Friday, January 29, 2016

New Year, New Hopes

Happy New Year Everyone! This is my first post of 2016 and I come into the new year with hopes of one better than 2015 and a new outlook.

It's no secret that 2015 was difficult. A lot has been untold in the blog because I was just too busy to take the time. 2015 saw a new job with a challenging learning curve, the death of my beloved dad, an engagement, a 40th (yikes!) birthday and dealing with an estrangement from my mother. There is nothing more hurtful than a parent saying the most terrible, hateful things and not being one bit happy for you especially when your biggest supporter and protector is no longer around. By the end of the year, I was a stressed out, anxious and incredibly sad shell of my former self who was trying hard to get back into the light.

So 2016 is about time...and relaxing. To let the little things go because too much time and energy goes into something that doesn't really matter in the first place. To rediscover those things that give me joy and stick with them. I don't have any resolutions but I have little goals.

Blog once a month.
Stitch at least one hour 3-4 times per week.
Reorganize my stash and sell off those things I no longer want or see myself stitching.
Declutter my apartment.

With the new year, came a new start. I've been wanting Chatelaine's Embroidered Elegance I for a while and when it finally went on sale I treated myself to the pattern and the kit for my birthday. I started it on January 12th and its a delight even though it's slow going.



I also had a few finishes this month. Mind you, most of the stitching was done last year.


My first finish was Lizzie Kate's A Little Grey Hare. This has sentimental value now. When my dad passed away, I had to pack in a matter of hours and grabbed the first kit I could find that just had everything in it. To keep my mind busy, I stitched on this during the nine days of morning and completed all the stitching. Since I had no beading needle, I had to keep those off and I forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago and I found a beading needle and the beads and finished it off in no time. I'm sending this off to a finisher to be made into a pinkeep like the model. Even though I have the want for stitching, I don't have the brain or energy for finishing work right now.

And I finished my Lizzie Kate Holly & Hearts Mystery Sampler which has been a WIP for a long time. I am glad this one is finished. In retrospect, I think it took me a long time because I prefer traditional christmas colors versus the pastel palate in this sampler. I think I would like it finished as a little quilted table mat in the future. For now, it will hang out with my larger finished projects in the closet.

I also finished a couple of other pieces but one is a surprise and the other I forgot to take a picture of.

I recently bought the new Jolly Happy Soul pattern by With Thy Needle and Thread. I just couldn't resist that cute snowman! The pattern calls for R&R Olde Towne Blend and I knew I had a piece with a project started on it so I could compare the color with fabrics in my stash for Jolly Happy Soul. So off I went looking for that project and unsurfaced my Anniversaries of the Heart. I set it aside due to the over 1 verse in Block 4 and just feeling overwhelmed about how I was even going to go about personalizing the blocks. Seeing it made me fall in love with it all over again so I decided to start Block 5 (Pink Hill Manor). Here is the progress on Block 5
and how it looks as a whole so far.


So this is my blog post for January! I made it! I am hoping to have more finishes in 2016 and will start a journal to keep track of my finishes as things got a little confusing last year.

I hope everyone has had a good start to the new year.

Until next time!
Valerie

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

An Engagement and a 40th!

Thank you for your supportive comments on my last post. I am back for a quick fly by post to share some good news. I'm engaged! My boyfriend (now fiance) popped the question on Saturday, September 26th and I said YES! I was quite stunned since I wasn't expecting it yet but we are both very excited! We have decided to enjoy the engagement for now so no wedding date has been planned yet. Here is a photo of the two of us that evening. We went to a favorite spot in the East Bay to celebrate with dessert and cocktails.


And then on October 1st, I celebrated a huge birthday milestone. The BIG 4-0! I gathered a group of friends together for a fun meal at Original Joe's in North Beach; complete with Italian cake! Yum! After dinner, we migrated to a fun little bar and enjoyed craft cocktails with friends and fun music. 


It was a wonderful way to celebrate. It's hard to believe I'm already 40!

