Sunday, September 7, 2014

Greek Mandala 10

I realized last week that although all my patterns were with the movers I could still work on my Greek Mandala since I work with the pattern on my computer instead of having a working paper copy. It has been over a year since this came out to play, which is odd since it's one of my favorite patterns to work.

Before:

After:




Definitely still loving this stitch and will continue until I finish the windmills.

The movers brought our stuff on Friday, which was a total ordeal. I got a call around 7:15 asking if I would be able to accept shipment today by 2pm. I said yes, so they gave me a phone number where I could go to pay for the move, which had to be taken care of before delivery. I call the number and they inform me that I went "way" over the weight estimate and would have to pay. Our weight estimate was 2,500 pounds and when we moved to Texas we weighed in at 2,070 (we really don't have a lot of stuff). The lady informed me that we weighed in at 4,250 pounds. And that's when I went to battle. I couldn't see how, after getting rid of furniture and packing up two cars full instead of the one we had before, we would come in at over twice the weight we had. After several phone calls, the company agreed to do a re-weigh for me.

I met the moving guys who had picked up my stuff at a set of scales not far from my new home. Immediately they told me that when they weighed in in Midland there was "debris" on the scales. HMMMM. So many excuses so quickly.... They came drove to our home, unloaded our stuff, and then we drove back to the scales. We came in at 2,710 pounds. 1,500 pounds less than they were claiming at first. 1,500 pounds we would have had to pay for had it not been for my "bad attitude." I consider it a complete success.

In other, happier, news, we did the food tasting at the venue the other day as well as seeing it for the first time after our original venue burned to a fiery crisp. The food was exquisite and I'm very happy with the venue. The inside has open-beamed peaked ceilings with twinkling lights and the whole thing is set on the water over the bay with some gorgeous million dollar homes and hills in the background. The only thing I'm worried about is that the ceremony space might not fit all the guests but either they'll fit or we'll move the ceremony indoors. Those are our only two options, I think. I would rather have it outside, though, if at all possible.

I think that's it for me for now. I'm working on unpacking everything and getting settled, but things are going fairly well. The Battle of the Movers has been won, and I can stitch in piece once I find everything.

Happy stitching, everyone! Wedding is in 27 days (eep!!)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

California!

No stitching in this post, but some news!

It has been an absolute crazy couple of weeks. The 17th through the 19th Handsome Helpful Fiancé and I went to Austin. Then I drove to Dallas and was there the 21st through the 23rd to pick up my mom and do my last dress fitting. The 23rd I drove my mom back to Midland and we started packing. The movers were coming either the 26th or the 27th but we weren't exactly sure which day and were told we wouldn't know until 24 hours before the movers arrived. I was impatient and I called on the 25th and found out they would come on the 27th so we had an extra day to pack. Thank goodness.

We packed and the movers came right on time on the 27th. It took them 2.5 hours to load all our stuff into the truck. It would have taken us two days to do the same amount of work. Even so, we seemed to have a ton of stuff left over to go in the cars. We started driving it out to my friend Whitney's house where we were spending the night before making the great drive back to California. We had until 5:30ish to get everything done since we wanted to leave early the next morning and we had to do the walkthrough before the office closed for the day.

This was extremely stressful.

We managed to get all our stuff out and my mom cleaned like nobody's business. But we did it. We got the walkthrough done at 5 and turned the keys in. I can't describe the stress levels that were going on at this time. But we all got through it.

We spent the night at Whitney's house and set out early the next morning, hitting the road by 7:15. We drove 10 hours and got to Tucson safe and sound, where we met up with HHF's family, had some Mexican food, and promptly fell into a dead sleep for 9 hours. Woke up the next morning, had some hotel breakfast, and proceeded to drive for 15 hours until we got to our California destination.

It was hellish.

Here are some things I have learned:

- Don't put off packing until the last moment. Ever. Do a little bit every day, but do it.
- Driving for 15 hours straight is awful.
- If you have to drive for 15 hours straight, be prepared for it to start getting really bad around hour 12. At hour 13 you start telling yourself stories to keep yourself entertained. At hour 14 (after the sun has set) you imagine that your car is a TARDIS traveling through space and that the headlights of oncoming traffic are shooting stars. I wish I was making this up.
- Los Angeles traffic is ungodly. Seriously. It's the worst.
- I cannot describe how much I missed In n Out burger.
- Don't underestimate topography. Ever.

All in all, however, we made it safe and sound and have been recovering from the move ever since. The wedding dress made it to California with us and hardcore wedding planning is in full swing.

