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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

College #57

Thank you everyone who gave me encouraging words both here and on facebook regarding my grad school success. It means a lot to me. So far I know that I passed my final portfolio (like a thesis) and I got 100% on another class. Still waiting on my third, and final, grade, but I'm hoping for the best. I will find out May 23rd.

The first day, I didn't know what to do with myself. I was dizzy and stressed out and just wanted to sleep. Which is exactly what I did. But when, about five days later on Friday, I didn't feel better I finally went to the doctor. Turns out my ears are clogged which is causing the dizziness and general gross feelings. So that prohibited stitching because dizziness plus stitching don't mix very well. But I managed just over 1,000 stitches anyway! Yay for no school!

Before:

After:

After two years it feels really good to be able to stitch for extended periods of time again without guilt. Granted I still feel guilt. I still have sensations of having to do homework, if not now then in a week or a month I will have to. But I don't. Hurrah!! That puts my degree count at four, which is more than plenty. My parents have forbidden me from any more graduate studies. I'm really okay with that.

In my last bit of stitching news, I did buy (yet another) pattern. This is one that I've been eyeing for about a year and yesterday Martina posted that it is being retired so really I had no choice but to buy it. Right? Right. Here it is, Old English Walled Rose Garden by Chatelaine Designs:

I haven't bought the kit for it yet. I'll be putting it on my birthday wish list. But it's going to look so lush and beautiful once it's done. I have a rotation of smaller patterns that I work on. I don't put the progress of those up here until they're done, because they are smaller patterns and I think this one would be included in one of those rotations once Greek Mandala is finished, since I would need the scroll bars for it.

So that's it! The stats for the week:
Days until wedding: 139
Anticipated completion date for "secret stitching": 10/7/2016
Anticipated completion date for College: 10/28/2016
Anticipated completion date for Library Adventures: 4/26/2020

Happy stitching, everyone!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Library Adventures, page 24 finish!

I'm a day early, I know, but exciting news is that I finished page 24 of Library Adventures! It was a smaller page so it didn't take very long, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Before:

After:

I think the page looks really good! You can see the dragon tails and the scales. I'm pretty excited about it. But, it's going away now for a while and I'll be taking College out again, hoping to get another page finish on that.

There's not much excitement here. I'm only a few days away from finishing my grad school program. Besides that, wedding planning is in full swing as there's less than 5 months left. I have reordered the wedding invitations (grumble grumble), set up the rehearsal, and now I'm working on the wedding registry, which is a bit of a pain since Handsome Helpful Fiancé and I have been living together for two years and we have pretty much everything we need. Can't I just register for stitching patterns? I'm surprisingly not stressed out, though. Considering my venue has already burned down and I had to find another one, everything from that point on is pretty stress-free.

In more stitching-related news, The Crafty Princess has been a bad, bad girl and RAK'd me this beauty:

I'm so excited! He's gorgeous! Though stitching all that black is going to be a new experience for me. I'm ready for it! I swear, when I'm financially secure I will return all this generosity I've been receiving. The stitching community is so full of wonderful people who are far too kind to me.

This week's stats:
Days until end of school: 3
Days until wedding:147
Anticipated completion date for "secret stitching": 7/21/2016
Anticipated completion date for College: 1/19/2017
Anticipated completion date for Library Adventures: 1/9/2019