Thursday, March 08, 2018

Q1 2018 Thoughts

Initially, I had started this post in January and titled it "Beginning of the Year Thoughts". As usual, life happened and I got distracted. I've come to this page a handful of times since and have struggled with how to begin. How do you begin when you've been away from your blog for a year? I know some of you keep up with me via Facebook and Instagram but there is something about truly writing about your thoughts and feelings.

2017 was a rough year that was mostly spent planning my wedding and on July 29, 2017, I got married!

Planning a wedding is a lot of work! But the wedding was everything that I had planned in my head and everyone had a wonderful time.
I even had a little bit of my dad with me since he couldn't walk me down the aisle. I had his hankerchief as part of my bridal bouquet.

 After the wedding, we honeymooned in Fiji, moved residences, my husband got a new job which involved commuting, my mother-in-law passed away at Thanksgiving and it was our first holidays without her. It felt like anything that could happen to put stress on us and our newly married life did. Life has truly been one crazy roller coaster.

We added one more stressor to our lives. I finally succumbed to the puppy fever I was living with for years and adopted a little french bulldog puppy we named Luna.

We immediately fell in love with her and within two weeks of bringing her home, she had a medical emergency. I rushed her to the emergency clinic on a Friday night and was told that she needed to have surgery. You can just imagine my worry and confusion. Luna recovered from surgery but she had a relapse a month later which we are monitoring. It appears that she may need a second surgery but only time will tell. For now, we monitor her with the help of pet sitters and you would never know she has any issues at all. She is a happy, playful puppy that everyone falls in love with!

Despite Luna's illness, she brings us a lot of joy and our goal is to get her to be fully healthy. It's interesting because I went to the breeder adamant that I wanted a boy puppy but the boy puppy was a shy, cowering little pup...and in bounds this girl puppy who just had such a fun and wonderful personality. I often think about what would have happened if we hadn't picked her and she had stayed at the breeders. I'm pretty sure that had this all happened, they would have put her down so I feel it's my mission to advocate for her and I hope she fully recovers.

Stitching has slowed down immensely since my nights mostly consist of either cleaning up after Luna, training Luna or having her fall asleep on my arm!

At the end of last year, I finished all the stitching in Anniversaries of the Heart with the exception of the personalizations and a few stitches in the second to last block. I need to get back to choosing and charting personalizations. Here is the final block without personalizations.

And how the whole piece looks right now.

This year, I signed up for the iStitch Red Band Sampler Stitch-a-Long and I just caught up yesterday! I love how the red silk looks on the ivory banding. The next part will be released tomorrow so my goal is to stitch that right away.

Once I've done that, I will decide between working on Anniversaries of the Heart or starting Shakespeare Peddler's Ragamuffin #2.

So I have a question for those of you who have stuck it out to the end of the post and have jumped on the Flosstube bandwagon. How do I get started? I think I would like to do some videos especially since I need to practice my public speaking. Why not start with my blog readers and stitching friends! Can someone point me in the right direction? Is there some sort of tutorial? I hope someone has some ideas.

I'll be back with an update soon.

Take care,
Valerie :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tap Tap Tap...Hello...Is this Thing On?

Hello All...where do I begin?

2016 got away from me somehow. To be honest, it was a tough year. The first half was spent mourning the loss of my dad and it took me a while to adjust to the new normal of not having the most important man in my life present on this earth to talk to. But we talk in a different way now. Whenever I see roses, they make me smile and I feel my dad nearby. When the fiance gifts me roses, I share with my dad. Oh how he would spend weekend mornings outside tending his rosebushes and making sure the yard looked just so. Some days we go get donuts at my childhood place...chocolate old-fashioned...for him always and a cake donut for me. And if there is a car show, I am there. I'm a sucker for old classic muscle cars. I'm thinking that a Chevelle, Camaro or Mustang may be in my future should that mid-life crisis come around. For now, the staid Honda CR-V serves me well.

The last half of 2016 found me in the midst of wedding planning while moving from an apartment to a duplex and going on many trips to Paso Robles, Seattle, Vegas (2x), Mendocino (2x), Los Angeles (2x) and Hawaii.

It has been a whirlwind! That doesn't mean I haven't been stitching though, because boy, have I! It's been therapeutic to just take a mental break from the planning, traveling, packing, moving, unpacking and organizing that has taken over my life.

So let me catch you up on finishes! They are in no particular order and you may have seen some of them already if you are on Facebook or Instagram. Fee free to follow me on Instagram @sfvalerie.

Hands on Design First Day of Christmas ♫ A Patridge in a Pear Tree ♫ Stitched on Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie Peppermint Sparkle linen. I love this color. It's so happy!

Victoria Sampler Love is Patient (called for linen and fibers) First quarter of my wedding sampler. I am now on the Hardanger section but don't have photos on my phone to share. 

Christmas Ornie Gift for my sister. I can't remember what this one is called but I believe it's stitched on Lambswool with CC Cupid. 

Cute pillows that Joy at Finely Finished finally finished for me. 
Lizzie*Kate Ho Ho Ho
With they Needle and Thread Jolly Holly Soul (or something like that..I get confused)

Lizzie*Kate Hats off to Halloween II
Lizzie*Kate Be Very Scary

And blocks from my Anniversaries from the Heart. I really need to dig this one back out. I am missing it!

Well...I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get better at this blogging bit! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

February ♥

Hi Everyone!

Thank you all so much for the kind comments on my previous post. I'm dipping my toes back into the blogging and stitching world. I'm back with my February post! Since I stumbled across my abandoned Anniversaries of the Heart in mid-January, I've been obsessed with stitching on it. I finished the Pink Hill Manor block. I haven't decided if I want to personalize this project or how. This block does not have much blank space but maybe it's a little odd that that basket of flowers is suspended in mid-air? Although, lots of samplers have odd little bits so maybe I shouldn't worry so much about it?

I also completed A Wish For You. This is the block that made me abandon the project in the first place. I wanted to put the full quote into the block and it's stitched over 1! I had to chart and re-chart and here it is! It's a little squished but I'm happy all the words are there. I added a couple of diamonds in the upper left corner instead of the date. I have now started Block 6 which is the Farm House. 

I'm stitching this project in hand so please excuse the wrinkles. I am trying to figure out how to fold over/clip the fabric so I can continue in hand. For the moment, I have it folded over with safety pins because all the clips I had felt too heavy or got in the way. What does everyone else do when stitching in hand on a large project??

And this next project is one I finished in 2015. It's Blissfully Unaware by Hands on Design stitched with the recommended fibers on the recommended linen by Hand-Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie. It was a fun stitch but wow, it was more stitching than I thought and larger than I thought it would be. Note to self: read the measurements on the pattern. That said, it will be a great addition to my Halloween decorating once I manage to get it finished. 

Speaking of finishing, I sent a few pieces to Joy of Finely Finished. I may have found my stitching mojo but I never had much finishing mojo and thought I deserved a little treat for myself. I sent her a Lizzie Kate ornie and she did a great job (ignore the crooked charm, I'm no photographer either :)) I love the little jingle bells at the bottom and the Christmas-y backing fabric.



I also sent her A Little Gray Hare by Lizzie Kate. This piece kept me company during my Dad's nine days of mourning. Joy did a great job finishing it up just like the model, down to the cute jute bow. I plan to rest it alongside my dad's photo. 

There is one more item I sent to Joy but you'll have to come back and see it in the next post. I'm off for a long weekend to Cancun so I will catch up on everyone's posts after I get back.

Until next time...
Valerie :)

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!

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...