Sunday, April 4, 2021

March round-up

I managed to get a fair amount of stitching in this month (mostly thanks to Spring Break) and even have three FFOs!

I did finish up the little Mill Hill kit from my birthday 123Sttich order that I mentioned last month. This design is called "Wine Glass" and it is now all finished up and stuck to my fridge.



And I framed Oppy (just using a press board and frame I already had in my stash):



And I did manage to finish the lighthouse AND frame it! I like doing the "before and after backstitch" photos, so those are first, followed by the framed picture. This was also finished with a press board and a frame from my stash (finally starting to use up all of those frames I've been collecting over the years on close-out sales.) Right now it's on the shelf behind me so it shows up over my shoulder on my constant Zoom meetings.





I've been keeping up with my Temperature Tree, so here's how that's looking now (through March 31):



I have one new start from March, or rather, re-start. I mentioned last month that I started on Celtic Seasons but then ripped it out since I wasn't happy with my stitching, but now I've re-started it. I'm still not 100% happy with how my stitching is coming out, but I've decided not to stress over it too much. I'm not trying to get a blue ribbon and this is just for me, so it doesn't have to be perfect. I'm going to stitch each season in that season, so I started Spring on the first day of spring! Here's where I am so far:



I also have a litle bit of haul from late in the month. I decided to start filling out my Mill Hill bead collection so I bought a couple Elizabeth Ward bead organizers (the one with the 78 mini containers) and I'm going to start adding a couple of bead packages on to all my 123Stitch orders. I had a pretty good organizing system before but since I want to keep adding more, I needed a system that was easier to add new things into (which my old one wasn't). I have a decent collection, but some of them are just remainders from various kits so I'm buying full packages of those colors too. And of course I added another little Mill Hill kit on my most recent order! Look for that one in an upcoming post since I'll probably start stitching on it soon.

That's it for this month - let's see how much I manage to do during a very busy April!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

February check-in

Well... that was certainly an interesting month! Given the big hiccup in the middle of it, I still managed to get some stuff done! (For those of you who haven't seen old posts, I'm in Texas... more about that below.)

I've continued to experiement with some non-stitchy crafts and I bought a 3-D puzzle kit by Robotime that was supposed to be a British Pub, but ended up being a British Music Shop. Apparently I wasn't the only one who had that issue, as I discovered when I went searching around to try to find someone who was selling the actual British Pub kit. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find one since all of the hits that came up in my searching had people commenting that the item was 'not as pictured' and was indeed the Music Store instead. Regardless, it was a cute kit and I'm glad I gave it a go. I have done a variety of 3-D puzzles over the years but this was the first one I did that was on wood. I also bought one of the dollhouse room kits that I've started to see pop up in crafty circles online, but I haven't started that yet. Here's the British Music Shop all finished:



I've been able to keep up with my Temperature Tree, which is now a record of the incredible weather we had last month. I wrote early last month:
[When] I saw what the temps were starting to look like, I decided to switch to the "Hot Temps" color scheme so I will probably get to use all of the colors. We've had a few days where the high was below the lowest temperature color, but I don't expect we'll have a whole lot more. We're expecting another cold snap next week, but I still think that will only mean 2-3 days with the coldest color leaf. We went through a cold patch a few weeks ago (and had 2-3 inches of SNOW!) and then quickly rebounded back into the 60s and 70s. And I have a feeling I'll be using all of those 100+ colors once we get into the summer months! Of course, with my luck, we'll end up having a polar vortex blast in Dec. 2021 and I'll have a completely pink branch or something.
I'll note that I posted that on February 7, so yes, we already had a good idea that we were expecting some more cold weather at that point. It ended up lasting a lot more than 2-3 days, which you can see clearly in the light pink at the end of the second branch up on the left. So in the end I didn't have to wait until December for a polar vortex blast and a pink branch. We got ice, then lots of snow (about 6" of the light, fluffy kind), then more ice, then more snow, then some melting, but overnight re-freezing... it was a hell of a week. I ended up not having electicity for a little over 80 hours and I had water issues on and off, but I never completely lost water so I was lucky in that respect. We've lost hot water at my apartment a couple more times, including for a couple of days last week, as they continue to do repairs from the storm.