Hopefully next time I stop by, I can share some stitching! :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Good News and Sad News

Hello Dear Friends! How is everyone?

Wow. I never shared my big news, which is now over six months old, but at the beginning of March, I was promoted to a new position in a different department in the same organization I have worked for. After almost 10 years in the same position, I just needed a change and said change has been keeping me on my toes. I'm doing completely different tasks which is challenging and has me in learning mode. Being the new person and constantly learning new things has me pretty tired and brain-dead at the end of each workday. I didn't think it was possible but I am stitching even less than before and haven't had much time to read up on blog posts either. I try to read a handful here and there and comment if I can but haven't had many changes to do so. I think I understand why people have turned to Instagram even though I still like the idea and therapeutic act of blogging.

I have the original Lizzie*Kate Christmas mystery sampler on the scroll rods and am about halfway done with Part 3. I am hoping that I can find time to finish it in the next couple of weeks so I can move onto another project.

Little by little, I have been going through my insane amount of stash since my tastes have changed some and I have more than I can go through in a lifetime. I am thinking I will post on Facebook Stash Unload to try and sell some of the items I know I will never get too.

On August 28th, my dad passed away. Even though his health was failing due to complications triggered by dementia, I was shocked and stunned. I managed to get on a plane that night so I could attend the services and burial in Nicaragua. I am still in a fog some days just trying to go through the motions of "normal" life and trying to concentrate on work, life and a relationship. We won't talk about the overwhelming tasks looming with getting my dad's affairs taken care of and switching accounts over to my mom. One step at a time...


Here is one of my favorite photos of me and my dad that I came across. Obviously my dad is pooped and trying to watch tv but I climbed in his lap. It's hard to imagine that I won't hear his voice anymore. My dad dying was always my biggest fear and now it's a reality. But despite the sadness, there are so many memories to smile at. Sunday morning donuts, random drives, amusement park visits where I'd ride and he would eat his way through the concession stands. Road trips, hanging out with him while he tinkered in the garage and I played with my dolls. Lots of lap sitting while watching tv. I am so lucky to have had him as my dad. He always supported me and let me be who I wanted to be and I never felt like I was without. I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

New Year, No Resolutions

Happy New Year folks!

One month and a few days into 2015. Crazy! Life hasn't slowed down for me and I am keeping very busy. Sadly, I've been sidelined by a cold in December and then the flu in January which has knocked the wind out of my sails a bit but I have been Netflix bingeing with the best of them.

I've been hesitant to write a post. It's hard to know where to start after a good amount of time away. How do I catch you all up? I always feel like I need to apologize and I miss visiting this space but life is what it is. It's busy and hectic and stressful and fun and social and frustrating and happy. I anticipate this year to be my Year of Change. The first change may happen as soon as next month but I'll hold off on sharing it until it's official. It's exciting but scary especially for a person who has always hated change. But sometimes change is necessary and good. Right?

Even though I don't blog much, I do visit blogs just to try and stay connected with everyone. One of the major themes recently is how blogging has died down in lieu of Facebook and Instagram because it's faster and offers more immediate satisfaction than blogging. I think that's pretty valid altho I rarely share my stitching on Facebook and don't even have an Instagram account. I still like the journaling aspect of blogs plus it's how I met so many wonderful and supportive stitchers. Call me old school but I still plan on blogging even though it will be on a more sporadic basis.

Following is the stitching I managed from the last half of the year to now. There's a major Lizzie*Kate theme going on. I find her designs fun yet comforting. The colors are bright and the pattern is not difficult which is just what my poor brain needs if I manage to find some time to stitch. I usually only decorate for Halloween and Christmas and I love stitching those types of designs.


Lizzie Kate - Hats Off to Halloween 2
32 count Amber Linen


Lizzie Kate - Snowman '10
Either 28 or 32 count Dirty Linen



Lizzie Kate - Tiny Tidings
32 count Amber Linen


Lizzie Kate - Holly and Hearts Mystery Sampler (Part 3)
32 count PTP Doubloon Linen

Looks like I am going to  have to figure out when to try and schedule a finishing day! Well, that's all I have to share for now. I'll be back soon to share more.

