Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Entertainment

After spending several months enjoying cozy British mystery fiction - "Father Brown" on Netflix, and the Lord Peter Wimsey and Royal Spyness books, etc etc - I have finally switched genres.

I have two books going: 
  • "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss - epic fantasy, but not in the 'sword & sorcerers' or Lord of the Rings style. The style of writing is more relaxed, and the characters are regular sort of folks (even when they are not regular people, if that makes sense).
  • "The Odyssey" translated by Emily Wilson - the first translation of The Odyssey by a woman; and her approach sounds incredibly interesting. She has evidently worked the translation with the idea that while there are stylistic elements to follow in order to make it Homer's Odyssey (rather than "a modern translation of" or "homage to"), it doesn't need to be done in the traditionally high-style, grandiose 'classical-ese' (I just made that word up, by the way) that most translations have favored. I'm currently reading the author's Introduction, and already love her writing style and her perspective.

On Netflix, I'm almost done with the "Marvel's Defenders" mini-series. So much fun! It has captured my imagination so strongly that I've actually watched it without cross-stitching or playing games on my phone during. ;)

The story is about 4 Marvel-Netflix series characters coming (reluctantly) together to fight bad guys and argue a lot. Luke Cage (bullet-proof and super-strong) is a mature, level-headed individual who just got out of jail; Daredevil (blind ninja, pro-bono lawyer) is angry and depressed; Jessica Jones (super-strong, private detective) is...well, also angry and depressed, but also sarcastic and alcoholic and suffering from PTSD; and the Iron Fist (rich white kid who can channel his chi into his fist) (yeah, it's weird) is an annoying little twit with a really great side-kick. Sigourney Weaver plays the main villain. It's GREAT.

I watched the first season of "Daredevil" a couple of years ago; and part of the first season of "Jessica Jones" when it came out, but either they really were too gritty for me or I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for them at the time, because I never went back.

After this, though, I'm going to go back and watch them, as well as "Luke Cage." Maaaaaaaaybe also "Iron Fist," although based on the character as shown in "Defenders," he really is as self-centered and whiny as the negative reviews of his series said. So far I only like him when he's fighting or unconscious. We'll see.

I also finally watched "Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2" and loved it. It wasn't as good as the first one - the story was a bit underwhelming, and certain characters were underused. But! It was still adorable, and fun, and looked great, and still had that wonderful dysfunctional family dynamic among the characters that the first one had (plus some, thanks to Nebula!), so it made me happy.

Next month, "Black Panther" hits theaters. CANNOT WAIT. I hope it's as good as it looks.

Monday, January 8, 2018

First finish of 2018

Holmsey Hare's Winter Wonderland by Stitchers Anon is finished:
This is stitched on Chesapeake Bay 32 count linen by Under the Sea Fabrics, mostly with the charted colors. This was a Stitch Maynia 2017 start, so yay, I knocked out another one of them.

I made a lot of changes.
  • Firstly, there were a couple of errors in the chart - one of the green sprigs in the upper left corner was charted slightly wrong, so I fixed that. And then, the snowflake border on the right started with the same snowflake as the top border ends with, instead of the opposite flake; and the bottom border had the same style snowflake for flake #5 & #6. So I frogged most of the right side border to fix that, and adjusted the bottom border. This way, the snowflake border has an every-other-snowflake pattern all around. (If that makes sense.)
  • Then, for part three, I wanted the snow to appear in drifts similar to part one, so I altered the horizon line. 
  • I swapped out 834 (a brassy gold) for 739 for the hedgehog's face/feet and 746 for the hare's chest/tail.
  • I felt like the two little trees under the donkey's chin looked crowded then, so I changed the style of them. 
  • I also wanted the bird to be a dark-eyed junco - my favorite local winter bird - instead of another European robin. 
  • The right-most tree in part three looked a bit odd, so I fussed with that. 
  • Then, probably because of the junco, the colors in part three seemed too muted compared to the colors in the other parts, so I added some holly berries to the center tree and had the junco collecting them on its tree stump.
  • And THEN I felt like the yellow star in part one looked out of place, being the only big bright yellow spot in the whole pattern, so I frogged it and stitched a snowflake in its place. I liked how that balanced out the color palette overall; and I like that the animals in part one are now looking up at the snowfall, rather than at the star - makes it feel more wintry rather than Christmasy to me.
Phew.

There are also some stitcher errors that I just left because I didn't mind them.

I'm going to take care of my small for this month, and then work on finishing parts five & six of Faby Reilly's Lizzie Stitching Wallet SAL. That is, if overtime doesn't kick in this week. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

In like a lion...