In other, completely unrelated news, I'm training for a marathon! Hopefully I can make it to the London marathon in 2016. At least that's my ultimate goal. Hopefully it all works out!

My stitching stuff came with me in the car, but my patterns went with the movers so I'm waiting on those to come back. Until then, I'm knitting and wedding planning and enjoying being back in a place I love.

35 days until the wedding!

Happy stitching, everyone!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

College 62

With the wedding and the move coming closer, and my newly discovered love of knitting, getting stitching done has proven to be difficult. But I have persevered!!!

Before:

After:

Looking at the side-by-side I guess I did more than I thought!

Handsome Helpful Fiancé and I have turned in our resignations from work and our last day will be August 15. We're moving in about 3.5 weeks. I guess that means I should start packing, but it still feels too early. I've definitely started going through things, though, giving stuff away, donating things, throwing other things away that I don't even know why I kept, etc. Today I'm relaxing but tomorrow I guess I'll tackle the first bookshelf, go through papers, file stuff, shred stuff, etc. Today: laundry and stitching.

I have been knitting a lot lately. Part of it has to do with the discovery of a super nerdy and awesome yarn store called Gnome Acres. They have gorgeous yarn and SUPER FAST shipping in nerdy themes. I keeled over at the Loki yarn and ended up buying out the stock. I immediately started making a wide scarf and am absolutely LOVING the variegated effect. It will look AWESOME when it's done. I might have to buy another skein when it's back in stock to make it as long as I want it to be, but I'm way okay with that.

I have also been working on intarsia knitting, something that is completely and totally new to me. And, of course, I started with an insanely difficult pattern, because that's how I roll. It's not perfect, but I'm quite proud of my progress so far. I'll post knitting pictures when I'm either done with a project (likely the Loki scarf) or when I have a good amount of progress (with the intarsia).

Once I move back home to California my stitching methods will have to change. We'll be living with my parents for a bit, so I'll have to go back to stitching College in secret. Plus I'll have to figure out how to stitch the secret stitching in secret. I thought about trying to finish it before moving, but that's basically going to be impossible. I can, however, do as much of it as I possibly can.

So with that, the stats for this week:

Days until wedding: 62
Anticipated completion date for College: 12/1/2016
Anticipated completion date for "secret stitching": 3/13/2016

Happy stitching!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

College 61

Amid all the chaos, I still managed to get some stitching in.

Before:


After:



I'm getting pretty close to the end of the page, about 2,700 stitches to go. I almost always stitch faster when nearing the end of a page so maybe another 2-3 weeks and I can call page 15 done!

Life here has been pretty good, lately. I feel like everything is calming down, even with the wedding now being less than 3 months away. Things are neatly falling into place. I'm amazed at how I went from big things to detail work almost seamlessly. One day I'm worrying about the venue (granted, it did burn down) and now I'm ordering favors and working on centerpieces as RSVPs start coming in. Handsome Helpful Fiancé is in charge of the music (I have told you guys that he's a musician, right? He used to play in our University's orchestra!) so I'm not worrying about that as he's in his domain with that. He also set up the band (live jazz band!). So things are going well with the wedding (knock on wood).

I got a copy of World of Cross Stitch from Jo (of Serendipitous Stitching) and it's wonderful! Thank you, Jo! Handsome Helpful Fiancé went through the magazine page by page and found designs he wants me to stitch for the wedding to set up around tables. So I guess I better get started on that! The designs to go well with our theme so that's good and they seem pretty easy. I need to go out and buy some fabric and then I'll post pictures as they're stitched up.

Other than that, life has been about decompressing. Work has been pretty stressful lately, and I've been a bit out of sorts, but I'm trying to focus on happy things. Stitching, of course, has been a great stress relief. I have also been writing a lot - something I used to do obsessively a long time ago and had stopped doing. For some reason, however, the writing bug has returned full force after probably ten years of absence and I'm not complaining. The only problem is that I only seem to be able to write starting at about 10pm while in bed with the lights low. This usually means I don't stop until somewhere between 12 and 1am and the next day I'm a zombie. So I gotta work on that. Maybe create some sort of writing sanctuary.

My last announcement before I leave you for the week is that I've started another blog. Yes, yes, I know, I've said this before. I think the reason I haven't been able to keep up with those was because they weren't topic-focused. They were about me. I seem incapable of carrying on a blog that's just about me. Perhaps I've found a nice niche, though, with this latest attempt: Early Grey and a Good Book. There won't be any stitching on there, but other fun stuff, mostly of the literary variety.

