Small Changes Perfume Project

Mid January I had posted what I was going to do with my perfume project, indicating that I’d post another update at the end of February. Here we are past mid-March and I finally am getting around to an update.

The previous schedule was:

Monday-Mugler Alien
Tuesday-Ellis Brooklyn Bee
Wednesday-A sample size of whatever I like
Thursday-One of my YSL perfumes, my choice
Friday-Replica By the Fireplace
Weekend-Apres and Wildcard

I finished my sample size of Ellis Brooklyn Bee which was in part the goal. The other goal was to finish Alien. There’s very little left.

I am making a couple tweaks to the schedule for the upcoming month and a half. You see, I’ve found out that someone on the flyball team is sensitive to fragrance so I am going to make a concerted effort to remove fragrance from my life on any day which flyball happens. For the next month that means Tuesday nights. It also means some Friday nights. And some weekends are flyball weekends as well. So I’ve developed the next 6 week (ish!) schedule bearing all this in mind.

Monday: Mugler Alien-then when that’s gone, go directly to Alien Goddess sample size
Tuesday: Nothing, unless no Flyball, then sample size of anything
Wednesday: Sample size of anything
Thursday: One of my YSL Frangrances
Friday: Kayali Vanilla Royale Sugared Patchouli (Unless it’s a flyball practice night)
Weekend: Wild card and sample

My biggest goal would be to finish both Alien and Alien Goddess, since there’s not much in either I believe I could make that happen particularly if I considered these for one of my wild card days. Additionally I love the idea of really working on finishing some sample sizes as well. Because I am doing the whole no buy thing, it’s a fantastic time to deplete my stash of samples as nothing else is coming in to replace them.

SAL Update

It’s been a bit since I’ve had an update, and even longer since I’ve remembered to post. You see, two things were going on. First, my dog Fury competed in her first flyball tournament, did very well for a very first attempt, and then we got really busy with additional training and practice. More on that in a future post I believe. In addition to that, we took care of a 4 month old shepherd mix puppy white her foster family went out of town for a bit, and that kept us very busy. But she was a surprisingly great puppy, and it went much better than I had imagined it would. Nevertheless, we were overwhelmingly busy. Once that was over, I was able to get some stitching done, in part because I took a couple days off to unwind after all the busy weeks.

During that unwind time, I was able to finish the whole of the January chart of my Fox and Rabbit stitchalong for 2023. The whole of the chart except for the extensive border which I did not complete. And I am glad I did not complete it since we now have more pattern in the border and I think it’ll be easier to complete it while also working that pattern area.

I then put this project down for a bit instead of moving right along to the next section. You see, my temperature tree had been languishing. It was languishing for a few reasons I’ll address in a future post about it, but I ended up giving up on it, going to the local stitching shop, purchasing a very pretty piece of linen, and starting it over completely. I have been working on that exclusively for about a week now, and it’s looking really good. In fact I am farther along than I was when I quit the project previously. But, I am looking forward to some downtime tonight where I can get back to this SAL project instead. I am eager to see what the next bits will look like. I am particularly fond of the border filling in framing the piece beautifully.

Stitching project update

I have been fortunate to have loads of time to work on my fox and rabbit sampler. I am still really enjoying this so much. I went this weekend to the local stitching store to pick up some new colored floss for the vase and the border, as I am hoping to use these colors to draw everything together.

I am using an 11’x17′ qsnap frame for this, I am at the point where I will need to move the frame to another section and I am struggling to decide if I want to continue down the vase and finish that portion or move over to the February section. And meanwhile March section comes out tomorrow! I keep seeing little mistakes here and there that I insist on going back to fix. It’s been a journey already. I know I will learn so much with this endeavor. And I am truly enjoying the process.

We’ve got a busy week and a half coming up, we will be taking care of a 4 month old foster puppy while her regular foster home goes out of town, and Fury dog is going to be racing in her very first flyball tournament so my weekend is completely shot. And I am positive a 4 month old puppy will keep us wildly busy in every other moment. But I’ll be back at it after that I am sure.

February 2023 empties and inventory updates

I had a good number of empties this month despite it being a short month.

Here’s what I finished:
Makeup wipes: I ended up finishing these up after having a skin biopsy on my face (everything is fine!) because I needed to keep the spot covered and it was hard to wash my sunscreen off at the end of the day.
Lush Body Lotion Love-Got this in my subscription box this month and also finished it this month.
Purity face cleanser-I’ve been working on this for like at least 6 months. Really love it.
Soap and Glory Body Butter-loved this one, very gourmand smelling.
Big Sexy Hair texture powder-a staple in my hair routine
Fekkai hair primer-Got as a sample and don’t feel any specific way about it.
Ouai scalp and body scrub-Really nice!
Beauty of Joseon calming serum-love this stuff! Moisturizing without any irritation.
Clinique smart custom repair eye treatment-took forever to use up this tiny sample
Valentino V-lighter primer-really nice sample, glad I got to use it!
Mac lip glass-hated it. Glad it’s gone.
Clinique almost lipstick in black honey-such an easy item to use, might purchase someday.

So for inventory, I am only going to talk about the categories that have had change. To reiterate, I get the lush kitchen subscription box so sometimes those items apply to the inventory. And some don’t, like bath bombs that I end up giving to my daughter.

Sunscreen-Finished 1 so now I have 6
Cleanser-Finished 1, have 6
Makeup wipes-Finished 1, have none, removing the line from the inventory entirely.
Eye serum-used 1, have 3
moisturizing serum, used 2, have 7
Hair primer, finished 1, have one to use now
Hair gel/balm-finished 1 sachet, have 2 more sachets to finish
Hair powder-finished 1, have 3
Shampoo-finished 2, have 7. I have no more sachets now.
Conditioner-finished 1, have 10
Body moisturizer-received 2, one from the subscription box and the other as a gift. But also used 3, currently have 6
Body wash-received another from the sub box, now have 5
Fragrance-finished 2 samples, now have a total of 41

So for a wrap up-I purchased no items beyond the allowable subscription box. 3 items entered my collection. 15 items left my collection. This was a particularly successful month. And that’s exactly what I am looking to repeat next month. And I feel like I am already on my way as I can easily see a number of items that will get finished in March.

Hard Won Progress

In my last stitching update I’d done the first floral motif and worked my way a bit down the stem. It’s a very large motif overall, kind of a focal point in the sampler, so even though it felt like big progress, there’s just so much more to do.

I kept working, and chose my colors for the next flower. I’d chosen a variegated orange floss with the intention of marling the variegated floss to create a dynamic shaded flower. And I did that. And I wasn’t overly happy with it. I needed to make a decision if I was going to rip it out and start again or leave it be. But, at the point which I did, I also realized that I had placed the flower and the stems/leaves in the wrong place. In the end I was forced to rip it all out, so I then moved forward with changing the color as well. It was a week’s worth of stitching lost but I am still far more happy now.

The new color worked pretty well, I liked the result, I added my own second color, and I stitched the mirrored one on the other side as well.

One of my absolute favorite things to do with this pattern is interpret it my own way and then choose colors and how to do the motif. I decided that I saw buds hanging off one of the stems, and I interpret them to “belong” to the flower I just created. So I proceeded as such.

This week will likely bring a lot of work on stems and leaves which honestly I do seem to struggle with a bit. Seems like when I do stems and leaves I end up losing my place and that’s how I end up getting flowers in the wrong spot. I’ll just have to keep in mind the idea that I have to double check the new placements against a few points of reference.

