Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Year in Review, Goals, and Resolutions

This might be a long post so grab a cuppa and settle in. Unless you don't like reading my blog and are only here for stitching, which I'll keep at the top of this post.

There hasn't been as much stitching this year as I would have liked, but grad school is over now and we completed our move and got married, so perhaps 2015 will bring more on the stitching front. So the way I'll do this is by project that had progress this year.

Still Life with Parrot (aka Flapping Parrot)

Where I left it in 2013:

Where it is now:

College of Magical Knowledge (aka College)

Where I left it in 2013:

Where it is now:

Library Adventures

I started Library Adventures in 2014 and this is where I got with it:

Greek Mandala

Where I left it in 2013:

Where it is now:

Like I said, not a super huge amount of stitching done, but when I look back at 2014 it was a really busy year. I finished grad school (and I already have my diploma so I know I finished it). Then we moved halfway across the country which was not super fun. I do love to drive, though, and it was fun to see so much of the US. We made it right before the huge flooding hit the south and southwest. And then barely a month later we got married, followed by a trans-Atlantic honeymoon. Busy busy busy! So really, I only worked on three projects, but 2015 will be the year of stitching, and with any luck, the year of at least one BAP finish!

Stitching Goals for 2015:

-Finish College of Magical Knowledge
-Finish Curl Up QS
-Try to finish Secret Stitching
-Mario through page 21
-Finish Riding the Wave
-3 Pages of Medieval Shelf
-Middle "Earf" through page 6
-Greek Mandala through part 6
-Flapping Parrot through page 10
-Library Adventures pages 19-23
-Space Traveler through page 9
-10% of Empress
-10% of Stormy
-Rows 1-10 of Trick or Treat
-Finish AAN Halloween SAL

So there you go. I will probably not make it. But that's ok. I'm the sort of person who needs set goals in order to feel accomplished even if I don't make the goals. It gives me something to work towards. I'm pretty excited and determined.

Which brings me to New Year's resolutions. Some of them are pretty stereotypical and some are unique, but they are what they are and here goes.

-Finish a half marathon and start training for a full marathon
-Lose weight (yeah, yeah I know)
-Meditate at least 15 minutes a day
-Knit through my yarn stash
-Finish Skyrim and Assassin's Creed
-Get more organized
-Write more (aiming for 750 words per day)

I went out and bought a hydration belt for my long runs - I have started breaking 7 miles now and running that long without water is murder so I got a nice belt and I'm super excited to run with it - I have a feeling my runs will get better now that I won't be dying of dehydration mid-run.

Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to share a RAK I received from the wonderful and beautiful Crafty Princess

She is delightful, isn't she? Thank you Crafty Princess!

So with that, I'm off to run for a few hours (yup, hours). I wish you all a happy and fabulous 2015. Stay safe, have fun, and happy stitching!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Library Adventures update 5 and College update 66

I have had multiple friends and family members announce that they're pregnant in the last two weeks, so I've been knitting baby blankets like a fiend. But I have also been stitching like a fiend. Library Adventures shows more progress, I think, even though I've put more stitches into College. Either way, here's an update on both.

Library Adventures before:

Library Adventures after:

College before:

College after:

There are about 2790 stitches left in this page of College and 1028 stitches left in this page of Library Adventures. So far I'm on track for finishing this page of College by January 7 and Library Adventures by December 31.

The last couple of days haven't been super awesome. I'm pretty sure I got sick and at the same time got food poisoning so I've been trying to pull myself out of both. So for the past four days I've had a constant tension headache as well as a sinus headache, nausea, ringing in the ears, and just a general feeling of grossness. A friend of mine was also in a bind, needing someone to take care of his dog for three weeks while he went home for Christmas break. He wanted to take his dog with him but his mom wouldn't let her (the dog) into the house, so we took her in. She's very sweet and seems to think she's a cat. But that's just an added responsibility, which I think has contributed to the tension headache. Add caffeine withdrawal symptoms as I haven't had coffee since food poisoning and general symptoms that go hand in hand with not eating for four days and I'm kind of a mess. I went for a short run yesterday and I'm trying to eat again but I still feel a little queasy. Hopefully I'll be back on track in a few days.

Christmas is coming, too, and that's always exciting. We've been cooking for a few days, H³ was on Pierogi making duty, my mom made cheesecake and Bigos, I just started soaking the beans for some Ukranian Barszcz. But there's still a lot more to cook.

Anyway, now that you know way more than you need to about what's going on in my body and my kitchen, I'm going to go be a slug and stitch. Happy stitching, everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Knitting Finish!