I'll post a picture or two from my recent visit to Roswell, NM, after the stats. My co-worker (and dear friend) and I ended up going last weekend, having no idea that we were there for the 67th anniversary - to the day. There was a little festival going on and we went through the UFO Museum, which was also fun. So there you go.

Happy stitching, everyone!

Stats:
Days until wedding: 83
Anticipated completion date for "secret stitching": 5/13/2016
Anticipated completion date for College: 10/30/2016




Sunday, June 29, 2014

College 60

I wanted to update last week but I hadn't done enough stitching to really show anything. I barely have enough to show anything this week, but here goes!

Before:

After:

Thank you everyone for the kind words and emails! I will keep writing this blog for as long as life allows.

Speaking of life, it has definitely thrown some curve balls at me lately. But we are persevering and plunging on ahead. I'm insisting on focusing on the positives rather than the negatives, like the fact that RSVPs are starting to come back for the wedding! My final dress fitting is scheduled as is my hair and makeup trial. Our wedding bands are in. The band is confirmed. Of course there is still a TON to do. Slowly but surely we're getting everything done. Plus getting ready to move. I haven't started packing yet but I've slowly started to go over all my things and picking things out to donate, sell, etc.

Not a whole lot going on here, so I'm hoping (knock on wood) that my string of bad luck for the year is finally over and that the rest of the year will go well. Pretty, pretty please!

I've also been extremely nostalgic lately. Reading my old blog posts, old e-mails, facebook messages, etc. Maybe it's the upcoming move, the upcoming wedding, or the fact that my 10 year high school reunion was last night (I couldn't attend). I don't know. It hasn't been a bad feeling, just a realization of how crazy my life used to be. Sometimes it feels like I'm reading about episodes from some soap opera.

Today I'm taking the day "off" and just doing laundry, watching some Netflix, and stitching. And boy does it feel good. Last night we had a birthday party for a friend. She's a huge Hobbit (read: Richard Armitage) fan so we threw her a themed party. We're a little crazy.


The stats:
Days until wedding: 97
Anticipated completion date for "secret stitching": 5/11/2016
Anticipated completion date for College: 11/13/2016

Sunday, June 15, 2014

College 59 and Blogger of the Month

I know it has been a few weeks. It has been a busy, crazy couple of weeks (I seem to be saying that a lot lately). More on that later. For now, here's my progress. There's not a huge amount of it, but there's some!

Before:

After:


It's only 62% done, but I feel like I'm in the home stretch. I'll probably be saying that for a few years. But that's okay.

So what has been going on. First, Handsome Helpful Fiancé and I have decided to pick up and move back to California. There's a variety of reasons for this, but ultimately it's for the best and we're happy with our decision. This, of course, means that I now have to organize a cross country move. There's was a flurry of getting estimates from movers, figuring out a timeline, final dress fitting (in Dallas) etc. etc. My mom will be flying out, going to my final dress fitting with me, coming back and helping us pack, and then helping us drive out to California. So that will be happening at the end of August.

Then, wedding planning. The invitations are going out next week so I HAD to finish the registries. Since one of our registries is a honeymoon registry I had to finish booking cars, hotels, etc. I find the perfect hotel that has everything we wanted for the right price and decide to book it. It was also the last room available. So I book it and a few minutes later get a call from my credit card company. They decide that the transaction is too suspicious and they cancel it. Now, I'm all for credit card security, etc., but I feel that if I book plane tickets to a foreign country and then use the same card to book a hotel room in said country, that shouldn't be suspicious. But they decided it was and canceled the whole transaction, telling me to rebook the hotel. However, it's the last room and is now showing up as booked so I can't. The guy on the phone doesn't seem to understand that and seems to be stuck in a loop just telling me I "simply have to rebook" over and over. Not very helpful.

Now, I never pull out the "I'm a bride" card because that's just not me. I believe a wedding is a time to be happy and share in friends and family. But when you cancel my honeymoon hotel and then don't listen to me, I'm going to be unhappy. Soon, I had the poor guy making phone calls to the hotel, trying to sort it out, but he kept claiming that he couldn't get through. I voiced my unhappiness with the credit card and hung up. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not an unreasonable person. But I have had many problems with this credit card. It keeps cancelling my transactions, flagging them as suspicious. Especially the kinds of transactions they flagged as suspicious including my bridal alterations and my honeymoon hotel. The good news is that I was able to Skype-call the hotel, they ran the card again with me on the phone, and we got the room. Yay!