I do also still need to pick up some floss for the borders which are very large. I may do that this weekend. I am using floss that is just magically in my home so that I am not purchasing all new floss. But, I think treating myself to something I want to use for the border is appropriate. I’ve also noticed that when I throw in leftover floss from my previously completed project, it’s far nicer to work with than what I’ve just had around the house. So, clearly, it’s a higher quality supply. I have now officially discovered that both the quality of the needle and the quality of the floss does indeed make a difference in stitching enjoyment.

In any case, while I did have a bit of a set back this week, I managed not to fall apart over it and make good progress anyhow!

And Stitching

I am still approaching my stitching with a next level obsession and loving it. Last posted I had finished the top of a floral motif, and now I have worked my way down the stem, adding in a leaf motif on either side.

I am actually a fair bit further now, even though I’ve had a pretty busy week. I am eager to have a day on the weekend to concentrate on it and see how far I can get.

6 Month Pupdate

You may remember we fostered a mamma dog last year who turned out to be pregnant and had 8 puppies in our home. Their 6 month birthday was February 13, and they are all doing so well! In fact I was able to gather photos of 7 out of the 8. So I figured I’d post them here.

Mama Fishbone was a mix, probably Chihuahua mixed with pittie and staffie and a whole host of other things. She had a smooth, short, brindle coat. DNA test on the puppies showed them to be very high in the poodle category which mama absolutely was not. All the puppies ended up with wiry beards now that they are older and with a varying degree of poodle like hair. They range in size from 16 pounds at the smallest to 25 pounds at the largest at 6 months old.

Dirty Walt: The grey dog. Resembles a Dachshund despite not having any known Dachshund genetics .He’s long and low to the ground and adores his older brother and Dachshund mix.

Marlin: He’s long and lanky and uses his puppy eyes to get what he wants. One of the 3 larger puppies from the start, and remains one of the three larger puppies now.

Sturgeon: Sturgeon is another low rider puppy. I adore his white blaze and his ginger coloring. He was the most vocal of the litter, quick to protest and quick to tell us what he wanted. He remains a very vocal dog, though he’s learned to have an indoor voice in his forever home which is super cute.

Loach was born the smallest of the litter, and while he remains small he’s no longer the smallest. He seems to have a good amount of poodle genetics showing up with a nice fuzzy coat.

Dace is the puppy I don’t have a 6 month photo of, her forever home isn’t on facebook. But, I do hear through the grapevine from time to time that she’s doing quite well.

Dolly Varden is another very well loved puppy, she’s another of the 3 bigger pups in the litter. She’s got a family who absolutely dotes on her and melts at her cuteness despite any puppy naughtiness.

Snook was always my personal favorite, smart as a whip and very interested in engaging with humans. She’s gone through a number of training classes now, as she may eventually become a therapy dog in a school system. She ended up with a lot of the poodle genetics, her coat is downright long and curly, which is kind of funny to see over her brindle coloring.

And finally, Goby. He was significantly larger than the rest of the puppies when he left our home, but now he’s right around the same size as the other two bigger puppies. He has a most interesting coloring, grey, almost blue, with the same color eyes and nose. And a bright white chest.

It has been an absolute delight to watch these puppies grow up in their forever homes. It isn’t always that puppy homes are so committed to staying in touch. It’s wonderful to see just how well adjusted they are and how well trained they are getting in their new homes. It is good to know all our hard work exposing them to various different situations worked wonders on them, giving them the best possible opportunity of a good life in their new homes.

We haven’t had a foster dog since the puppies and their mom left our home, I needed a significant mental break. But, at the same time, the entire experience made us feel like we absolutely would do puppies in our home again if we were to be able to foster a smaller mama like Fishbone, or even smaller. We even have a plan in place to rearrange our home for that if the opportunity arose.

First Quarter Stash Shop midquarter update

I’ve got a little update on my first quarter stash shop, and I am delighted to report that despite the fact that I am not out here intending to purposely pan any items, I did finish two things.

Here’s what I chose for my first quarter:

And here’s where I am now:

So, for progress-

The Stila foundation I don’t like and am determined to finish up this year. I’ve been hitting it pretty hard. At the beginning of the project I had 87 grams and it is now at 80.

The mac fix plus rose, the washi tape has a marking indicating how far I have gotten, I think that’s pretty decent!

The maybelline concealer has had progress, again indicated on the washi tape. It’s slow going.

The mac mineralized skin finish powder is going pretty well, I feel like I am making a good dent in it though I have not hit pan. According to the scale I’ve only used 1 gram.

I have been consistently using my mac paint pot and the scale tells me I used a gram of that as well.

Next up is my first empty-the dr. jart’s cicapair sunscreen. I am glad it’s gone.

I have two mascaras in this project, but I think I am done with the tarte maneater, not a lot left on the brush as I attempt to apply it.

I finished the brow pencil completely, so that’s gone.

I’ve been using my clinique eyeliner regularly. I have panned one of these in the past, it’s just a travel size. I think it took me all spring so I am hoping that by the end of this project I’ll have finished.

I am finally making a tiny bit of progress on the elf brow wax. While I wouldn’t repurchase, I don’t need to toss it out either.

I have used the liquid eyeliner maybe twice, not a lot of progress there.

And finally, my hourglass palette. I’ve used this every day I’ve worn makeup. I have used two grams. I do think though that the pans on the finishing powder area are far more increased, particularly the bronzer. And while it’s hard to tell, I think I am making good progress on the blushes too, they do not seem as domed as they previously were.

All in all a pretty good month and a half. I so greatly dislike the foundation that I just can’t wait for it to be done. My current plan is to keep hitting it hard through this first three months of the year, then if I still have more left, I will try to make a point of using it at least once a week until I am too summer tanned to do so. It may take me all year, like the mac foundation I panned last year, but I am really determined that this one needs to go. Other than that, I am left with good products I enjoy so it’s not terribly hard to keep working on them.

Despite this though, I am thinking that if I were to do this type of project again, I might do it as an every two month situation. While I would not make as much progress on individual items, I would get more use out of my collection as a whole and feel more inspired waiting on the upcoming change.

Stitching, and Stitching, and Stitching

In my early 30s, when I took up knitting, I would get so inspired about projects and techniques that I could barely think about anything else. I would get so intense, so obsessed, that I would really only want to knit or do things associated with knitting. Spinning, dyeing yarn, dyeing fiber, learning new techniques, all of it was just this wealth of creativity and mind expansion that was completely engaging to me. And I’d try big things, too big for my skill set, and sometimes I’d pull them off and sometimes I wouldn’t but all along the way I was learning and engaged with my creative mind set.

And then, after a number of years, I didn’t feel that way anymore. Sometimes I’d be inspired about projects, but it was rare that I could gather that extreme inspiration, nor could I actually do or follow the types of things I had followed during those initial creative learning years. I got so frustrated, and then decided that perhaps the early 30s is a time of extreme creativity and I resigned myself to not being able to capture that anymore.

On an absolute whim, after saying for years that I would not do so, I took up counted cross stitch. It was around christmas time 2022. I could feel the obsession coming on, and I resolved to do two things. One, somewhat let it flow over me and see what it would turn into, and two, take care not to go completely over the top on the purchasing front, knowing that going overboard in the early stages often lends itself to a number of misguided purchases.

I started the temperature tree. Then, I resolved to finish 1 project, which I did. Then I started another project (let me show you it.)