My 2017 work year ended with a ton of unpaid overtime and frustration, and I'm still not sure that it won't be like that until March; plus other nerve-wracking work things are happening. So I'm just sort of beside myself right now.

In the last three weeks of December I did almost no stitching due to all of the overtime, so even my stitching is stressing me out - I keep looking at my WIPs and feeling like they (similar to the work project from hell) will NEVER get done, and I just want to cry.

I'm hoping that 2018 is coming in like a lion so that it can go out like a lamb, to borrow March's cliche.

The positive: the stress/exhaustion of work last month left me able to do nothing in the evenings but read. Granted, I had about a half hour of free time at the most on any given day, but I did rediscover some good light mystery fiction. I caught up on the second-to-last entry in the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen, and decided to start a re-read of Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey mysteries. I'd actually listened to the first three Wimsey books on audio-book in October through December, so I was primed.

I had the last week of December off of work, and by...oh gosh, probably Thursday, my brain had settled down enough, and I'd caught up enough on housework, that I did get some stitching done. I'm close to a finish on Holmsey Hare's Winter Wonderland:
So far the need for OT hasn't kicked in, and I'm hoping I can get it done by the weekend. Next I'll focus on finishing parts 5 & 6 of the Faby Reilly Lizzie Stitching Wallet.

The only concern I have is keeping up with the Smalls SAL. Depending on my stress levels, I may give that up until I get some more WIPs out of the way. IDK.

Also on my mind stitching-wise: there will be one more limited edition Mouse-in-a-House design set released this month. I haven't even finished the Christmas house, and I'm a bit tired, currently, of those designs. And the thought of buying another pattern right now when my stash is so huge gives me angst. But I have a feeling that if I don't buy the pattern when it's released, I'll want it later to complete the set, and then won't be able to find it.

Ugh. Decisions are hard.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2018: Year of Finishes?

Thinking about my stitching goals for 2018, I noticed a theme: I really want to finish/fully finish a bunch of stuff.

Goals for 2018
  • Finish Stitchers Anon's Holmsey Hare's Winter Wonderland finished 01/07
  • Finish Just Nan's Christmas Mouse's house
  • Finish Faby Reilly's Lizzie Stitching Wallet
  • Finish Nora Corbett's Bleeding Heart Fairy
  • Finish 2 pages of Tempting Tangles Feathers 'n Fins
  • Finish monthly smalls for the Smalls SAL - Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sept / Oct / Nov / Dec
  • Start Tempting Tangles Woodland Quaker SAL
  • FFO Needle Bling Designs LOVE Blocks
  • FFO the Just Nan mouse houses (summer, Halloween, and Xmas)
  • FFO Lizzie Stitching Wallet 
  • FFO SamSarah's Shining Star
  • FFO...all the things, honestly. *sigh*
  • Purchase zero new charts (LOL. But I'll try.)

I'm fairly sure I can accomplish the first three, and the monthly smalls. We'll see about the rest.

Anyone else setting 2018 stitching goals?

December Smalls Post

My December small for the smalls SAL hosted by Stitching Lotus:
Miss Holly Mouse from Just Nan's Christmas Mouse in a House.

I also FFO'd Miss Ghostly Pumpkin Mouse:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WIP & FFO

I've been working on Holmsey Hare's Winter Wonderland by Stitchers Anon, and have finished part 2 of 3:
Also, last year I stitched Season of Love by Stitchers Anon; I FFO'd it in a hoop with a little bow this year:

According to the designer's Facebook page, her designs have been shared without permission in a pattern-sharing group of some sort - stolen, basically. ๐Ÿ˜ž The patterns have been for sale as PDFs via Lakeside Needlecrafts, here, but she is going to retire them at the end of this year. EDIT: Never mind, they'll still be sold via Lakeside Needlecraft online.

Monday, November 27, 2017

November Smalls SAL

Here's my project for the November Smalls SAL hosted by Stitching Lotus:
This is the small design from a design set called Winter Awwwwwwe! by Needle Bling Designs. I used fabric and threads from stash, and added the year - I intend to turn this into an ornament.

Edit: The fabric is "Chesapeake Bay," a discontinued color by Under the Sea Fabrics. It's not quite as vibrantly blue as in this photo, but it's gorgeous. Like a blue sky dappled by wispy clouds.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stitchy and crafty

One benefit of getting sick: lots of time to lay in bed stitching. I was sick most of last week, and I accomplished the following:

 
The first is Autumn Woods Sampler from Just Cross Stitch Dec 2017. I used 32 count Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe Light Parchment linen, and three Thread Gatherer Silk 'n Colors: Grimm's Sock, Big Leaf Maple, and Woods of Gold. So pretty!