I've also worked a little more on the lighthouse that I started last summer but then set aside to work on autumn/Halloween things. I guess all of that cold weather had me thinking of summery things, so I pulled it out and worked on it a bit more (there's a little more at the bottom if you compare it to the picture back in August 2020). I think I'm going to make it a focus for the rest of this month and try to finish it soon.



I actually managed to start AND FINISH a project in February and early March and I will probably have it fully finished (framed, in this case) today or tomorrow, so I'll show that next time. This is "Lost Opportunity" by SonovaStitch on Etsy - I saw several people posting it on the cross stich subreddit and I knew I had to do it! The was the first time in quite a while that I had done anything on black and I ended up buying a small lightboard to put on my desk under my stand to help me see the holes. I also noticed that black is definitely less forgiving of sloppy stitching, so that is something I'm definitely going to work on more in the future. Even though I've been stitching for 30 years there is still a lot I can improve!



I technically had another start in the month, but I decided to rip out what I had done and start again. I've had Celtic Seasons from the Vickery Colleciton in my pattern stash for ages and I decided to start it on a piece of 18 count black aida but I wasn't happy with how my stitching was coming out so I frogged it (see above about trying to improve my sloppy stitching). I started on the winter section, but after I ripped that out, I'm going to try again on the spring side. I think it's going to look amazing on black so don't want to completely give up on it!

Finally, I did a little brithday shopping from 123 Stitch and got some fabric, some thread conditioner (which I've never tried so I thought I finally would) and a couple of kits. Of course, one of the kits was another little Mill Hill kit! I'm working on that right now, so I'll show it next month since I know I'll finish it pretty quickly. And yes, I already have a ton of fabric but almost all of it is 28 and 32 count and I've decided to start playing around with 18ct aida again because it will make some of the larger projects I've been looking at become a bit more managable (yes, I know I could do 36 count instead but I'm pretty sure my eyes would never forgive me if I did). I've been getting some smaller, inexpensive cuts, such as 9"x13", to see the colors before getting larger cuts if I decide to use it on those projects I've been eyeing. Plus, I like the little cuts for ornaments and other small designs so it never goes to waste!

That's it for the February round-up! Since I'm taking Spring Break off, I expect to get a fair amount of stitching done in March. It's not like there's a whole lot else for me to do since I'm not vaccinated (like a whole lot of Texas) and our governor unwisely decicded to open everything back up starting next week, so I'm going to be extra careful for a while. Thankfully a lot of local businesses are keeping their mask requirements, but I'm still going to be cautious until I get my jabs!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

January check-in!

I want to do at least monthly check-ins this year but I realized I didn't actually do any stitching in January. Most years I would get dissappointed in myself over that BUT this time I'm not because instead of stitching I was working on other crafts! Neither really fall under the "whatever else I stitch together" but - eh - close enough. :)

A few years ago I bought a few Metal Earth kits and started into the Hubble Space Telesscope model only to realize that I needed to start with something a little more simple. So I bought a couple more kits and... they all sat in a bin for a few more years. But I decided this was the year I was finally going to do them! And once I got into a groove (and bought a nice little tool set) I managed to finish all four of them. I got a better as I went along too!

The first kit I finished was The TARDIS which ended up being my "learning experience" kit. It came out okay, but I broke the part on one of the doors that allows them to open and close. So now that it's on the shelf - I'm not moving it! But, lessons were learned.



Next up is the Hubble Space Telescope that was the one that I originally started with but hit PAUSE on until I got a little better at these kind of kits. And you can see in this photo that one of the big drawbacks to the Metal Earth kits is all the fingerprints you end up with on your model! Another lesson learned on this one was to be careful with the thin parts that stick up - I broke one of the antennae off (which would be a big problem if that happened to the real Hubble!).