And that was going well and I was still pretty obsessed and wanting to stitch most of the time, but I was also curious about some things. Like, how to stitch on linen and evenweave. And also, there were these pretty stitch along patterns on blogs. And there was my friend Kathy kind of whispering in my ear about a pattern designer that she’d been watching. And then there was more research and all of a sudden I was planning something big. The kind of big that I would plan in the early days of my knitting. The kind of big that is TOO BIG for someone of my skill set. And yet, here we are.

I got it in my head to do the Fox and Rabbit mystery stitch along sampler. And not only to do that, but to do it on linen even though I’ve never stitched anything on linen ever. So I marched myself down to my local stitching shop, and asked for some 32 count linen, large enough for a massive year long sampler.

But was I going to do this in one color like the pattern indicated? No, no I was not, not only was I going to stitch this year long project, I was going to color it in as I went along.

And that’s how this weekend found me camped out in my craft room and dining room, one place marking up and coloring patterns and the other place teaching myself to stitch on linen. And at the end of the weekend, I had a fairly decent start.

It is, to me, absolutely gorgeous. It’s also utterly engaging. I can’t put it down, I can’t stop, I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to be on my phone, I just want to stitch even though the going is extremely slow. I have not felt this way in more than 10 years. This feeling is dangerous and perfect and I am absolutely thrilled about recapturing that feeling after being certain I wouldn’t really feel it again.

I have come to the conclusion this probably isn’t going to be a passing phase, rather I’ll immersed in this one for a good long while. The bonus here is that this is a mystery stitch along which means that once I get “caught up” I’ll have no choice but to put it down until the next clue comes out each month. There’s a limit to the depths of the obsession.

First Finished Stitching Project

Well, first in 30 years anyhow, probably.

And just for comparison purposes because it’s fun, here it is without the back stitching and french knots.

It’s so cool how the project can go from soft and water color like to defined with just back stitching and embellishments.

30 years ago there was no youtube. As such, french knots were the bane of my existence. My mom tried to teach me over and over and I am pretty sure they’d put me in tears of frustration. And I’d just beg her to do them for me. Now, with youtube, it’s so simple. There are a ton of tutorials and they are very specific. “Wrap like this, slide the thread down the needle, hold tension precisely here until the very last moment” and just by following along I got beautiful french knots right from the start.

Of course now I have to figure out what the heck to do with this thing I just created. So, I’ve taken to youtube again and learned how to tension a project on a foam board using thread. And I’ve ordered foam board. So, it seems like I very well may be able to fully finish this and even hang it on the wall of my craft room.

I have already begun another project, it’s in a far different color palette than the one I just finished. That feels refreshing. My main goal with the new project is to work hard on all the techniques I learned in the first project. I am hoping that stopping and starting my thread will go far better than before, as I have learned all sorts of new ways to do so. And, I am hoping to keep all my stitches more even. Of course I’ve only got about 25 stitches in it, so it’s going great so far!

Another Painting Shawls Finish

I’ve been working on the Painting Diamonds shawl since August. A lot has happened since August! This shawl was one which I was keeping at work and knitting on during work breaks. So while it would not have taken quite so long if it were at home, I rather enjoy the gentle progress of a work shawl.

I chose a hot pink main color for this and then used handspun yarns for the contrast colors. Predominately those colors are purple and teal. It is exceedingly cold here right now, and snowy, so I did not take a photo outside.

This is the 8th shawl out of the 13 in the book. I have already started on shawls 9 and 10. This is the second shawl I chose a “hot” or neon color as a main color in order to keep things rather interesting. While it’s a rather bold and wild color, I do appreciate the brightness of it!

Quick Stitching Update

I stayed up quite late last night as I was so close to finishing the cross stitching portion of my project. I just wanted to complete it! And that is what I did. I finished the cross stitches, removed the hoop, and carefully took out my gridding thread. This morning I washed the piece and set it out to dry, and that’s the point where I grabbed a photo.

I am hoping it will be sufficiently dry this evening so that I can begin the work of back stitching on it. But I’ve got rather a busy day today so it may not be possible. And tomorrow is rather busy as well. I imagine the back stitching to go a bit more quickly than cross stitching though, so hopefully I can get this completed rather quickly. I also fully expect that I’ll find stitches here and there that need to be added. With so many clusters of stitches and color changes it’s rather easy to miss them!

January 2023 Empties and Inventory Update

Around christmas time last year I did a complete inventory in anticipation of going on a replacements only low buy this year. I knew that I had a few things that were still going to arrive but tried my best to account for them prior to them arriving. I also knew I would purchase a beautylish lucky bag, and I am subscribed to lush kitchen subscription.

So, what came in to my life? a bunch of samples from an order I’d already accounted for, 2 countable items in the lush subscription box, 3 countable items in the beautylish lucky bag, and 2 items that I purchased when Mr. Ink asked me to purchase a certain type of soap for him. The soap is not mine, it doesn’t count. But, I purchased a container of australian gold mineral sunscreen for bike rides, I need something above a 30 and all mineral so it doesn’t bug my eyes. And, in order to get free shipping I purchased a container of sheamoisture body moisturizer. I can’t technically make it work for my low buy, but I did it, I am admitting to it, and I’ll work on that.

In a more productive note, I have had many empties.

As I mentioned in the original inventory post, if it’s a sachet style sample or perfume sample I am not saving it. I am tossing it. But here are the somewhat larger items.

Kenra dry texture spray, I’ve used these many times but I think I am over it, I’ve got other texture sprays I like better.

Nexxus mousse, love it, would repurchase, but cannot until I go through a container and a half of what I already own.

This moisturizer has been in our bathroom for years and no one ever finishes it. So I finished it.

I purchased the TJs charcoal and peppermint shampoo around november 2021 and have been working at it since then. I finally finished.

Clinique take the day off is a fav, would repurchase, but I have a few to work through first and also I like to get this one half price.

Beauty of Joseon essence I really enjoyed and I would repurchase someday when it is needed.

Bedhead thickener, I’ve used this a few times and this is my last time, won’t repurchase.

What was in the Laura Mercier powder was a make up forever powder I finally finished. It was in my project pan last year and I didn’t finish in time. I’ve been working at it since.

I had a perricone MD travel size of the cold plasma treatment. I used it, I have few feelings about it.

There’s a mario badescu clarifying serum, again, few feelings to share.

Pyunkang Yul’s Black Tea Reverse eye cream was lovely. Lasted all year, there’s loads of it in the container and it’s a good price. Would repurchase.

And a gucci sample mascara which I liked far more than I wished I did but I wouldn’t spend that much on a mascara.

So, for inventory, I will only list the categories where there were changes.

Mineral Sunscreen, added 1, now have 3
Gentle Cleanser, added one from lush, now have 3
Cleanser, added 1 from the lucky bag, now have 7
Retinol, added a kit from before the new year, now have 4
Face masks, added an exuviance face polish sample, and also added and used a Dr. Jart sheet mask, I now have 6
Cleansing Balm, used 1, now I have 4
Eye Cream, used 1, now I have 3
Eye serum, added 1, now I have 4
Exfoliating serum, added 2, used 1, now have 3
Vitamin C Serum, added 1, now I have 2
Daily moisturizer, added 2, used 1, now have 7
Toner, added 2, used 1, have 6
moisturizing serum, added 2, used 1, now have 9
Hair repair items, used 1, now have 2
Hair primer, added 1, now have 2
Hair oil/mask, used 1, have 2
Hair mousse, used 1, now have 2
Hair thickening product, used 1, now have 2
Hair texture spray used 1, now have 4
Shampoo, used 3, now have 9. 2 of these were sachet samples
Conditioner, added 2, used 3, now have 11. All used were sachet samples
Added a dry shampoo, now I have 1
Body moisturizer, added 1, used 1, have 6
Body wash, added 1, now have 4
Fragrance, added 2 samples, used 3 samples, now have 43 total items.

