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!