After Hubble, I did the Neuschwanstein Castle kit, which I was pretty pleased with. I had an issue joining the main two sections and getting them to lay flat on the base, but isn't too noticeable. And I didn't break anything on this one!



And last but not least - the final one I did was the Millennium Falcon! Not surprisingly, it came out the best since it was the fourth one I put together. There were still a few tricky bits and I'm glad I saved it for last since I was able to take into account things I learned from doing the other ones. Getting curvy parts into the right shape is - at least for me - the hardest parts of these kits so if I do more of these eventually I'm going to have to seek out some tips and tricks for that. (I suspect that molding it around another object might be the key.)



The other thing I finally tried was diamond painting! Bought a little kit in the middle of 2020 but I didn't actually start on them until right the end of the year and I completed them about a week into the new year. When I went shoppping for a starter kit I kept finding all of these huge projects that I really didn't want, so I ended up with the ones you see below, which are actually meant to be stickers. I put them on index cards and I'm going to glue felt and magnets to the back and put them on my fridge eventully. I couldn't resist this kit of mostly Marvel characters with Supes and the Bat from DC thrown in randomly. I enjoyed trying diamond painting and I'll probably do some more eventually, but probably not any of those huge pictures I see some folks on FlossTune doing. These little things are more my speed (and what I have space for!)



That's it for the January round-up! I have already done some stitching in February, so I expect to have a few things to show in the next check-in. I'm now all caught up with my Temperature Tree for the year so far and once I saw what the temps were starting to look like, I decided to switch to the "Hot Temps" color scheme so I will probably get to use all of the colors. We've had a few days where the high was below the lowest temperature color, but I don't expect we'll have a whole lot more. We're expecting another cold snap next week, but I still think that will only mean 2-3 days with the coldest color leaf. We went through a cold patch a few weeks ago (and had 2-3 inches of SNOW!) and then quickly rebounded back into the 60s and 70s. And I have a feeling I'll be using all of those 100+ colors once we get into the summer months! Of course, with my luck, we'll end up having a polar vortex blast in Dec. 2021 and I'll have a completely pink branch or something. But I'll have photos of Temperature Tree next month, along with a few other things!

Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Wrap-up and Stitching Goals for 2021!

Happy New Year! We made it!

As I mentioned back in April, I had a big increase in my stitching time this year, although my stitching productivity still had some ups and downs over the course of the year. I finished the lettering on Wonders of Space so it's now off the q-snaps, washed, and ready to frame (or, more accurately, sit in my 'to be framed' bin for some unknown period of time). Here is it before I took it off the frame:


(the lighting was a little weird when I took the photo which is why it is oddly yellow-ish on the left side)

When I look back at my goals for 2020, I did okay. One goal was to keep up with and finish the Wonders of Space SAL, which I did! Other than that, I ended up mostly doing small-ish things. I ended up chucking the re-stitch of Lichtenstein Castle because I really wasn't happy with how it was coming out. Some of that was me, even with my magnifying lamp, having trouble seeing it. I got new glasses over the summer, so I think if I tried it again I could stitch it a lot neater. And I have a few WIPs that I ended up not touching... but that leads me to:

Goals for 2021!

- Keep up with my Temperature Tree. I think I'll do a week's worth of leaves on over each weekend most of the time. I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes out!

- Finish the lighthouse that I mentioned back in August. The pull of the fall/Halloween stuff proved too hard and the lighthouse did indeed end up in the neglected WIP pile.

- Do one large project from the two that have been in the WIP pile for ages. I really, really want to get one of those two large projects finished and off the q-snaps! I think I'm going to do "Fairy Cottage" from a Janlynn kit I bought ages ago. I did a tiny bit of stitching on it about 4.5 years ago and that's it (see below). And I switched out the kit fabric for a 28 ct opalescent lugana called "Autumn Blush" that I had in my stash.



Beyond that - I'm not sure! I haven't really figured out what's calling me from my stash of patterns and kits right now, but I'm sure something will strike my fancy.