As I (think) I mentioned in a previous post, I've been working on a knitting project for my flower girl. I meant to have it done for her for the wedding, but decided I had enough stress with the wedding itself that I would make it for her as a Christmas gift. Her mom said she liked "fancy scarves" so, of course, I had to knit her one.

I purchased the Ibiza Lace Wrap pattern from Knitting Buzz Designs (available on Ravelry) and I used Miss Babs Yazmin in My Kelley with number 3 needles. I also knitted the scarf instead of the wrap as the wrap was far too large for a 9 year old girl.

Here's a picture of us at the wedding, by the way:

She is completely adorable. Best flower girl EVER.

So, naturally, I made her a scarf that made me want to kill myself. H³ was sweet enough to model the finished product.

So handsome!

If you've heard about the rains in California on the news, we made it out okay. The area I live in didn't get hit too hard, but we did get about 3.5 inches of rain in 24 hours.

H³'s car did get broken into this morning, however. They broke the driver's side window and then ran away when the alarm went off. Not that there was anything in there to steal since we don't leave valuables in the car.

So I did some shop therapy and now I'm going to stitch. Will update soon!

Monday, December 8, 2014

College 65 and Library Adventures 4

Updating on two projects today! It's kind of fun working on multiple projects at once. I'm trying to keep up on my "daily quota" of College to finish it in time but I also want to work on my other projects because I love them. So I work on College for a little bit and then move on. So, without further ado, here are the results.

College before:


Just over 2,000 stitches total in on that one and you can see outlines starting to come in. I think it looks pretty neat!

Library Adventures before:

Library Adventures after:

Not as much done on that one but starting to put some more stitches in.

I finally finished the scarf for my flower girl, but I have to block it so once it's done I'll post a photo - likely in next week's post. It came out pretty well but I must say I hate grafting. So I will likely not be doing that again if I can avoid it.

Not much else to report here, I'm sorry to say. Got my informational e-mail about the half-marathon so training is going strong on that. I'm slowly getting better but I've discovered that the secret of my success is in the music I listen to when I run (the Thor 2 and X-Men: First Class soundtracks are particularly good at cutting my times, believe it or not). I'm also trying to figure out this whole inner peace and positivity thing. Sometimes I feel like I've nailed it whereas other times I sit there wondering what it is I'm supposed to do and how. Just gotta keep working on it, I guess!

Happy stitching, everyone!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

College #64

I have been on a crazy stitching spree. It has been focused on College of Magical Knowledge mostly because I'm still working on that lace scarf for my flower girl (almost done!) so I knit that during the day and then stitch in the evening. I have managed to put in a little over 1,000 stitches on College since the page finish. I catch myself thinking about how close I am to finishing it and then I realize that I'm actually not that close, it just feels comparatively close in comparison with how much I've already done.



It doesn't really look like 1,000 stitches but it's there. As of right now, if I stitch an average of 141 stitches per day on College, I can finish it in one year. That should give me time to wash it, iron it, and have it framed in time for Christmas. And now that grad school is done and the wedding is over, I should have more time, theoretically. There are some life things in the works right now and we'll see where those go but I'm cautiously optimistic. A lot of things got put on hold due to grad school so I'm hoping to pick up where I left off. This page of College features the staircase, and I'm super excited to watch it come in.

I've also been on a general stitching kick, wanting to stitch absolutely everything I have and start churning out finishes. I realize, however, that I will never get through all my patterns if I keep buying them. So, I've been talking with a dear stitchy friend of mine (Lesli) and I decided that the best course of action for me is the "finish 2 buy 1" rule. So for every two projects I finish I'm allowed to buy one chart. Makes sense, right? Let's see if I can stick to it.

It's a cold dreary rainy day in California today and I'm sitting in H³'s "man cave" listening to creepy paranormal podcasts while he plays video games. The rain makes a great backdrop. I might even play some Oblivion later, but we'll see how the day goes.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2014

College page 15

Yesterday morning when I woke up I had 422 stitches left on the current page of College. Naturally, I powered through it until it was done, ignoring everything else I had to do that day except for making dinner because food is important. So, while marathoning old episodes of Ghost Adventures and historical podcasts, I miraculously stitched 422 stitches last night. The end result was finishing page 15!



Last time I updated this I was still unmarried and living in Texas!

Making some good progress on it but not much else I have to say. That's because I have a goal to finish this project by next Christmas, and now with grad school being done I might actually finish it! Another factor is that I'm knitting a thank you scarf for my flower girl for Christmas and, quite honestly, it's extremely difficult. It's a lace pattern that has 32 rows in every repeat with 22 repeats total, however each row is different from the last one so I can't really memorize the pattern. I should be finished with it soon-ish and then I can get back to my regularly scheduled stitching but in the meantime at least I'm getting some College done! I'm pretty happy with this page finish. You can start to see the tops of the heads of the little wizards who will fully appear in the last row of pages! Two more full and one partial (which I will do with the full page) left in this row and then it'll be the final countdown!

