Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reading Challenge - January

Here is my update on the books I have read this month.  Follow along with what I read on my Goodreads (contact me for that info) or follow my Newbery quest at  I have listed the different reading challenges in its own tab on this blog.

A book that became a movie: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I had recently read As You Wish (which I highly recommend) and decided to go back and reread the original book. 

A mystery or a thriller: Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix

I got this for free on Kindle.  It is about people who have the ability to go in and out of mirrors.  It as ok.

A book with a one-word title: Paperboy by Vince Vawter

This book was one of the 2014 Newbery Honor books and I really liked it.  It is about a boy who stutters and takes over his friend's paper route for the summer, during which he finds out many things.

A book set in a different country: A Day on Skates: The Story of a Dutch Picnic by Hilda van Stockum

This book is a 1935 Newbery Honor book that has become public domain.  It is set in Holland and talks about a brother and sister who go on a skating picnic with their teacher and classmates.

A nonfiction book: 41: Portrait of my Father by George W. Bush and Killing Patton by Bob O'Reilly

I don't tend to read a lot of nonfiction but I found both of these books to be interesting.  I also listened to both books on Audible.  George W. Bush was encouraged by historian David McCullough to write a book about his father because John Quincy Adams, the only ever son to ever become president after his father, had not written a book about John Adams and McCullough would have loved it if he had.  It was very interesting and I learned a lot about the state of affairs during the elder Bush's presidency.  I have also read O'Reilly's previous three "killing" books (Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus) and I really loved them.  I didn't know a lot about Patton but I do now after listening to the book.  I love how he uses a lot of first person accounts and kind of weaves a web so that you understand what was going on in the world at the time of the person's death.

A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)

I was pleasantly surprised by this good old fashioned private detective novel after my intense disappointment with Rowling's A Casual Vacancy.

A memoir: I Am Not Spock by Leonard Nimoy

I have had this book for awhile but have not read it yet.  I loved the conversations between Spock and Nimoy.

A book with magic: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

I do like fantasy so I thought that I should really try to read some of The Wheel of Time series.  This was a first book.  It was long and bogged down in places but it was pretty good.

A graphic novel: Farscape Vol 5. Red Sky at Morning by Rockne S. O'Bannon

I was missing this volume in the Farscape comic series that tracks the crew of Moya after the events of the Peacekeeper Wars.

A book by an author you've never read before: The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish

This book was a 1925 Newbery Honor book and is public domain.  It was a little "out there" for my tastes, talking about a coach that delivers dreams to children around the world.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Downton Abbey and Stitching

I've fallen behind on Downton so I decided to catch up with the new episodes on  I got through the first episode and 20 minutes into the second while steadily working on my ornament.

This will be Zoe's 2010 ornament.  Only two more ornaments needed to catch her up.
Yesterday, I worked on the fish in Yellow Submarine.  Here's a peek.

I have also been crocheting a blanket out of last December's Crochet World.  I got two of the six squares mostly completed (they are missing their feet).  The others will repeat these two penguins.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We All Live in a Yellow Submarine....

After receiving my stitchy goodness yesterday, I decided to first finish the eye on my chickadee.  It's hard to see the bit of sparkle in the picture, but it's there.

I can now say that I have officially finished the page.  It is approximately 1500 stitches.  This squares out to 38 x 38, giving me $4 earned. 

I did a little bit more work on my Tigger Candy Cane Ornament.

Then, I turned to Yellow Submarine.  I am very glad that I chose to use the recommended sampler threads and fabric as they give the submarine a great look.  I am especially loving "harvest moon" which is the darker yellow.  I though that "toasted marshmallow" did not have a lot of variation but as I stitch, I found that is does (it's the lighter yellow).

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Stash!

My delivery from 123Stitch arrived today!  I'm so excited.

So, while looking at the other blogs who are participating in Stitch from Stash, I saw someone post their wish list which included the patterns Blackbird Designs are doing on their Magical Mystery Tour.  I love the Beatles so I had to have them and my husband liked them and decided he wanted them for his office at work.

I was able to get the pattern and the threads off 123Stitch but they were sold out of the recommended 32ct Cedar Plank.  Fortunately, my husband was able to get the fabric from the not-so-local LNS (which turns out to be only 15 minutes from where he works - dangerous!).  I cut the fabric in half because Octopus's Garden also uses the same fabric.

So now, I'm about 49 cents over budget but that's okay because I should be able to count the finished page from Fuji for this month (I also ordered the missing Blending Filament which is actually what put me over budget).

I decided to start with Yellow Submarine

The bulk of the cost was the Sampler Threads because I don't have many of them. 
Before the mail person came, I was stitching on an ornament that I actually put a few stitches on a few weeks back but didn't post a picture.  It's a Tigger ornament stitched on perforated plastic.  It's from my stash so it will count once I finish it.  I was listening to Killing Patton this morning on Audible while I stitched on it.  I'm not a big WWII person, but it's interesting and reads more like Killing Lincoln which I loved, because instead of being boring, it read like a thriller.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

HAED Progress

Well, I was able to make some more progress on my nicely gridded second page.  There are definitely more interesting colors than the first page but the frequent color changes take much more time.  So, I went back to do some more work on page one. 