Overall, in the past month and then some, I added 25 individual items, most of which are sample sizes. And total used was 22. Not completely even, but close. Next month should be better. As I was updating my inventory, I also took note of the items which I am pretty sure I can count on being finished next month. I can count 10 that I am quite certain will be finished. So next month inventory will look a bit less unbalanced, as I was working against stuff that was ordered already and arriving during the month.

Painting Bricks

I am once again showing off a shawl completed from the Painting Shawls book. This is number 7 out of the 13 in the book that I plan to complete. In this one, I used all handspun from stash. The main color is a red mohair I spun ages ago and I have enough for like 5 shawls probably. Hah. In any case I am glad to have gotten use out of it for this, and I may choose to use this color again paired with something else in the future for another shawl from the book.

This is a very large shawl, and due to the snow I could not just spread it out on the ground so I have Miss Butterfly holding it. To compliment the red main color I chose three different handspun colors all within the warm orangey and brown fall tones family. I think that turned out very well in this case.

I am very close to finishing my painting diamonds shawl as well, though it sits at work for lunchtime break knitting. That’s why it has taken me so long to finish it. I began the painting rainbows shawl for at home and am really enjoying that one as well, but it’ll be ages before it’s done. There aren’t too many shawls out of the book to finish at this point!

Stitching Update

Another weekend has passed so another stitching update is prepared. Last weekend I had worked my way all the way through the left side. So this week I started to work the middle out toward the right. During the week I had finished 2 new jars so on Saturday I worked the flowers and greenery in those two jars. Then on Sunday I began a third jar on the right side along with some of the flowers in it. That’s the point at which I took a photo:

I did manage to finish the jar last evening. Once this jar with flowers is complete there are only two more jars to work and then I’ll get to wash this thing and do all the back stitching and french knots. I am not at all worried about back stitching, in fact while there is loads of it I am excited because I believe it will really draw the piece together. I am, however, worried about the french knots since I don’t believe I’ve ever successfully created one in my life. That being said, there’s youtube in this day and age and I’ve watched loads of french knot tutorials so I feel better prepared than I have in the past.

In any case, this one is just a few weeks away from being complete and I can’t wait to see it fully finished! I am very excited. My first full large counted cross stitch project as an adult.

Stitch In Progress

I’ve continued to work on my stitching over the past week and through the weekend. It’s been really enjoyable and focusing and relaxing. I had very much hoped to finish the first half of the project this weekend and indeed I was able to do that.

The daisies on the left were a real challenge, as I knew they would be. Working with white floss on white cloth is tedious at best. But I think they came out really well! I approached it quite methodically which helped. I am sure they’ll pop a whole lot more once the outlining is done.

Now I work my way to the right starting with a very tall bottle with a fern in it .I also have to continue the pink flowers from the very first jar I worked on as they hang over into the tall bottle space. I did get started on that this weekend but did not get far at all. Which is fine! I am not actually in a massive rush and feel no inclination to begin another project.

Update 2, Perfume Project

Hi all! In October last year I started a little perfume challenge in an attempt to use some of my perfumes in a focused manner. It’s been going really well and I am ready to do an update and a change it up.

Here’s the original photo, I haven’t been keeping empties and I am not intending to take photos of empties.

By the first update I had finished all the Replica samples as well as the Ariana Grande moonlight perfume.

I set myself a personal goal of using the Alien perfume once a week, which is basically the equivalent of 7 uses. I finished the Tom Ford Black Orchid sample, I finished one of the Ellis Brooklyn Bee samples, and I finished the Ellis Brooklyn Apres sample. That’s pretty good progress!

I have now taken a new photo as it’s time for a project focus shift. I’ve got so many tiny samples laying around and while I do want to use them, if I focus only on them, I will not get the use I’d like out of the perfumes that I’ve purchased because I liked them enough to have a larger amount in my collection. To rectify that, I need a shift in gears. This shift will incorporate what is left in this project (Alien and Bee) in hopes to still finish them over time.

From now until the next update which will be end of February I am putting myself on a schedule. Here’s the photo of what I am going to be using predominately:

I did not add the many sample sizes in here but I will list what I finished during the update.

Monday: Alien in hopes to use it up
Tuesday: Bee, in hopes to use it up
Wednesday: A sample, any sample from my collection
Thursday: My choice of one of the YSL perfumes
Friday: Replica By the Fireplace
Weekend: Apres and a wild card. Anything I choose.

Basically this means I’ve got 6 full weeks before the next update. I do not believe I can finish Bee or Alien in those 6 weeks but I won’t burn out on them by using them once a week either. And this will give me a good opportunity to use some of my winter favorites which have been languishing because I’ve been choosing to concentrate on samples.

At the end of February I’ll evaluate where I am, likely keep working on Bee and Alien, but perhaps either concentrate on samples again for a bit or give myself a new set of perfumes on a schedule.

But, as of right now, I’ve managed to finish a full size perfume (with just a bit left in it) and 6 samples while also working on a few others, all in all a pretty good project so far. I am glad I decided to view my perfume collection with a bit more purpose, it helps me keep it from getting out of hand while also giving me the space to enjoy it.

Stitch in Progress

Is it a SIP when stitching instead of a WIP? Probably not, work in progress still seems like the right option. In any case, knowing that I have a rather intense obsession with my stitching right now, I carved out Saturday to just be around the house so I could do quite a lot of it.

I was so excited for the weekend! I absolutely have a lot of renewed energy for crafting right now. I am still knitting! But my focus really has been on stitching.

I managed to finish a jar, then finish a pink flower, and then finish a pretty yellow flower this weekend. Then I began another jar. I stitched a ton on Saturday, but Sunday was busy taking down christmas decor and going for a bike ride, another hobby of mine I am trying to focus on again this year. I still got a fair amount of stitching done though.

Our firestick broke this weekend, leaving us without the ability to watch TV, which worked in the favor of stitching. I can’t really work on my stitching without a magnifier and light so I really only work on that in one room. That is not the room we watch TV in, it’s my craft room. When we watch TV, that’s the point at which I’ve been knitting. So, rather than knitting, that time has also been devoted to stitching.

So, much progress was made this weekend and I am absolutely delighted by the yellow flower. 2 more jars of flowers on this left side to work after the current jar in progress. Though honestly, the flowers for the last jar on the left really seem like they’ll be intense! In any case I am really having a lovely time with this project and am not feeling like I really just gotta start something new. Which is good, I’d like to keep it to one project at a time plus my temperature tree rather than having a bunch of projects going at once.

We will see how long this obsession continues, currently what, like 3 weeks strong?

Stitching in the New Year

It seems like I may have picked up a new hobby. It’s a little too early to tell, technically, but I am of an age to see that all the signs are there for a deep dive into something new.

If we back up a bit to early 2022, I’d seen here on the blog a number of folks doing a counted cross stitch “Temperature Tree.” The pattern, or a kit, was available on Etsy from StitchinMommy so I favorited the kit and waited. The remainder of the year. When the year was beginning to draw to a close I decided to purchase it, figuring I could start the tree part before 2023 and get ready to add the temperature leaves starting on the first. Here’s how it all went down.

