Sunday, May 31, 2015

Finishing Touches

I did a bit of final finishing on two of the ornaments that I recently finished.  Here's what they look like.

Reading Challenge - May

This month, I ended up rereading several books that I read as a child.  I am also very close to finishing the reading challenge.  Only three more books to go!

A book based entirely on its cover -  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

I've seen this book lurking around the "popular" section of Overdrive so I decided to read it.  The cover looked interesting.  It was a bit more on the adult side compared with all the children's novels I've been reading.

A book set somewhere you always wanted to visit - Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

This book is Kate Mulgrew's memoirs (best known as Captain Janeway on Voyager).  A great deal of the book is set in Ireland, which is somewhere I've always wanted to visit since I'm a quarter Irish myself.  It was a very interesting read about a very interesting woman.

A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't - The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff

There weren't really any books in this category because I read everything I was supposed to read in grade school and high school even if I didn't like it.  The only book that possibly fits in this category is The Lantern Bearers which I was supposed to read for children's lit in college.  I tried to read it again and only made it halfway through.  It's supposed to be this great book but I just can't get into it.  Sad.

A book that you own but have never read - The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

I bought this book way before I was married (pretty sure I got it on clearance) but only now got around to reading it.  It is set at the time of Jesus and involves the Zealots.

A book that was originally written in a different language - Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgrin

This book was originally written in Swedish.  I read it as a child but somehow don't like it so much as an adult.

Kira Kira  By Cynthia Kadohata - A Newbery winning book about a Japanese American family who work in a poultry factory.  I think it's a bit slow in the plot for my taste.
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson - A short story about a hobo who finds an evicted family living under "his" bridge in Paris.
Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos - The second Joey Pigza book where Joey spends the summer with his father who takes away his medication and figures he can fight ADHD cold turkey with will power (idiot!).
Men of Athens by Olivia Coolidge - A boring, historical fiction/nonfiction attempt at the history of Athens.
Tales from Silver Lands by Charles J. Finger - A set of short stories from South America and didn't impress me.
Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt - The story of a girl who is sent to live with her school teacher aunt after her mother dies.  I actually liked it.
Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me by Pattie Boyd - The story of a woman who inspired several love songs.
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith - A Civil War novel about the experiences of a Kansas boy in the war.
Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm - An account of Penny's summer.  The conflict in the middle is just awful.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I read this in high school but decided to re-read it and decided that I like and understand it much better as an adult.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh - Another re-read of a book from my childhood. Harriet spies on her neighbors and records everything in her notebook but has issues when her nanny leaves and her friends read her notebook.
The Cricket in Time's Square by George Selden - An animal fantasy about a cricket who lives in a newsstand in New York and plays concerts.  I'm pretty sure this is also a re-read as I think I read it in grade school as an independent read.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Another ornament finish!

I finished up the Candy Cane Horse over the last few days.  I used almost the whole spool of Kreinik on the mane!  It's quite sparkly.  The backstitch is not as dark as the model's.  I'm thinking someone changed the colors.

My current strategy for working perforated paper and plastic is to us a size 24 needle on the stitches and then a 26 for the backstitching.  The thinner needle easily slips between the existing stitches.  This is important because the paper and plastic do not have the "give" that other fabrics have.  I could have done the whole thing with a 26 but I was not about to try to get two strands of floss and one strand of BF through that eye!

This means I have two ornaments to stitch, one ornament that is stitched but needs finishing and this year's ornament left to do and I will have completed Emily's ornament box (for more info, see the "Ornament Box" tab on the blog).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: Fitbit Charge HR

My belated Mother's Day present was a Fitbit Charge HR.  At first, I wasn't sure what to make of it.  The only thing I knew about Fitbit was that a model had been recalled for causing horrible rashes.  Since it was backordered and would not arrive in time, I did a bit of research on it while I waited for it to arrive.

I have the black Charge.  It's a unibody watch-looking thing made completely of a rubbery material.  This is great because I have a nickel allergy so wearing it for prolonged periods has not bothered me.  I only really take it off when I'm typing (so it's off now) or taking a shower or charging it but otherwise, I wear it 24/7.

When I unboxed it, it was not charged at all so I had to charge it with the included cable, which plugs into any USB port.  It only took about an hour to fully charge.  I use Windows Phone 8.1 and there is a Fitbit app.  Setup was a little tricky.  I had issues setting it up with my phone.  The Bluetooth paired fine but it would not connect to my Fitbit account ( you have to create a free account, but this allows you to access it from multiple devices).  I had to set it up on my computer using the included USB sync dongle.  After that, I have not had any syncing problems.  The nice thing about Fitbit is that it can be used with almost anything.  You can use it with a computer if you don't have a smartphone and it works with Android, iOS and Windows phones.

The Charge HR is on the higher end of the Fitbit spectrum.  The only more complex model is the Surge which is kind of like a smartwatch.  There are two Charge models: the Charge and the Charge HR.  The HR version has an additional sensor that measures your heart rate in real time.