The second is the first section of Holmsey Hare's Winter Wonderland by Stitchers Anon, on Under the Sea Fabrics 32 count Chesapeake Bay linen. This was a Stitch Maynia 2016 start; I'd like to finish the two remaining sections by the end of January.

I finished one more little piece, but I'll save that for my November Smalls SAL post.

Other crafting happened this past weekend: I made a lighted canvas sign:
The background is painted navy blue; I free-handed the letters and snowflakes, obviously, with a paint pen. It's not the most perfect thing in the world, but I really like it! I need to come up with a better way to afix the lights to the back of the canvas, though. Right now they're just duct-taped in place.

I have another lighted canvas in work. I'd never tried making these before; it's a fun project!

Happy American Thanksgiving, to those who will be celebrating it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Friday, October 27, 2017

October Smalls SAL post

Here's my project for the October Smalls SAL hosted by Stitching Lotus:
Very Merry Autumn by JBW Designs. I stitched it on 32 count Sage linen by Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, with the called-for threads. If I had been thinking, I would have switched up the threads to something that would have shown up better on this fabric, but I still like it.

I also stitched another Just Nan Halloween mouse, but I have yet to FFO neither it nor the orange Halloween mouse. ๐Ÿ˜’ Since Halloween is next week, I'm DETERMINED to do them both this weekend. Luckily, I have no other plans. So. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Slow down, October

Am I the only one dumbfounded by the fact that October is half over? Where did this month go? Everything has been so busy that I haven't even gotten out my Halloween decorations yet. ๐Ÿ˜ž

I was out of town for work last week, and decided I wanted to take along a project that only used one or two colors. I settled on a monochrome WIP started during Stitch Maynia 2017, "Where Did I Put My Broom" by Dark Crosses (Etsy).

Before the trip:
Now:

I'm using The Thread Gatherer Silk 'n Colors "Smoke Stack," which varies in color between black and dark brown:

Now that I'm home, I've picked up Just Nan's Haunted Autumn House again, so this one will go back into the WIP basket. Given the way this month is going, the only way I'm going to get Haunted Autumn House done is via the focus-and-finish strategy; but then probably only if I have some unexpected extra stitching time. I did at least get a small finished for the October Smalls SAL installment.

Update on the new dog:

He has settled in wonderfully, and my dog has mostly remembered that Poco is actually his puppyhood BFF. There's a bit of jostling for dominance, especially around meals and snacks and who gets to sleep up next to my back at night. But otherwise they hang out comfortably, and have started to play and have fun.

Poco's mom sent them both some cute Halloween scarves:

Monday, October 9, 2017

September Goals - Belated status

Firstly, my birthday was in September, and look what my son got me!
I had him pick the first project for me to stitch from it; he chose White Cat. That's the one I would have picked too. :D I just have to decide on fabric, and then I'll probably pull threads from stash instead of using the charted threads.

On to goals...

I forgot to set goals for September until around the 6th, but this is what I came up with:

Do-able Goals:
- Finish Halloween biscornu: Done!
- Finish Satsuma Street "Sorry We're Dead": Done!
- Start/Finish Just Nan "Miss Ghostly Pumpkin Mouse": Done!


Stretch Goals:

- Start Just Nan "Haunted Autumn House": I got a few stitches in, go me!
- Start Just Nan "Witchy's Sister Mouse": No
- Catch up on Faby Reilly "Lizzie Stitching Wallet": No
- Put some stitches into Nora Corbett "Bleeding Heart Pixie" and Tempting Tangles "Feathers 'n Fins": I did put a couple of threads into Bleeding Heart Pixie!
- Spend $0 on new stash: I don't even want to talk about it. OMG.

Work and life haven't been super-conducive to getting a lot of stitching done, though the stress did result in some therapy shopping. *facepalm* Right now my focus is "Haunted Autumn House," but I'm also sorting through my autumn-themed patterns for one that requires fewer thread colors than Just Nan does, to use as a 'take-along' project.

October Goals

Do-able goals:

  • Finish Just Nan "Haunted Autumn House"
  • Finish Just Nan "Witchy's Sister Mouse" (I've actually accomplished this already)
  • FFO Just Nan "Miss Ghostly Pumpkin Mouse" and "Witchy's Sister Mouse"
  • Start/finish a small autumn pattern 
Stretch goals:
  • FFO Just Nan "Summer Mouse House" and "Haunted Autumn House"
  • Work on Faby Reilly "Lizzie Stitching Wallet"
  • Put some stitches into Nora Corbett "Bleeding Heart Pixie" and Tempting Tangles "Feathers 'n Fins"
  • Spend $0 on new stash

Entertainment

After spending several months enjoying cozy British mystery fiction - "Father Brown" on Netflix, and the Lord Peter Wimsey and Roy...