The kit arrived. I had learned to do counted cross stitch when I was a teen but had not done so since. But I remembered my skills. I had chosen the kit with 18 count aida cloth. When it arrived, I realized that at the age of mid fourties, I cannot actually see what I am stitching. So, I went on the hunt for an ott light with magnefier, understanding for the first time how critical this was for my grandmother and now my mom. I picked one up. I quartered my cloth with thread and got to stitching. Then, I felt that I was going too fast and I forced myself to put it down and work on something else. Let’s break up this story with a photo:

Here’s the beginning of my temperature tree with one lonely leaf on it. I’ve got January and February branches complete:

I then decided that I needed a refresher on techniques so I started watching some videos on youtube. I also remembered a number of helpful items that my grandmother used to use, like a magnetic pattern board and a needle threader and I picked those up. And a needle minder of course. But none of these things really satisfied the itch I was feeling.

So then I found The Stitchery and I ordered two patterns. Then while watching youtube I started watching videos on crewel embroidery. And I remembered my mom had a big crewel embroidery project that she never finished but I was absolutely fascinated with when I was a kid. There was something gorgeous and interesting about the textures of the stitches. It was so intriguing to me. So, I also ordered a fairly simply crewel kit.

Look, this is just how things work in my brain. There’s no halfway. It’s all or nothing every time. And honestly, I’ve learned to just roll with it somewhat. It’s better to let the deep dive wash over me than it is to try to resist it completely. At this point in my little story I had now ordered 3 kits, two cross stitch and one crewel and none of them had arrived yet. I mean, it was right in the midst of the holidays after all, shipping isn’t the fastest. But all I’ve got to work on is the temp tree, and it’s in a hoop too small for the fabric, and I want to savor the project throughout the year, rather than finish the entire tree immediately and just add leaves all year.

So that’s what New Year’s Eve found me wandering the shops. First a trip to Michael’s crafts where I was able to find some different and more appropriately sized hoops. I also picked up 3 more floss colors to expand out my temperature range a bit. But I was disappointed to see that they did not have kits in the store. Well, I wasn’t interested in going home without a kit. So, off I went to Joanne’s.

Thankfully they still had a wealth of kits in stock. Doing what I always do, I chose two projects that are probably a little out of my skill range while absolutely knowing better. The first is one that will match my turquoise craft room. This is not the project I started immediately. The second also would match my craft room, and this is the one I started on. I then proceeded to pretty much work on counted cross stitch for the vast majority of the holiday weekend. And while I did choose something a bit beyond my skill level, it seems to be going ok so far.

It’s funny because 5 years ago or so I had sworn I was absolutely not going to take up this hobby again EVER. But here we are, I am happily coloring in pictures with thread. And watching videos on the subject, and anticipating trying crewel embroidery as well. Not sure how long this latest deep dive will last but I am just over here rolling with it.

New Year New Project

Happy New Year folks! In the makeup panning community a new year is always super exciting. So much of what we’ve been contemplating over a few months gets to be revealed. It’s a nice way of marking the turning of a year.

This year I am not going to focus on a big project pan. Instead, I am going to do a quarterly stash shop in which I see how much use I can get out of makeup in a quarter. This will prepare me better for panning in 2024. So much of what I have doesn’t have a ton of use so panning it would mean I’d be concentrating on one item per category for an entire year and that’s not so fun.

So, I am going to be picking a full face of makeup each quarter to concentrate on. Sometimes I’ll also have a cream and a powder per category, but not necessarily. The rules are that at the end of the quarter I choose an entirely new full face of products for the next quarter, no leaving an item in for 2 quarters in a row. Also, if I do finish an item during a quarter, no rolling in a new item, a finish means an opportunity to use whatever I’d like for the remainder of the quarter. I’ll do mid-quarter updates. So in example, an intro in January, an update mid February, a finale at the end of March, an intro with the new stash shop in April and so on.

This is what feels fresh and interesting to me this year and I have been really excited to prep for it. I’ve been spending the last few months cycling through my stash and trying to figure out how I want to approach this. Ultimately there will be items that I do want to finish up this year. And one will be in this very first stash shop so that I can really hit the ground running with it at the beginning of the year. Also, in this first quarter I have not chosen a lip product to concentrate on as I intend to work on wearing each of my lip products at least once throughout this quarter. That’ll likely take me the entire quarter but at the end of it I will know if anything has gone off or if I just don’t want to bother with something and want to declutter instead.

Here’s the photo of this initial stash shop for 2023.

I have chosen to weigh some of these items since they are hard to track progress on.

Stila Hide and Chic foundation: I do not like this formula and do want to fully use this up this year. I cannot see through the container at all so I have no clue how far along I am. However I’ve used it almost not at all since I didn’t like it, which means that it is basically new. Weight with the cap on is 87 grams.

Mac fix pus: Love this item, have a back up. I am about halfway through, you can see the washi tape on it to track progress.

Maybelline instant age rewind concealer: I admit that I chose this in part because it’s typically pretty satisfying to track progress on these. I removed the sponge as it got too goopy and I will now use it without the sponge. Washi tape is placed to track progress.

Mac mineralized skin finish powder: I’ve had this in my stash for a while and in other projects as well. There’s good use on it. Currently it weighs 71 grams.

Below the mac powder is Dr. Jart’s cicapear cream. I do not like this item. It’s a travel size and I am hoping to finish it during this quarter. It has spf and it claims to color correct. I don’t think it plays overly nicely with most other products, but the stila foundation is pretty light coverage and this does help tone down the redness in my skin, making the stila foundation act like it has more coverage. No weight on this as I think progress will be reasonably easy to see.

And below that, mac painterly paint pot: There’s no way I’ll finish this in a quarter so this is simply an attempt to concentrate on one at a time, with the lid this currently weighs 53 grams.

The next 4 items are 2 eye liners and 2 mascaras. The mascaras will have to be tossed at the end of the quarter. The clinique eyeliner is a travel size so it’s possible I could finish this quarter. The other is a liquid liner that I doubt will be used up.

I have added my hourglass ambient lighting edit palette as I rarely use it because it’s “precious” to me. The Stila foundation does not accept cream products over it, so this is a great time to really concentrate on it. It has all I need so I am excited to work on it. It weighs 137 grams.

And finally my brow product choices. I’ve been working on the billion dollar brows pencil for a long time. I want to finish it this quarter and that seems possible. The elf brow wax is something I keep saying I need to use but never do. This quarter is my opportunity to use it and toss it at the end if I don’t like it. If I don’t use it in this quarter, it gets tossed for sure.

While when I initially look at this it feels….limiting, I think it’ll give me the foundation I want for the year. It’ll also streamline any day which I feel I am tight for time as it allows a solid choice to use instead of trying to make snap decisions.

I am quite eager to see how far I get before the first update. I am excited to have weights on some of these items this time as I don’t think I’ve typically tracked weights before. And since I know I am only using these for 3 months I get the excitement of also contemplating my next set of products for the second quarter while working on these.

Last Shawl of 2022

A few weeks ago I finished another shawl from the Westknits painting shawls book. This one is called Painting Lines. I purchased the main color for the project but then used a number of different scrap yarns in my collection. Some were handspun, some were commercial yarns, and a few were even hand dyed by me. I started by incorporating all of these colors into the shawl. Then I used the Tiny Decisions app to create a color wheel of all the scrap yarns. I then used this randomizer to choose the next color. The only rule was that I would spin the wheel a second time if the wheel lined up the same color in a row. This kept the shawl very interesting, perhaps even one of my most interesting knits of the year.

