Sunday, February 16, 2020

And now back to stitching

There are still boxes everywhere, and rooms to get "just so," but I'm tired, and a girl's gotta stitch, right?!?  Besides, my niece's loose teeth wait for no one!  So here's the (somewhat poorly photographed) results of a night of stitching, a bit of sewing, and several hours spent organizing/finding supplies/putting together a new sewing table.
Her older sister has a similar one, only her fairy is melon orange and pink.  I do my best to use their favorite colors - Maggie requested purple and blue.

Back to the unpacking!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Homeless No More!

Our closings went smoothly, and we're now homeowners again!  (It was a little scary there for a while, since our sellers gave us early entry but I was still nervous that our buyers might fall through.)  We are slowly unpacking and learning the quirks of our new home.  It was built in the 1960s, and parts of it are somewhat dated, but it was loved and well-cared for and it shows.  So far we've had all the bedrooms, the living room, den and half-bath painted.
living room - before
pink and pale, blah

living room - after.  So much warmer and cozy!  (I'm keeping the lighter drapes and carpet, at least for the time being)

The half-bath was wallpapered, and that HAD to go.

(The "after" picture was taken before the paint crew got the final coat of paint on - but you get the idea!)  I'm really looking forward to making this my "mermaid" bathroom, complete with stitched pieces.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Moving...but standing still.

I said last month that we'd be moving by Christmas....evidently I was wrong.  We're all set to buy this cute little multi-level -
- but we're still waiting on the folks who are buying our current home.  We accepted their offer at the end of October, but evidently their attorney and bank are holding up the process.  (They are using an out-of-town attorney and a large national bank with no local office - we, on the other hand, are using local people.  Makes a world of difference!)

We've heard all the criticism of multi-levels, how we'll hate aging in that kind of floor plan, etc etc, but this house suits us.  In terms of location, it is 25 minutes from my new workplace with a 30-35 minute commute in the other direction for my husband.  It is in a small town with a good school system, and - importantly around here - on a hill out of the flood plain of the Susquehanna River.  It has 4 bedrooms and 2 "bonus" family rooms, so my daughter gets a play room, I get a craft room, and the large basement rec room will eventually be the "Classy Nerd Cave" for all of us.  It has been loved and well-cared for by the previous owners, so while there are some updates/projects for us to do, there are no major repairs needed.  Right now, our to-do list is to 1) update the kitchen, 2) replace the concrete front steps with a small porch, and 3) widen the driveway so 2 cars can park side-by-side, or one can get out of the garage without the other needing to move.  Nothing critical or immediate!

A few more pics:
1) the dining room (with the wainscoting) and kitchen (where the table is).  In many houses of this model, the wall between the dining room and kitchen has been removed.  I think I might do that, in part because there is limited counter space and storage in the kitchen as it is.
 2) my future craft room!
 3) another view of the entry and where I envision my craft space to be.  The kitchen/dining are is to the left of this picture, you can just see the entrance to those rooms off the hallway.
I hope we can close in the next week or 2 - my daughter is enrolled in her new school, but the logistics of getting her to and from school will be very difficult/impossible if we haven't moved.  Classes resume 1/2 and I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that we can close 1/3....if not, she'll have to go back to her "old" school, where she said all her goodbyes and packed up all her stuff before Christmas break.  Moving with school-aged kids is TOUGH!!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thankful for so many things..., friends, and life in general.

And thank YOU for stopping by - I know I don't post much anymore.  But our house has sold, and we've found a place to buy, and we're hoping to close before Christmas!  We have to sell in order to buy, and arranging that timeline is no simple task.  I wish we could close on the new place sooner, and have a little breathing room to have some rooms painted and get some work done.  But unfortunately our finances just don't support that.  Ah well, I know we'll get there!

