Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year!

 Hello, dear friends,

Another year over, the new one is starting. Traditionally, it's the time for drawing the line, making conclusions, reviewing results, and making new plans.

I feel 2021 has been a good, productive year for me. In the past year, I ... 

  • Got a promotion at work. I got promoted from Receptionist to Accounting Clerk - quite a change! New responsibilities, new challenges... New and interesting things to do.
  • Got my citizenship. I am now an American citizen. I can vote! I feel like Pinocchio: "I am a real boy!" (well, girl).
  • Got my passport. I applied for the US Passport - and received it just before Christmas. I can travel abroad (although with pandemic rules right now it is more hypothetical than real, but - all in good time). 
Though the list itself is short - three points, but they are substantial ones. Looking back, I realize that in the past year I have achieved more than the year before, and in the past six years (since my separation and divorce) - more than I have ever achieved in all previous 18 years of my family life/marriage. It is as if to start achieving my goals, I had to first get divorced. 

I have been going to school, and in July of 2022 I will have completed my degree. Just one more semester, two classes. My textbooks for the Spring semester are already here, school starts at the end of January. It will be challenging - two classes with the full time job - but it's not the first time I have to do it. At the end of this challenge, another thing will be accomplished, another thing "ticked off" my "to do" list.

Speaking of lists... I am really into them. "To do" lists, schedules, plans - daily, weekly and monthly, and then yearly, and then "lifetime" goals... I break my challenges into smaller bits, and then work on each bit separately. That way, I am not intimidated by the goals I set for myself. Water breaks stone. 

With all the work, school and life there is one list I have been completely neglecting - my stitching WIP list... As of a week ago, I did not have even one finish to show for the year. I have been trying to stitch, but mostly I just ended up falling asleep in the chair, with my needle in my hand and my project having maybe fifteen stitches added to it...  In December, school vacation started, and with that and the holidays I was able to at least have one finish for the old year - and then the first finish for the New Year. 

"Autumn" by gazette94

I finished it on December 30th. Then, encouraged by the result, I started a new project - "Snowmen" by Durene Jones - and here it is! Finished it at 2 am on January 1. 


Here's to finishes! No matter how small they are. They all count!
Until next time, 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

A Needful Thing

 Hello, dear friends,

Today, on my way from the gym, I walked right into a yard sale - and found me a treasure. 

It's a beautiful wooden box. I would say it's a jewelry box, except I don't have any jewelry. I paid all of $3 for it to the lady, and when I told her I was looking for something to keep my stitching threads in, she even showed me a very nice needlework chest. Except I remembered how I used to own one of these in the past and could not take it with me when I moved, - it was just too bulky and took up too much space. So, I said no thank you - and took this beautiful - wooden - box. I brought it home, inspected it, cleaned it. When I opened the chest and wiped the inside, I noticed that the bottom had a thin crack across it....nothing serious, for what I wanted to use it, it was perfect.

I looked closer to inspect the chip at the bottom and breathed in its smell. It was fresh - like fresh cut wood planks, the ones I smell when passing by the neighbor's new fence every day on my way to work. 

The carved design made me think of Egyptian obelisks and reeds... who knows why.

The iron handles and lock made me think of things locked away and forbidden to children - mothers' and grandmothers' treasures, family keepsakes... The smell of wood, antique cabinets, secretaire desks, old big houses with carved awnings and moulded ceilings - and secrets, secrets locked away from prying eyes of strangers, secrets known only to the "lucky" few, only to those who possessed the right to open the treasure chest, the kind of right that comes with family status. 

I bought a craft box for my threads - and acquired with it more than I expected: someone's hidden memories, preserved in a wooden chest. 

Now, it holds my threads... but I remember that it was never empty to begin with. 

Until next time,

Saturday, October 9, 2021

A Puzzling Update

 Hello, dear friends,

Today, I am showing off my new 3-D puzzle from the Diagon Alley collection. It is freshly put together by me last night.

