, it was not actually raining but they cancelled it really far in advance even though it probably could have happened).  We dressed up the girls and drove down to the grandparents for simplified trick or treat.

Zoé chose her Aurora dress and Adèle chose to be a witch
Both girls have had a stomach virus for the third time this school year.  It's crazy.  Hopefully we are done.

I got a little work done on Strawberry Fields in between cleaning up vomit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fields of Strawberries....

I've spent some time working on Blackbird Design's Strawberry Fields Forever.  I seem to be in a groove.  The small motifs go quickly since they're not nearly so solid as the house was.  The GAST and WDW are definitely shining with their slight color variations.  Maybe I'll be able to give it to the husband for Christmas!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cross Stitch Roulette

After painstakingly whittling down my WIPs a few years ago, I suddenly have a whole crate of them!  Sometimes, I spend a bunch of time trying to decide which one to do next and I've tried several rotation options.  I had an idea yesterday.  There is not a customize-able spinner app for Windows but there is a flashcard app with a "random" option.  So, I put all my WIPs on flashcards in the app and now I just hit random and I have to work on the one that shows up first on the app.  Call it Cross Stitch Roulette if you will.

First up was my Contemporary Wedding Sampler.  I decided to rip out my new colors choices and go back to most of the original color scheme.  The lavender will have to come out but I'm using it as a placeholder for the moment.

Next up was "Strawberry Fields Forever" which is now pretty much 1/4 done.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Stitch from Stash Update - October

Month: October
Total Spent: $23.15
Total Earned: $10
Carryover to November: $42.22

I noticed that I've only posted twice so far for October.  That has to be a record low.  This was a busy month with my mother coming to visit.  I got in a bit of stitching while she was here but not much.

I decided to take a break from Country Grace this month to do some ornaments.  I finished three although they still need to be properly finished for the tree.

I also worked on a UFO Ink Circles ornament I started last year.

Here's where Country Grace stands.  I'm not sure I'll finish it by Thanksgiving.

I have one new start.  There's not much to see.  Stitching over 1 on 32 count is a bit hard on the eyes.

As for purchases, I'm still paying on the Christmas book but I also went to Jo-Ann's last night and picked up this

Maybe now I have all the solid colored DMC colors.  I won't hold my breath though.