Despite the impending move, our Thanksgiving was lovely.  My parents came for dinner, and I made more than enough food to feed the 5 of us.  I think we'll be eating leftovers for weeks...  LOL

As far as crafting, I haven't been doing much.  Although I haven't packed everything yet, a good portion of my stash is in a storage unit (packed and removed from the house for showings).  I kept one basket of WIPs out, but between packing, my new 120-mile daily roundtrip commute, and other life stuff, I rarely have the energy to do much in the evenings.  :(  Heck, even cooking has been more than I can handle, and I hate to admit the amount of fast food that has found its way into our house in the past couple months.  But I just keep looking forward, knowing that hopefully with the new year my commute will be cut more than in half, and our new home will have an extra first floor room that I intend to make MINE for crafting.  No more basements, I'm moving up in the world!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Crafting in a Sea of Change

I saw a Grumpy Cat meme the other day that summed up my current life situation: 

In the midst of a work environment that had become toxic due to a terrible supervisor, I applied for a new job earlier this summer.  And I got it!  I'll still be a librarian, and still at a community college, but it is about an hour away from where we currently live.  Which means buying a new house...and selling our current house...and packing...and...and....and..... ARGH.

We're about 2 solid days of packing and cleaning away from being completely ready to list our place - I suppose we COULD list ASAP, but we don't have any pictures for the agent to create the listing.  If it sells at the price point the agent seems to think it will, we should be in the market for something quite nice (not super-fancy, but that's okay because that isn't my style anyway!).  It is just all this hurry-up-and-waiting that is making me crazy.

I walked into my basement craft cave, which I've been steadily stocking and creating in for almost 10 years, and wanted to cry.  SO.  MUCH.  STUFF!  Part of me says, "get rid of it, you'll NEVER finish it," while another part of me says "...but that is such an awesome Crafty Plan!!  Keep it!"  Sigh.  And it is so nicely organized, too.  I do have one big box of old patterns that I don't intend to keep, but I just don't know if I have the time or patience to list them all on a stash site.  They may be donated, I just can't decide!  But in my flustration (yes, that's what I intended to type), I had to sit down and Make.  Here's the result -
Another half doll.  This is GPA's "Alayne" pattern, first published the December 2012 issue of The Gift of Stitching (I think it is available as a stand-alone pattern now).  Again, I used a different doll, and used dark green floss where the pattern called for black - since my doll's bodice had a bit of green in it.  The variegated is Romy's Creations "Nougat Blue" as called for, and then DMC gold metallic.  The assembly for this one was bit different from the one I put together, and I think my doll's base might have been a bit more petite than the pattern was designed for.  No matter, I know where the flaws are but I don't think they are terribly visible!  And the pins I just threw together from my bead box.

All my ladies, posing together with my in-progress Seaside Angel!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Too Hot to....Stitch?

Is that possible?

Yes.  Yes it is.
"It's Hot!" poem by Shel Silverstein
Especially this past weekend...100+ degrees Fahrenheit (that makes it about 38 Celsius), humid, and absolutely gross.  Also, our living room AC unit - an old wall installation, not central air - died last week, and I just got on the contractor's schedule to have central air installed.  Of course, that didn't help at all over the weekend!  (It will be a bit pricey, but I think it will be worth it.  Even if we move, it will be a nice selling point.)

I DID stitch something - I fished a small kit from Celebrations of Needlework out of my stash.  Here is "Into the Deep Blue" by the Primitive Hare.
There were some buttons to attach as "bubbles," but I thought it made everything look a bit crowded, so I left them off.  Obviously the handful of beads is just scattered there for photographic purposes!  I did add the little bead in her hand - I liked the idea that she had a bit of treasure in her grasp.  I also already have a finishing idea, but just need to sit down and assemble it.