Grow Your Blog Party!

It's party time!  This is the second year that I have participated in Grow Your Blog.

About Me!
My name is Joy and I have had this blog since 2009.  I started blogging when my new husband and I worked opposite shifts and I needed something to do to pass the time since I couldn't spend time with him.  Since then, I have had two children, went through a major layoff and got my master's degree and state teaching certification.

What I Blog About

  • Cross Stitching - This is probably the number one topic on my blog.  I have been doing Counted Cross Stitch for 14 years or so.
  • Stitch from Stash - I am currently participating in a group called Stitch from Stash hosted by Mel at Epic Stitching.  We stitch on a budget of $25 per month.  This is only for cross stitching materials, not yarn for knitting or crochet.
  • Ornament Box Project - I am working on cross stitching an ornament for each of my daughters for each of their Christmases until they turn 18.  It's definitely a work in progress
  • Yarn Projects - I crochet, knit and loom knit so I share that as well.  I am a member of Ravelry (username: gadgettrek)
  • Reading - I found a reading challenge on Facebook that I'm currently working on.  In addition, I have set a lifelong goal to read all the Newbery books which has its own separate blog (  I am a member on Goodreads.
I don't really do giveaways because the last time I did one, my husband fell off a ladder at work and all my extra spending money dried up.  I took a financial hit the time before when I had a giveaway.  So, I figure they are bad luck.  My apologies to anyone who is still waiting on stuff from me.  Now that I'm out of college, I will try to get it sent out. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Some Border Work

I put Fuji up for now until my missing shade of blending filament comes in.  I realized that the pictures don't do justice for the actual size of the piece.  The Chickadee is huge!  I'll have to take a picture of it by a ruler or something.  It's certainly larger and more detailed than the bird pictures from my Grandma which hang in my hallway.

I did some border work on Sunflower Sampler today.  There are five different colors involved so there were lots of parked needles as I worked along.  I put a bit of yellow letters in as well. 

A Dimples Mystery

I bought two Dimples Designs pieces at SCRAP a few years ago. 

As I've been stitching Fuji, I've been wondering about the names of the two pieces.  The birds appear to be Chickadees but the names are Japanese so I don't know if they're supposed to be Japanese Chickadees or something.  Unfortunately, Terrance Nolan, the designer, seems to have fallen off the edge of the earth so I can't really ask. 

Emily looked up the meaning of "Fuji" and besides being a mountain in Japan (which I knew) it also means "unexpected." 

Oh well, I guess I'll continue to enjoy stitching it.  I'll be switching to a different project today.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fuji Page Almost Complete

I almost completed the page of Fuji except for the eye which requires a shade of Blending Filament that I don't have (don't worry, it's in transit).

Here Comes Trouble....

So, after logging my Stitch from Stash yesterday, I made the mistake of reading some of the other blogs of people who are also participating.

Big mistake!

I didn't buy anything for January because I was contemplating buying silk for an ornament that I've been wanting to stitch.  I always hesitate buying silk that isn't variegated or overdyed because of the extra added expense. 

Well, I changed my mind when I saw something on someone's wish list in the blog post and I HAD TO HAVE IT!

Stay tuned to find out what I ordered.....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stitch from Stash Update - January 2015

Month:  January
Amount spent: $0
Amount earned: $0

I did not spend anything this month!  I have an ulterior motive, though, as I will possibly be spending over $25 for next month's budget and since we can't "spend ahead," I had to save up and wait. 

I did a fair amount of stitching this month, but I've been crocheting some stuff so that's taken some "stitchy" time away from regular cross stitch but I did work on four projects.

Butterfly Rose Cross as of Jan 1

Butterfly Rose Cross for January Update

Do Not Meddle as of Jan 1
Do Not Meddle for January Update
Sunflower Sampler as of Jan 1
Sunflower Sampler for January Update
Fuji as of Jan 1
Fuji for January Update
For this year's Stitch from Stash, we get "stash credit" for completing items.  I'm not sure how that's going to work in my case since my pieces are all in progress and I don't stitch in order by the grid.  I guess I'll figure it out if I finish anything.  Fuji is actually at least 50% completed.  I want to finish the current page before switching projects.  The black thread you can see is actually silk and has been nice to stitch with.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


 A few years ago, my stepson and his wife bought us a Belgian waffle maker. I used it occasionally, using a scratch recipe (because despite claims by all those waffle/pancake batter box mixes, waffle and pancake batter are NOT the same thing). My husband lamented that we didn't have a real waffle maker and let me tell you that those little buggers are not easy to find. It seems that everyone is on a Belgian kick.

After some searching, I found that Cuisinart makes a "classic" waffle maker for $30 so I bought one. It works great! We've been having waffles quite a bit lately.

While doing research on waffle makers, I discovered that actual Belgian waffles use a different recipe from regular waffles. There was a recipe in The Joy of Cooking so I tried out.

What a complicated recipe!