Until next time...
Valerie

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


Dear Friends,

I'm amazed that five months have passed since my last post. Life has indeed been very busy. Perhaps I can catch you up in my next post. Today, I just wanted to come by to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Despite my hectic pace of the last couple of years and not being able to stitch as much and come share with my friends in blogland, I am ever grateful that I've made wonderful friends and met awesome people, whether in real life or virtually, to share my life happenings and stitching progress with. The blogging and stitching community is so supportive, open and giving and even though I feel like I've disappeared; you are always here to lend an ear and encourage. And for that, I am grateful and I thank you.

Next week, I leave to visit my parents and family in a country I haven't been to in almost ten years. It will be interesting, fun, difficult, happy and sad all at the same time. Since I am staying with the octogenarian set of the family, I anticipate getting lots of stitching and reading done provided the 90 degree weather forecast and lack of air conditioning actually keeps me awake. That's total naptime conditions for me. I'm hoping to catch everyone up when I return and show some photos of my stitching over the past few months.

And for those wondering...me and the boyfriend are still going strong. =) I have to bake goodies tonight for his family dinner tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Much love and hugs,
Valerie

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Makeover

A couple of days after my last post, my lovely friend Christina, sent me a Facebook message to let me know that my blog looked like this.

So you can imagine my shock and dismay. It appears that the girl that designed my blog 6 years ago has decided to go out of business and stop paying for the image hosting which supported my blog background and overall look. It would have been nice of her to let me know in advance but...

I'm a bit sad but had been thinking it was time for a change...just not like this. So I've gone with the simple white background until I have time or money to go a different route. I'd love suggestions of free templates or inexpensive blog designers. Please, please send them my way. In time, I'll switch up the look for something more me. 

And craft night was a wash. Always fun to see the ladies but I am frustrated with the small I picked up (SB Tall Sheep). First the linen provided was too dark and now I have two greens next to each other that blend too much. With time to stitch being so limited, I really need stitching to be smooth sailing. So I'm in a stitching funk. I should just concentrate on the apartment re-org and get it over and done with. 

Hope you all had a fun weekend!! Until next time...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And in the Blink of an Eye, Three Months Go By

Well...almost three months. I think that blog posts will just be scarce for a while longer until I can organize my apartment, organize my parents' house and find the time to stitch in between those two things, working full-time, dating the boyfriend and hanging out with friends. The life of a single 30-something definitely is not an easy one.

Being away from my little corner of blogland is hard. I feel the need to apologize for not posting, not commenting and not stitching. I know that I shouldn't. But I miss it...and I miss everyone...and I definitely miss stitching. I haven't really stitched since April. I am going a little nutso. Must correct that soon. But I try to catch up on all my blogs to stay a little connected with the creative circle that keeps me going.

Lots of fun things have happened in the last three months!

~Wine weekend in Mendocino. I am not sure if I convinced the boyfriend that Pinot Noir is fantastic (like I think) but we certainly had fun wine tasting!
~Lots of Jazz. Actually going to check out Jazz in North Beach again this coming Saturday which is always a fun time.
~Six glorious days relaxing in Cancun! It was just what I needed after 8 months of caretaking. We had such a good time and hope to visit again soon.

View from our room...not too shabby!
Taken on a stroll along the beach...

~Managed to sell both my parents' vehicles which is a huge relief...and a little bittersweet.
~Booked my travel to Nicaragua for the Winter to visit family after 9.5 years.
~Going to Seattle with the boyfriend next month for a long weekend. So excited as it's seriously one of my favorite places! We're staying in the Capital Hill neighborhood which isn't one I've explored. If anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way. Thanks so much.

~My boyfriend travels most weeks so we usually only see each other weekends.Every weekend is fun and exciting because there's so much to do and we enjoy each other's company. For some reason, that makes time fly even faster...in a good way.

Well, no stitching to show but maybe after the weekend since I am getting together with some ladies to stitch and gab.

Until next time...