Quality Quidditch Supplies /Slug& Jiggers

I enjoyed looking at all the details and little "plug-ins," as usual. 

I could not quite place it with the other stores right away - it just... had to stay there by itself for a bit and get used to its neighbors. 

I still don't know if it looks a bit crooked to me because I was putting it together until 3 am, or because it was designed that way. 


This is the fourth store puzzle I have from the Diagon Alley/Harry Potter collection. I also have Hagrid's hut (not in the pic, but put together and displayed as well) and The Burrow (still in the box). 

Diagon Alley

I decided to rearrange the buildings to fit the new one - and here is the result. 

I would love to walk that real street some day. :) 

Until next time, 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Best Plan Ever...

 Hello, dear friends,

Once again, after a long pause, I am back -- with just a few updates. 

Life has been crazy  really busy - with work (I got promoted in July) and school (just two more classes until my degree is finished) in full swing, I barely have time to stitch. That is, officially I do - after work, I sit in my chair and pick up the needle. I make several stitches. Next thing I know - it is two hours later and I am feeling refreshed - after a nap with a needle in my hand and a piece of linen on my lap. I tried to stitch, honest. I even started stitching. I was just too tired to go on.

So, the updates I have are due to me being on vacation this past week. After the initial couple of days of (mostly) sleeping and drinking tea, I looked at my pile of WIPs and decided to make a plan. What a plan it was! I wanted to start - and finish - a new sampler I had just purchased, with a swan and a cute thread ring. I was determined to also complete my "Charles Dickens" by Bothy Threads. Finally, "Mary Mary Needleworker" just HAD to be done! And what about Year at Hawk Run Hollow - I needed to work on that too! 

I had a whole week - more than that, eleven days! True, I had a doctor's appointment, and a pile of homework to catch up on, and a couple of friends to see after a long time apart, but - eleven days, completely free! 

Here is what I was able to accomplish. 

Mary Mary... How long is your skirt?

Here is my "Mary Mary Needleworker", or, as I affectionaly call her sometimes, "the endless orange skirt." I tried to stay focused, but eventually just had to take a break from all this orangy goodness. 

Happy Halloween! 

I did finish the October square of Hawk Run Hollow - just in time for the festivities! The witch's face was too pale against the fabric, so I decided to add some backstitch. What do you think, should I also get her hair outlined, or would it be too much? 

And... that is it. Not much - especially compared to the plan, huh? Oh well. After all, it's just eleven days. I try not to be disappointed. 

My cat Crystal has the best attitude about all plans. Her general motto in life is: "Take a nap." Running behind? Take a nap! Can't remember something? Take a nap - and it will come to you. Frustrated about miscounting stitches? Tired of doing homework? Have I mentioned... 

Guardian of Diagon Alley

Somewhere along the way, I decided to be more like Crystal and stopped worrying about my plan. Instead, I stitch, drink tea, listen to the book, drink more tea, stitch some more... and take my time to enjoy it. 

For what it's worth - I don't have to be back at work until Tuesday, which is still three days away. Who knows, I may still get more done. 


Until next time, 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Stitching Update

 Hello, dear friends,

I am back again, trying to revive this blog of mine. Will it work? I hope so.

Over the past year I have not posted much (anything, really), but I have been stitching and puzzling - when not working or studying. I am trying to finish my second AS degree - in Accounting this time, and I am getting ever so close to the finish line. Right now I am just three classes away from completion. 

So, what have I been stitching on? Some time last year I saw this and got curious. The name of the project - "Charles Dickens" - got me interested, as at the time I was also watching the show "Dickensian". 

The kit is by Bothy Threads. I have always been curious about their "cut through" projects, but this seemed too interesting and unusual to pass by. 

Next - there's "Mary Mary Needleworker" by Lindy Stitches. 

Still love the colors - and the details, like the mushrooms and the thread bobbins, but the skirt is starting to get to me. It is just so vast and so orange. I know it will look beautiful once it's done, though. 

Finally, I have been doing some puzzling. Here's my favorite as of today - the Zodiac Circle. 