Belgian waffles use yeast instead of baking powder so there was the yeast to prepare in warm milk.  Then there was the stick and a half of butter that had to be melted and then allowed to cool.  Grr.  The three eggs for the batter had to be separated (took me four eggs to get three separated eggs).    The yokes went in with the yeast and all the other ingredients (like the four cups of flour and 3 cups of warm milk).  The whites had to be beaten to soft peaks and then folded in which was nearly impossible because of the density of the regular batter.  Then you had to cover it and let it rise for an hour. 

I told my husband that was the first and last time I would be making the batter and he gave me this look that said, "but they were good."


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sunflower Progress

There are three Sunflowers in the middle of the Sunflower Sampler.  The one in the center is mostly done but I started the one on the right.  The center of the center flower is almost complete but it is tedious and takes FOREVER!  All the stitches are mini Smyrna crosses and they take longer to stitch.  It will create a nice textured effect when completed.  There are also going to be some French knots.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Some Sparkly Crochet

I finally finished the Christmas present for my mother today.  It's a bit late but that's understandable due to me student teaching last semester.

The original pattern called for it to be a table runner but I was finding working this yarn with an F hook to be tedious in half double crochet so I made it roughly square and then bound it off.  I had the main part finished but just had to do the green leaves and sew them and the flowers on, which I did today.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The very latest stitching

I decided to start another page on Fuji this morning.  I picked the page to the right of the completed page.  This pattern does not have the "shaded in" three lines to help you get your bearings to I put in a two grid threads so that I won't have an issue as I work on the pages. 

I was actually able to get all the stitching done that connects to the actual bird.  There is more stitching to be done at the bottom for the pussywillow but I think I will hold off on that for now.  That means that the bottom portion of my cute little chickadee has been completed. 

Here is also an updated picture of my Do Not Meddle dragon

I've been reading a bit lately.  I picked up The Cuckoo's Crossing which I am about 1/3 of the way through and I just finished I Am Not Spock, an interesting memoir of Leonard Nimoy. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Smores and Stitching

Yesterday was Epiphany (or Merry Christmas to the Orthodox church) so I figured it would be a good idea to take down the Christmas tree.  Here's a look at my Smore Collection.

I got a bit of stitching done too.

First up was the Butterfly Rose Cross.

I gridded the page below where I was and worked the edge between the two sections.
Today, I got some work done on Do Not Meddle

I started the main section of the wing. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Some Guest Blogging

I made some progress on Do Not Meddle, but to hear about it, you'll have to go visit Stitching the Night Away

Friday, January 2, 2015

HAED Quandary

I put a bunch of work into my HAED last night.  Sadly, it's not much on an HAED scale.  Here's what it looks like.

I am thinking about charting a new page further in toward the center as the corner where I started is mostly the same color and, well, really really boring to stitch. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

WIPs of the New Year

First, I have to share a short story.  I wrapped up the Gardener's Cottage and gave it to my husband for Christmas.  He intends to hang it in his new office.  We searched high and low for it and couldn't find it ANYWHERE!  Where could it be?

Turns out my brother-in-law had accidentally picked it up.  He's going to mail it back.

Now, for the WIPs.  I have quite a few of them as I started a bunch of stuff last Mother's Day.  The year, Stitch from Stash is counting stitch count sizes so I have listed them. 

Current WIPs - Larger Pieces
Gathering Honey - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts May/June 1987, Stitch count: 180H x 140W
I did a bit of stitching on it this week. 
 Fuji - Dimples Designs (Terrence Nolan), Stitch Count 132 x 224
I have finally actually completed this page after adding the backstitching
 Starlight Angel - MarBek, Serendipity Designs,  Rebecca Waldrop, Stitch Count: 160W x 173H
I have not worked on this in awhile.  I am needing some specialty threads.
Sunflower Sampler - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts July/August 1992, Stitch Count 175H x 135W
I am hoping to finish this piece by August so I can enter it in the fair. 
Winter on Logan's Creek, Cross Stitch and Country Crafts September/October 1990 (Brigitte Kozma), Stitch Count: 122H x 54W

Do Not Meddle - Dragon Fire Designs (Sherry Schons), Stitch Count: 261W x 156H
I only have to finish this second dragon.  Hopefully, I can finish it this year also.
Rose Garden - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts September/October 1989, Stitch Count: 180H x 140H
Not much of a start on this one yet

Country Grace - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts November/December 1992 (Diane Brakefield), Stitch Count: 176H x 136W

A Time of Thanksgiving - Cross Stitch! Number Seven (De Selby), Stitch Count: 121W x 89H

Quail Family - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts January/February 1989, Stitch Count: 140H x 70H

Butterfly Cross - Heaven and Earth Designs, Stitch Count: Really, really big
Maybe I can get one page done this year.  Big maybe.

Snow White Discovers the Cottage - MCG Textiles Kit, Stitch Count: Also Really Big

Current WIPs - Small Pieces
Jingle As Ye Enter, Jingle As Ye Go - Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, Stitch Count: 119 x 152

Stained Glass Holly - Just Cross Stitch August 2014, Stitch Count: 55W x 55H

Trio of Dogs - Christmas Critters (Barbara Mock), Stitch Count: 77W x 65H

This piece is really tedious.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's all the white.  It should be done.

I also have a few more pieces that I might start.