As you can tell from the picture, the Charge HR has a little screen. This functions as a clock but also shows you your heart rate, steps, floors, distance and/or calories.  It is customizable.  There are like four different clock face options and you can decide which stats you want to see and also adjust the order.  From the app, I can also tell the system if I am wearing the Fitbit on my dominant or non-dominant hand (which is important for me because I alternate daily).  In the app, you can also set your daily goals.  There are preset goals but these can be adjusted.  I opted for the slowest weight loss option which I can always adjust later.  I'm pretty out of shape so I figured I should start slow.

In the app on the phone (or computer), you can log the food you eat.  My phone can use the camera to scan the barcodes on items for easy entry.  You can also create custom foods which I might do later for my recipes.  The app tracks the calories you have burned based on the Fitbit data versus the calories you log to tell you if you are under, over or just right.

When you are exercising, you can use the Fitbit or the app on the phone to log it.  I can press and hold the button on the Fitbit and it will time my workout.  If you are going for a walk or run, you can track this with the GPS on your phone.  I have done this and it creates a nice little GPS map of where you went and your distance as well as average heart rate and calories burned.

You can also wear the Fitbit while you sleep to track how long you have slept and also show the quality.  After you wake up, it creates a little graph of how long you slept and also shows periods of restlessness and if you woke up during the night.  This model tracks sleep automatically.

The Fitbit is easy to clean.  If it gets sweaty during a workout, I wipe it off with a washcloth.  I also swab the inside with rubbing alcohol each night to keep it clean so I don't have any skin irritation.

It is really interesting to see how much moving around I do during the day doing housework.  I have also started talking Adele for afternoon walks in her wagon to start getting in shape again.  In a few weeks, I might introduce some cardio.  So far, I like it as it constantly adjusts your calorie allotment based on your actual activity, not just some arbitrary number.

My husband told me that he was able to get this at a discount through a weight loss option with our health insurance.  So, if you decide to buy one, check with your employer and insurance company to see if any discounts are available.  Overall, I really like it.  The only thing I would change would be to make the caller ID compatible with my Windows Phone (it has the capability but it's not compatible with Windows Phone).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stitch from Stash Update - May 2015

Month: May
Carryover from April: $82.31
Amount spent: $2.48
Amount earned: $20
Carryover to June: $124.83

It's hard to believe it's time to report for May already.  The kids will be done with school two weeks from today.

I had three finishes this month.  My major finish was Fuji, which I have been working on since last May.

I finished one of the two ornaments I started last month with the Mill Hill beads I purchased.

Then I had the Berries needlebook which I started and finished in two days.  I made it for my mother who really liked it.

The only other WIP I worked on was Candy Cane Horse.  It is coming along nicely.

Next month is the last month is Stitch from Stash A.  I will probably do a WIP inventory versus my WIPs at the beginning of the year.  It should be interesting.  Still nothing on the job front so it's hard to say if I'll be stitching the fall away or working my tail off and stitching nothing.  Stay tuned.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Quail finish

I was able to finally finish the quail after the beads came in Friday.  I still need to add the personalization but otherwise, it's done and has earned me $4 for SFS.

Friday, May 15, 2015


I ordered the two colors of Mill Hill beads I was missing from 123 stitch and they arrived today.  I should be able to finish the Quail soon.

Meanwhile, I've been working on the Candy Cane Horse Ornament and making good progress.  I may have to buy another spool of Kreinik as it's disappearing off the roll.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Crochet Finish and some Quail Work

My husband showed me this very cute pattern of the Very Hungry Caterpillar for a newborn baby.  I decided to make one up as a present (and will include a copy of the book).  The pattern is available for free.  Look me up on Ravelry and there's a link.

I also am mostly done with the Quail Ornament.  I am just waiting on two colors of Mill Hill. I actually had enough of two of the colors.  I sorted and labeled the leftover beads from some Mill Hill kits that I've done and they come in handy.


After using the beads I had in my stash

Friday, May 8, 2015


Yesterday was a bit of a scary night as a tornado touched down just a few miles from us.  You could actually hear it out the front door.  Fortunately, it kept moving northeast and missed the populated areas.  Had it turned and moved east, it would have gone straight through town.  Pretty scary.

In non-scary news, I put some more stitches in my quail.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fuji Finish

I put in some stitching time today and completely finished Fuji.  I have a frame ready for it but I need to buy some more foam board to mount it on.  I was going to get some but we have scattered showers and I figured that the moment I came out of Michaels, the moment it would start pouring again.

I earn $4 for the last 50x50 page of Fuji

I'm going to have to use an 11"x14" frame to give you an idea of the size.

Pattern by Dimples Designs
Fabric: 32 ct. Antique White Linen
Fibers: DMC, Whisper (Rainbow Gallery)