Back in early July I dropped off a piece with a new-to-me framer.  The price wasn't terrible, and I think he did at least as good a job as the chain craft he seemed quite knowledgeable about what to do and what not to do with needlework.  The frame selection wasn't huge, so I don't know how often I'll use him, but it was a nice experience overall.  Here's the finished product - 
This is Dragon Fire Designs' "Once Upon a Time" pattern, from the April 2005 issue of Just Cross Stitch.  I'm amazed that I actually STITCHED it (and finished it!) in April of 2005, too!  LOL  The fabric is Sugar Maple Fabrics "Jewels" linen.  I remember thinking that when this was done, it looked like Hogwarts at sunset.  I let my daughter paw through the Bin of Unfinished Finishes to pick the piece we'd have framed, and I wasn't surprised when she settled on this one.  I also was not surprised when she zeroed in on the purple frame.  :)

One final find to share - I was at the thrift shop on my monthly poke-about, hunting for interesting frames and other doo-dads to re-purpose for finishing, when I found this.
It is crewel, not cross stitch, but it is just pretty.  The framing is perfect, and I think it has a wonderful timeless feel to it - especially impressive after I turned it over and saw that someone had written on the back "Christmas - December 25 1978."  (I giggled that they felt the need to clarify that Christmas was on December 25.)  Unfortunately, the stitcher didn't sign it anywhere that is visible.  However, I'm still pretty sure it wasn't a mass-produced thing, in part because of the date info and also because there is a sticker from an old local frame shop on it.  Either way, I like it, and it now hangs in my guest bedroom!  I don't typically feel the need to rescue needlework - I know that tastes change.  Heck, I think I've donated some of the things I've stitched myself, simply because they didn't suit my decor and I didn't want them anymore.  I get a little annoyed when people think that everything that ends up in a resale shop was discarded as trash.  If you find it and love it, great!  Take it home, hang it on the wall, turn it into a pillow, make a scrap quilt of Found Needlework, whatever.  In the end it is all just Stuff, and we can't treasure everything forever...

Monday, July 15, 2019

Jo's "The People Choose.....Finishing!" SAL

I haven't been terribly motivated to stitch lately - I blame the horrible heat.  We've finally caved and are seriously investigating having central AC installed!  But Jo's theme for this month was Finishing, and I DO love (or hate, depending on how well my skills match up with my mental picture) my finishing projects, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

My first finishes were standard frames - I also started out stitching larger projects, so the concept of a "small" was very foreign!  My framing adventures began in the early 2000s.
"Marsh Marigolds", from an old issue of Cross Stitch & Country Crafts, stitched on Aida and framed for my mom

"Woodland Sampler" by Something in Common, stitched on a gray hand-dyed evenweave
Then I started experimenting with sewing, and learned to make pillows.  Some of the first ones were a bit wonky, but I've gotten better over time!  Here are 2 of my favorites.
JBW Designs "To the Sea"
Little House Needleworks "Moon and Stars"
Ornaments grew naturally out of pillows (although it took me quite some time to figure out how to make laced ornaments in different shapes and such).  Finishing ornaments is actually quite fun for me, as long as I'm feeling inspired and have the right fabrics and trims on hand.  Which could explain all the craft stash.... LOL
one of my favorites, a Heart in Hand Santa that I stitched for my niece
I have tried to stitch an annual ornament for my daughter, but haven't quite kept up.  :(  I fell off about 2 or 3 years ago....but who knows, I might catch up eventually.

Once I found smalls and figured out ornament finishing, I really let the creative ideas run wild.  There are so many interesting ways to attach and display a flat-mounted piece!  I know there are a lot of bloggers and Flosstubers out there who show off amazing finishes, so I'll try to keep this short.  My favorites usually involve 3-D embellishments of some kind.
Tim Holtz assemblage clock with a teeny bear inside
Prairie Schooler design in a shadow box with trowel and embellished daisies

And of course, the mermaids.  I don't know what it is about mermaids that I love so much - maybe it is as simple as the colors?  But these projects always make me smile.
"The Little Mermaid" from a Danish kit, finished in a shadow box with minis

Shepherd's Bush mermaid sampler, finished in a lighthouse with a flamework glass mermaid I acquired while vacationing in Cape Cod

"Miranda", a pattern/kit from White Lyon Needleart
So there you have it, a taste of my finishing style.  I really don't mind finishing, it is just finding the time and inspiration to DO it that bogs me down sometimes.  If you want to see more of the things I've made, just click the "finishing" tag in the column on the right side of my blog!  I didn't even include any of my re-finished jewelry boxes in this post, but you can see them there.