It was rather a long knit but I didn’t get tired of it at all.

So, with that, I have completed 6 of the 13 shawls out of the book this year. My ultimate goal is to knit every pattern in the book and to also use stash yarn as often as is logical to do so. I currently have painting diamonds on the needles, again with a purchased main color but stash yarn as the contrast colors. And I’ve got painting bricks on the needles which is entirely out of handspun stashed yarn. But, I will be unable to complete either of these before the new year. So I pause at 6 shawls from the book thus far.

2023 Beauty Inventory

In anticipation of a replacements only low buy through to November 2023, I spent some time this week doing an extensive inventory. Makeup is separate as I keep that in an app, this inventory was specifically for skincare, haircare, bodycare and fragrance. I am going to take a little time to post my categories under each and also my current numbers. That being said, please understand that the vast majority of these items are tiny sample sizes, particularly when it comes to haircare.


I like to keep a mineral sunscreen as well as a broad spectrum, so sunscreens are two categories.

Mineral sunscreen: 2
Broad spectrum sunscreen: 7

I use a gentle cleanser in the morning and a more intense one for use in the evening. So these are also kept in two categories.

Gentle cleanser: 2
Cleanser: 6

For makeup removers, I prefer to use a balm or an oil but I do currently have makeup wipes and a biphase item in my collection. I won’t replace those two categories once they are gone.

Makeup wipes: 1
Biphase makeup remover: 1
Cleansing oil: 1
Cleansing Balm: 5

For actives, I like to have a retinol type product, a vitamin C product, and some acids.

Retinol: 2
Vitamin C: 1
Acids: 2

I like to have 2 eye creams, one for day and 1 for night as well as a serum.

Eye cream: 4
Eye serum: 3

Lips, it’s important to me to have a lip balm in different areas of the house and also at work and in my bag. I only keep one scrub. The number of lip balms that I will always have going at once is 5. (Work, handbag, bedside table, makeup table, craft table) And 1 lipscrub. I currently have 8 balms and one lip scrub.

I like to have a daytime moisturizer and a thicker nighttime moisturizer.

Day moisturizer: 6
Night moisturizer: 3

Toners-for me, the best thing is to have a moisturizing toner for day and an active/acid one for night. But I am a bit flexible on this.

Day: 3

I enjoy having moisturizing serums with various actives, but I’d like to get this category down to 2. Currently I’ve got 8.

Face masks. Honestly, this is the category I really struggle to even use. Mostly these collect in my drawers and I have to really force myself to use them. I actually did use my very last sheet mask today so that I didn’t have to bring it into the new year. A good moisturizing face mask is probably my best bet but it seems I’ve got a number that don’t work as well for me. In any case, I’ve got a total of 5 face masks, none of which I love.

I do keep a face oil on hand though I rarely use it. 1 is good.

And I have 1 acne product, which I keep on hand and rarely use.


This is, honestly, where the vast majority of my itty bitty sachet items are. I’ve kind of just been saving them up because this year I concentrated on using up two liter containers of shampoo and conditioner. It’ll be another year before I can just purchase what I’d like to be using I think, but we’ll see. I also use a lot of hair products because I have weird hair which I like to stick up as much as possible. In any case, I am completely overloaded in this category and would like to get things down to what I would most conceivably use on the regular.

Shampoo: 12
Conditioner: 12 (The vast majority of both the shampoo and conditioner are sachets or travel sizes.)

Hair repair items, currently I have 5 none of them full size.

I have 1 smoothing balm in a travel size.

Gels/balms, I have 3 in this category, all of them sachets.

Hair oils/masks: 3

Toner, this is a necessary item for my silver hair, I only have 1, I only keep one, and I don’t scrimp on it.

I currently have 4 hair powders, I use these so often that I do rather stock up. But I am going to “spend” them down.

Texture spray, when I am not using hair powders I am using texture sprays. I’ve got 2 favorites and am trialing a few others. Currently I own 5.

For whatever reason I have acquired 2 spray waxes. I actually do like these items but I also have 2 waxes in a pot and I don’t really need 4! Let’s see if I can get at least one used this year as I don’t use them often. Concentrating first on those in a pot.

Hairspray is a category I use a lot and I currently have 2.

Mousse is another item I use a ton of, I have 3 currently though one is almost done.

Thickening products: 3

Now on to body care! I made a bit of a misstep this year which I am looking to rectify in the upcoming year. I tried the original soap and glory scent in a body lotion, loved it, tried another, loved it, and somehow decided that meant I should try all the scents. Turns out the original is my favorite and I am now stuck working my way through a bunch of body lotions I don’t love. Currently I have 6 to work through.

I have 3 body washes at the moment, they are all from lush, and I love them all. However, I suspect I will finish my yog nog at the beginning of 2023.

I am ridiculously picky about hand cream. I like one kind and one kind only, and that’s First Aid Beauty. I can usually get it on a good sale, and like to have as many as I have lip balms. Currently I own 5 but could make do with 4.

I have 2 cuticle oils, and that number will remain the same.

And finally, fragrance. I have 44 fragrances, the vast majority of which are itty bitty sample sizes. It’s my intention in the upcoming quarter to go through ALL of them. I’ll be categorizing them into 4 piles. Wintery scents, springy scents, scents I don’t want to wear at all ever, and scents that are masculine enough to give to Mr. Ink to see if he wants to wear. I’ve got an ongoing perfume project pan I plan to continue in hopes I can whittle down that number well.

I think it’s a very easy conclusion on why I can do a replacements only low buy until next November. I will update these numbers quarterly during 2023 and see how much I can move out of my collection. I am also going to bring back empties posts, but only with travel size or larger items. I am going to simply get rid of sachet or sample size items. I do not want to keep those for an empties post.

2023 Makeup/Beauty inventory stuff

Last year I had hoped to get my makeup stash down from 239 to under 200. I was unsuccessful. In part, I blame little sample sizes. I thought I had done way better than I did but then I had some time off and I really dug in on what little sample items had arrived in my collection and it turns out my collection currently stands at 228. I may still do a bit of eyeshadow decluttering in the upcoming week or so, but it’s clear that 228 was not at all where I wanted to be at this time this year.

Further, in an upcoming post I will be telling you about my project pan plan for 2023, but the spoiler is that it’s not to project pan basically. I know I will finish items during the duration of the year but that is not where my focus will be.

I’ve been around the block enough times now to realize that the vast majority of the really good sales are around black friday. Or rather, during the entire month of November. With a bit of a bonus in late December. I want to really dial in on that in 2023. So, I am going on a replacements only low buy for the majority of 2023. Basically, no makeup, bodycare, haircare, or fragrance at all unless I am replacing something in a category that is gone.

With a few caveats. The first being that I fully intend to purchase a beautylish lucky bag. And, I previously signed up for the lush kitchen subscription box and I want to see how that goes. If it’s good and fun I’ll stick to it, and if not, I’ll cancel and call it good. But I signed up in November and haven’t yet received my first box so I haven’t even remotely had an opportunity to see how it is.

For makeup, I’ve got more than enough in every single category that I will not have to purchase any at all. I’ll keep a running list as to what I find interesting during the year and see what deals can be had next November.