In other news I have signed up for a half marathon in February. I might die. But at least I signed up! H³ encouraged me in this and I went for it but now I'm terrified. I'm running four days a week according to a half marathon training plan, though, and this week I ran 6.34 miles which is more than I've ever done before. Granted, that's still not as long as a half marathon, but I have until February and as long as I stick with this program all should be well.

Time to get dressed and do some grocery shopping. H³ has promised to make dinner tonight, but I do have to buy all the dinnering supplies, which is a good trade off. So off I go - happy stitching everyone!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Flapping Parrot, page 3 done!

I usually don't post on weekends when I'm really close to a page finish because I'd rather just post the page finish a few days later. So here it is, page 3 of the Flapping Parrot!



That line of demarcation only seems to show up on photos. I've tried and tried to see it with the naked eye and I just can't. That being said, I absolutely love the blending of this, even if it is a pain to stitch with two strands of two different colors.

H³ has picked my next project to be Library Adventures, but I'm going to try to finish another part of my AAN Halloween Mystery SAL before starting page 23, even though I'm past Halloween and past the deadline of the contest. I'd still like to finish it. I also have a scarf I need to knit by Christmas, and since it's complicated it might take me longer than I'd like. NaNoWriMo is this month as well, and that has been taking up more of my time than I'd like to admit. But, despite all that, I'm still managing to stitch College (don't ask me how, but it basically involves locking myself in my room) so I might have a page finish on that soon as well. Whew!

In other news, I don't really have other news. Everyone keeps asking me how married life is and I have to say, it's pretty much the same as it was before just with a new last name and an extra ring on my finger. I'm not saying that's bad. H³ have just been together long enough, including living together, that not much has changed!

In fact, here's a fun thing. Here's the first blog post I made when I first met him. Enjoy!

Happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Still Life with Parrot 6

I'm back in the stitching game, along with trying to figure out my life, but that's a bigger issue so let's stick with stitching. H³ picked the flapping parrot pattern to stitch and I feel like I've been flying through this page. Granted, Golden Kite pages are about half the size of Heaven and Earth Designs so that's probably why. Without further ado, the Flapping Parrot.



It seems to be coming along pretty well, I think. The wing of the parrot becomes more visible on this page. Granted at this moment it still looks like greenish mush.

Icelandic honeymoon photos are up and ready for viewing. You can view the full album by following this link, even if you don't have Facebook.

If you don't want to click the link, here are a couple of shots:

If you do choose to follow the link above you can (theoretically) see all the photos and their associated captions.

Now it's time to watch last night's episode of Ghost Adventures while stitching the flapping parrot. Happy stitching, everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Greek Mandala part 2 - done!

I know, I know, I just posted yesterday. Posting too much. Oh well!

After all the excitement passed, I ended up coming down with a cold so I've been in the easy chair all day, in my pajamas still, stitching. I guess I can't complain except for the giant pile of tissues next to me and the inability to breathe through my nose.

BUT! despite all the sniffles and sneezing I finished part 2 of the Greek Mandala!



I have to say the backstitching really makes this part pop. It was really fun to stitch and I absolutely love the way it has turned out.

Two parts down - ten parts to go!!!

Happy stitching, everyone!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BOOM - Married.

After the series of disasters that happened before the wedding, I honestly have to say that the wedding itself went really, really well. The only thing I would have changed would have been the weather, because of course the day before the wedding a heat wave hit and what would normally have been a beautiful day in the mid-70's was in the high 90's. With an outdoor ceremony, that gets to be really, really hot. Our cake also melted, which I wasn't particularly happy about, but ultimately it got eaten so there wasn't much I could do about it.

Here are a couple of photos from the big day followed by a link to the complete blog post by the photographer with over 300 images.

The honeymoon was awesome, though, and we did a ton. Had an adventure every day which included horseback riding, brewery tours, lava tube exploration, glaciers, and a whole lot of fun.

I'll be back to normal with a stitching post soon. Until then, here are those photos (honeymoon photos to come once I sort through them) and that link to the blog post.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I'm Getting Married Tomorrow

Which explains where I've disappeared to over the last couple of weeks. To say that I'm stressed out is a complete understatement - but I'm doing my best!

We're honeymooning shortly after the wedding, but after I will come back with stories and pictures.

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes, messages, e-mails, etc. You guys are the best!

Until next time, happy stitching!

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.



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


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!!!



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.



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!

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