This made me want to check the status of my other hotels, just because I got a bad feeling. There was one hotel I had to book over the phone instead of online, without receiving a confirmation. They had charged my credit card so I wasn't too worried but I figured that while I'm at it, I might as well confirm. So I call the hotel. Apparently, the hotel had been sold. The new owners cancelled all previous reservations but didn't inform anyone because they decided it "wasn't their problem." No refunds were issued because it "wasn't their problem." No contact information for the previous owners was given when I asked for it because it "wasn't their problem." I had booked this one with a different credit card, with FANTASTIC customer service, so I called them quickly to dispute the charge. Why should I have to pay for a hotel that cancelled my reservation without notifying me?

But that's not the end of my story. The next day, Handsome Helpful Fiancé and I are sitting down to watch a show. I was in the kitchen getting some snacks together and when I sat down I had a voice mail waiting for me. It was a guy from a U-Haul company in Arizona stating that they believe my card had been used fraudulently to purchase some items from them online and they wanted to let me know. This is the same credit card that had cancelled my honeymoon hotel. So I quickly call the card and suspend it. Whoever stole the number managed to rack up $500 in charges in a few hours. I won't be responsible for those charges. I called the man in Arizona back to thank him. There are still good people in this world.

So I was having a bit of a rotten week. As I'm getting ready for work Friday, I get an email from Jo (of Serendipitous Stitching) with the subject line, "Blogger of the month." Intrigued, I opened it immediately. Turns out that WOCS magazine has named me Blogger of the Month in issue 218! I have no idea how this happened but I'm honored and flattered. So to the fine folks at WOCS, thanks so much! I hope everyone enjoys reading my ramblings as much as I enjoy writing them. Handsome Helpful Fiancé insists that it is his presence in my blog that has helped me become "an award winning blogger" (as he puts it).

When I told my friends about it in a group text, their reactions were hilarious. They have decided that since WOCS is from the UK, I am now English and will receive free meals and entry into restricted areas with obligatory luncheons with British celebrities in Buckingham Palace, and the Orangery in Kensington Palace Gardens and they will ride my coattails. My friends are, by the way, crazy anglophiles (as am I). There was also something about birthday parties, ponies, and champagne fountains.

So now that I've written a novel and likely bored you all to tears, here are the stats for the week:
Days until wedding: 111 (holy crap!)
Anticipated completion date for "secret stitching": 4/12/2016
Anticipated completion date for College:  10/28/2016

Happy stitching, everyone!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

College #58

Not as much stitching done this week as I expected, but more than I used to get done with school. I did a lot on my secret stitching piece and got it up to 21% finished. It's not a huge piece and 1% is about 250 stitches. I'm going to a friend's for a stitching hang out today so I'm hoping to bump it up 1-2 more percent today. Cross your fingers!

I have also been working on my AAN Halloween SAL and am about halfway through part 2. I'll post a picture when I finish this part. Part 4 has already been released so I have a bit of catching up to do, but part 2 is the biggest so parts 3 and 4 should go by a lot faster.

With all that in mind, I still managed to put a decent dent in College.

Before:

After:



And with all that stitching going on I still managed to get some wedding planning done. Handsome Helpful Fiancé and I bought our wedding rings this past week. And his little cousin who is going to be our flower girl got her dress. Our reprinted (grumble grumble) invitations came in and I got the enclosure cards done. This week's to do is to finish the registry. I wanted to thank everyone for all the ideas you sent me! We've decided to do a honeymoon registry but also wanted to do a traditional registry for anyone who might not be comfortable with a honeymoon registry. Going to keep it pretty simple, though.

We've had thunderstorms all weekend which is a nice change from blistering heat. I woke up at 5:30 this morning to the sound of thunder, flashes of lightning, and pouring rain. It hardly ever rains out here, so when it does it's a big deal. It also means that we get flash floods.

I'm still waiting on one of my grades (they're due May 28th) but in one of my classes I ended up getting 100% - grad school win! I have to say, I'm loving freedom. Granted, free time still feels really weird to me. It feels like I'm being lazy instead of relaxing, even when everything is clean, dinner is cooked, the fridge is stocked, etc. I'll get used to it, though. And stitching is just so relaxing and wonderful.

So the stats:
Days until wedding: 132
Anticipated completion date for "secret stitching": 7/19/2016
Anticipated completion date for College:  9/28/2016