For skincare, haircare, and body care I should have enough to get me through the year but there are a few items I could run out of. The idea will be to see if I can use something else from another section of my collection before making a new purchase. But, I can purchase if nothing else can substitute in and I am completely out.

And for fragrance, an area of my collection that grew by leaps and bounds, I buy nothing. I can again keep an ongoing list of things I’d like to try but instead it’s all about using what I have.

Quite frankly I’ve done this over the years with my yarn stash and it has gone so well! My yarn stash is quite small, I purchase what I need when I need it now and knit it right away, and the stuff that sits in my stash is generally handspun yarn waiting for the perfect project. I want to do the same for my makeup, beauty, and fragrance stash.

Tomorrow I’ll post a few more details about the inventory for stuff other than makeup which will have clear goals in mind during the year. For today, it’s simply stating this important intention.

Painting Waves

Another shawl from the Painting Shawls book complete. This is the 5th out of 13 so I am moving right along. Painting waves was a good easy knit that was quite enjoyable.

The main color is jojoland harmony reclaimed from a sweater I never wore. It goes from blue to purple to lavender. The contrast color is handspun yarn, this one:

Working with two yarns that had moving colors was an interesting endeavor. I liked not having to think about a color pattern, instead just using the two yarns and letting them do all the color change work.

I am off and running on the next shawl from the book and looking forward to seeing how that one will turn out as well!

Big Changes

In July, in order to accommodate a surprise litter of foster puppies in our home, we removed almost all the furniture from my craft room. We then put a piece of sheet vinyl flooring over the top of the carpet in hopes of keeping the carpet clean during our time with our fosters. The sheet fit the majority of the room but had about a foot and a half at one end of the room that went uncovered. So, we cut a piece away from the door in order to make the door swing open easily and blocked off the exposed carpet. Which worked, for a time, until mama learned how to move the pen to get to the door. And then one day when she really wanted to get out, she tore up the carpet.

You can see that under the carpet is some old linoleum, and Mr. Ink said “That seems ok, let’s just tear out the carpet and use the old linoleum?” To which I said “no.” So, I ended up choosing some luxury vinyl plank figuring it would be about the most hard wearing thing I could put on the craft room floor in case we ever do puppies again. Once I purchased it from the flooring company they informed me that they couldn’t get an install done until December. I honestly wish I had known that before I purchased, but ok.

I ended up being pretty pleased that I didn’t stick with Mr. Ink’s idea of keeping the old linoleum since someone was clearly very careless about a paint job in that room. Plus, it would have looked horrendous even if the flooring was pristine.

The new floor was a lovely improvement.

And while not everything was perfectly placed yet in this photo, it’s clear that the room looks so warm and inviting. I really love it!

Panning, highlighting a few big wins

While I don’t have any current project pans running beyond a perfume one, I have had a couple of really big finishes lately. I don’t keep my empties or do empty posts right now so I don’t typically highlight what I have finished. However, there are a few I’ve been working on for years that I have finished and I wanted to highlight them. I am going to use the last available photo I have for them.

The first is my Tarte timeless smoothing primer last shown here:

This photo was taken at the end of October. Basically about 2 months of use finished it up.

Then there’s the mac foundation I’ve worked on bit by bit all year. For the majority of this year we’ve had to wear masks at work and this is a foundation that did not work under a mask. So I had been using it bit by bit on weekends and at times I wasn’t at work. Then, later in the year we were allowed to stop wearing masks. So I then concentrated on the foundation and was able to finish it. I am delighted!

This photo is from mid-September when I had finished the project I’d been working on all year. I’d been using a pump from a different foundation, and right around this time I had to stop using the pump because the tube did not go to the bottom of the container. For a long time I just had to keep the bottle on its side, then I flipped it upside down and kept using it, and in the end scraped out the sides with a tiny makeup spatula. This now resides with my back to mac items.

And finally the latest finish, the oldest perfume in my collection is finished now.

It also goes down in history as the first time I have ever finished a full size of perfume. I am ridiculously proud.

All of these items I’ve had in my collection for years. All of them I’ve worked hard on all of this year. It took effort, but I am thrilled to call all three of them finished.

I’ve also had a few skincare finishes and haircare finishes that I am super proud of, but I did not save the empties. I finished a liter container of shampoo and a liter container of conditioner. I’ve never finished a liter container before and I will never purchase a liter again. But they are done. I also finished a 6.7 ounce container of face cleanser from Tula. I’d received it in a subscription box ages ago and I thought I would never finish. I am delighted that I am done! Also from a subscription box was a 30 ml container of eye serum from mudmasky and let me tell you, 30 mls of eye serum is a lot of eye serum! Took me over a year to finish it.

I am now enjoying two makeup related activities. The first is opening my homemade makeup advent calendar. My daughter wrapped up makeup from my own collection for me to open each day of this month and I am enjoying that immensely. The other activity is simply planning what I am doing for a project next year, and honestly? I don’t think I am going to have a project that works on finishing anything specific. Instead, I believe I’ll choose items to use for 3 months, see what kind of progress I make, and then roll in a full set of new products for the following 3 months. I feel like 4 sets of a full face of makeup used for a solid 3 months at a time will set me up well for future project panning plus serve the purpose of rotating through my current collection. If I do a project pan it’ll probably be body or haircare related or both.

There’s an interesting cycle that happens with every new hobby I take up that I’ve noticed over time. The first part of the cycle is an initial excitement to try all the things and acquire certain tools, etc. Then there’s a feeling of being overwhelmed by stuff, and also settling in to the hobby enough to know what I like and want to do and what tools I like to use which puts me in more of a “don’t buy more, just use what you already have if possible” zone and that’s the best place to be with any hobby. That’s where I am with makeup now and that’s where I’d like to stay over the next year.

Update 1 of perfume project

Last month I began a little project toward using up some of the perfumes in my collection. My collection has grown considerably and I am really dialing in the types of fragrances I truly enjoy, so I want to get some of the samples and doubles finished up. While it’s a bit early for an update yet, I’ve made some significant progress and the flooring in my craft room is being changed this week, causing me to need to move my vanity. I don’t want to move and hang on to what amounts to garbage.

This is the original group of fragrances I intended to work on, and I did not take an updated photo because it’s a bit pointless. But I can easily do an overview of what I finished.

I finished all 3 replica samples on the bottom right. I knew that I would as there was not a large amount in any of them. I also finished the Ariana Grande Moonlight perfume that’s been in my collection since early 2019.

Out of the remainder I have used the Ellis Brooklyn Apres the most. It’s light, woody, approachable, and unoffensive even if I am just lounging around the house. In fact, it has paired beautifully with a pine scented candle and christmas decor. This seems a very nice time of year to be wearing this one.

I wore the Tom Ford black orchid once or twice. But, the most fun part of this one was when I wore it to work. I worried it would be too heavy for the office. Folks would come in my office, sniff, and say “What are you wearing, it smells amazing in here!” Which means I picked a winner for myself.

I wore the Ellis Brooklyn Bee a few times and I don’t think I wore the Thierry Mugler Alien at all. I’ll rectify that tomorrow.

I basically used up a large amount of the variety in this small selection, leaving me only with 4 scents to concentrate on over the next month and a half in this project. I am sure I’ll supplement with the rest of my collection. I think I’ll set the goal of using up Apres fully by Mid-January and I’ll also set a goal of using Alien once a week. As for the rest, I just hope to make some progress.