I worked on it while listening to "Troubled Blood" by Robert Galbraith. The puzzle completed the book experience.

I hope you read my post until the end and did not get bored. Please leave a comment if you can. 

Until next time, 


Thursday, May 27, 2021

A Grey Ladybug


The other day, I met a grey ladybug. Actually, she just sort of fell into my hair from the bus shelf. I got so freaked for a second I just swapped her away, and she fell into the bus aisle between the seats. She started crawling towards one side of seats, then rolled and changed direction, until she chose to go in a straight line. The whole time I was really hoping that she would not get squished by one of the passengers. When we reached the end of the trip, I discovered her on the floor, alive and well, maybe slightly disoriented. I bent down in the middle of the aisle, scooped her up and marched us outside. 

"Shall we find some grass for you, maybe some flowers?" She was crawling on my hand, grey with dark spots, - an unusual animal. I must have looked really strange to the passersby, standing there, talking to my hand. And then, when I looked away for a moment, just like that, she was gone.

I hope she is OK. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Stitching Updates

 Hello, dear friends,

Once again, it has been... oh, only just over a month? Never mind then, I can hybernate a bit longer...  But I do have some updates to share, so here it goes.

After completing "Thirteen Colonies", I looked around for a new project and discovered myself desperately hooked on samplers. During Nashville Needlework market this year I loved several projects. 

"Seeking Refuge" by Scarlett House perfectly describes how I feel about needlework. Cross stitch is my therapy, it's a skill to combat my fears and anxiety about the challenges of the outside world. So - I had to have this pattern. I even got all the threads it called for. 

Next was "Heaven and Nature" by Teresa Kogut. This one was a bit more complicated. Several years ago I stitched a commission piece designed by Sandy Orton (I Believe) with words "Let Heaven and Nature Sing." For those who remember, it had a garden theme with angels wearing gardening aprons and with garden shears in the pockets. And now, seeing this same verse on the new sampler, I thought - continuity. Something about it spoke to me, perhaps reminded me of the previous project, - and I got the pattern. 

Then, there's the "monster" (because of its size) - "His Eye is on the Sparrow" by Heartstring Samplery. This one - first of the two - interested me because of the way Adam and Eve were designed. I noticed that in many (older) samplers Adam and Eve were pictured in a grotesque, very awkward way. This one makes them look... more human. Not to mention, of course, all the details. 

Finally, there's "Consider the Lilies" - another design by Heartsrting Samplery. Once again, Adam and Eve here look very much alive, not doll-like, and the snake looks like he's holding a conversation... 

Once I received the patterns, I started on kitting the samplers. Fabric was not a problem at the time, but some of the threads, due to COVID, I could not get. Now I know about substitutions and conversions and details that makes the sampler yours, so to speak, but... Truth be told, until now I often had to substitute threads - simply because I could not afford the ones called for in a pattern(s). So, I do want to know what the "original" version with all the called for threads looks like. I will wait on the (last three) threads to become available, then I will start the sampler.

In the meantime, I signed up for - and completed - "Jesus Wept" sampler by Elisabeth Cooper. It came from The Sassy Jack's Stitchery, and it was in many ways a new experience for me. 

I wanted to stitch it, first of all, because it was the first time I was going to work with silk. I learned that silk is a very pleasant material to work with, both soft - and strong. Then, there was something about this design that reminded me of the cave paintings of the ancient times. The birds and the plants, the animals - the way they were designed. It was a very interesting process. 

After this project was completed, I moved on to something more colorful. Mary Mary Needleworker from Lindy Stitches caught my eye. Once again, continuity played part in my selection - Old Witch Mary from Lila's Studio and this project definitely have some things in common. 

For me, it's got something to do with those mushrooms. I could not resist them in Witch Mary - and now I cannot say no to them in Mary Needleworker. They had to be stitched! Not to mention the thread spools, the shoes, the flowers... and the verse of course. That one is still coming, along with more details.  

Until next time,