In the next update I’ll see what I want to roll in from my collection to have a bit more variety, but for this upcoming month I am sticking with the original group minus what I’ve already completed.

This Year’s Mystery Knit Along

As I have done in past years, I enjoyed participating in this year’s westknits mystery knit along. From the beginning I figured the shawl would be different than other years as it really did seem to use less yarn, or at least fewer colors. That was indeed the case.

I went with a fall theme really, I had been choosing colors that looked autumnal to me at the time. I think maybe I may have veered pretty far into the Halloween direction. But I do appreciate the color scheme.

I enjoyed the different various elements to this shawl and I am glad I knit it!

My absolute favorite part are these icord embellishments woven into the antler cables.

The braided pieces were my other favorite new technique, it really gives the shawl a unique texture.

I’ve knit tons of twisted stitches before but I wanted to get a close up of that element to the shawl as well.

This was a really enjoyable knit, titled Twists and Turns. The westknits mystery shawls are always so well thought out and planned. There’s never a technique that feels unapproachable since there’s entire youtube videos to go with every new technique and transition.

Now that this shawl is complete I am back to working my way through the westknits shawl book titled Painting Shawls. I have two in progress, Painting Waves and Painting Diamonds. I am about midway through both, and it’s entirely possible that they’ll wrap up around the same time.

A Little Project

Over the past year or two I’ve gotten far more interested in perfumes than I was at any other point in my life. I genuinely believe that this has a bit to do with aging. I remember my mother mentioning that her ability to smell seemed to be diminishing somewhat as she got older. I was a young adult at the time, so likely she was about the age I am now. In my own younger years smells could be extremely overwhelming and perfumes in particular were overwhelming and often overstimulating. It is not fun to put on a perfume and then be completely unable to concentrate on anything at all other than the way I smell. And that was often the case for me.

However, with age, I am finding that many of the perfumes I wouldn’t have even bothered to try in the past actually smell quite pleasant to me now. So over the past year or so I’ve taken the opportunity to explore that further. I’ve enjoyed trying various samples, purchasing some perfumes, and trying to hone in on the scents that I tend to love and those that tend to give me a headache or be distracting.

Since I am over a year into this process now, I have purchased a number of perfumes that I do like and am less likely to be adding little sample curations to my collection. As such, I’d like to start getting a better handle on my collection of samples and my perfume collection in general.

So, I am beginning a little project use it up for myself.

These are the items I am starting with.

Top row are the two oldest perfumes in my collection. The Ariana Grande Moonlight perfume is super close to being used up. It’s also circa 2018 now and really has little to no staying power left. I tend to wear this on days off when I just want a simple perfume, not too strong, with a scent I find enjoyable. The other is Thierry Mugler Alien. This is a far stronger perfume and a little goes a long way. I purchased this probably in 2019 and I’d like to get it finished as well. While I do enjoy the white floral combined with woodsy notes, I don’t think I would purchase a full size bottle of this. I tend to like to purchase travel sizes when I can as I do find myself “over” perfumes after a time of wearing them consistently. I like variety! So, I am looking to use up the two oldest perfumes in my collection.

I am also looking to use up sample sizes of anything I have a travel or full size of as well as a few sample sizes I am almost out of.

The first is Tom Ford Black Orchid. I received this sample, sprayed it on me, and almost immediately went back to purchase a larger bottle using a coupon I had. For me, it is just so very good. It hits on a lot of the scent profiles I enjoy-woody, white florals, vanilla, spicy, and adds one of my absolute favorites, patchouli. So, I’d like to use up the sample and be left only with my larger size bottle.

I have two Ellis Brooklyn perfumes, two samples of Bee which I also have a travel size of, and a sample of Apres which I have a travel size of. I like them both very much though there are days where Bee feels a bit too sweet and I get overwhelmed by it. But there are other days, particularly cold days, where I really love it.

And then I have 3 samples from Maison Margiela Replica line. I have samples of By the Fireplace, Whispers in the Library, and Autumn Vibes. There are only a couple uses in each of them. The only one I have a full size of is By the Fireplace. However, that’s one of my all time favorite perfumes at this point. Absolutely no reason to keep a sample size around. I would like to add Whispers in the Library to my collection but it’s harder to get my hands on, I’d need to order directly from their website. It’s on a short list of perfumes I absolutely would want to add to my collection. And then there’s Autumn Vibes. This is one where it seems like I should really like it, but I just…don’t? I mean, it’s ok but it is just not a favorite despite having so much going on I should like. I think I’d like it better with a tiny bit of sweetness added to it.

For this little use it up project of mine, I plan to do a mid-December update with monthly mid-month updates, potentially rolling in other fragrance items until I am at a point I am comfortable with my collection again. (Which sort of just means having used up the bulk of the sample perfumes.) I don’t feel an overwhelming need to go fast on this project, rather I’d like to rotate through my collection while concentrating mainly on the focus items that are in the project. I think my big approach for this upcoming month will be to finish off the replica fragrances since they are almost gone anyhow, and then rotate through the remainder. I’ll be keeping the Moonlight perfume for weekend days and days off, but I do have an entire week off this month so I’ll probably hit that perfume hard during that week in particular. It is so close to being done that I think perhaps I could also finish that one by the next update.

Puppy Finale

In August I wrote about our foster dog and her puppies about 3 days after they were born. I had intended to update with new photos of their progress as they grew in our home. However, it turns out that raising newborn puppies in my home was ridiculously and wildly overwhelming and busy. It took every spare moment we had to raise well adjusted and good puppies, the story of the frog in the pot being slowly boiled was a little like what puppy rearing is like. It’s wildly busy from the start and just gets busier.

I am extremely proud of the work we did. I litter trained them from about 3 weeks old so that they would generally use litter boxes with pine pellet horse bedding in it to potty in their pen, keeping their pen far cleaner than it could have been. From about 5 weeks old I trained them to sit and look at me when they wanted something in order that they would be easier to train in their forever homes. I kennel trained them for the same reason. I used various types of flooring in their pen so that they would not be upset or scared by new flooring as they got older. At 5 weeks old we started taking them outside to play so that they would also learn to potty outside and get used to leaving plants and trees alone, playing with safe things instead. They were well socialized to both people and dogs, I had regular visitors over to handle them.

By the time they went home they could do all these things, could do stairs, and were bold, non fearful, playful, fun, and well adjusted puppies. It about killed me, but we did a great job.

At the age of almost 10 weeks they began going to their forever home. Their mom went to her home first when they were 9.5 weeks old, then I had one adoption on a Thursday, 5 on a Saturday, 1 on that Sunday, and then I ended up with 3 different home visits to find the correct match for the final puppy but he went home on a Wednesday. So, over the course of a week all the puppies were placed in their forever homes before they were 11 weeks old.

I did get photos of them right before they were 9 weeks old, which is what I am posting here. I love each and every one of them. We had the best case scenario of a good mama dog who had 8 healthy puppies. Even with the last puppy who stayed a few extra days, he was easy because he slept through the night in his kennel, rather than waking up every 2-3 hours which can be expected at a young age. I love each and every one of them, but I do not miss them. 🙂 I am over the moon about having my house back to myself.

We regularly ask ourselves if we’d do it again. And the answer is probably yes. But, if we do, it’ll need to be another best case scenario situation and it’ll need to be a few years down the road. What the project ended up being was something which put our entire lives on hold for 3 months. A labor of love that I will not be able to manage regularly. But we are grateful for the experience and very happy about our good puppies.