Sunday, December 22, 2019

A Finish!

Hello, dear friends,
With the year coming to a close, it's about time I have... a finish! Absolutely not Christmas related, but - what does it matter, right? Here it is.

"Old Witch Mary" by Lila's Studio
It was stitched with Gentle Art Sampler threads, and I so enjoyed the colors.. the toadstools were my favorite.

The verse was stitched with two threads over one, and it was a bit challenging. Also, the pattern called for "u" in "poisonous" to be stitched backwards, but the speller in me did not allow it.

Now, with this project finally finished, I ask myself two questions: how should I frame it - and.. what should I stitch next? Once I make up my mind, I will be sure to check in and share my progress here.

Until next time -

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Stitching to you, my friends!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Merry Christmas...

Hello, dear friends,
It has been, as always, shamefully long. What have I been up to? Working - of course, can't go without it. Taking a class towards a degree in our local college - online. Working out... Reading... Watching movies.... And, of course, stitching. 
School proved to be a bit more stressful than I expected, to the point that, towards the end, I swore to myself that I would not take another class for a while... Things at work got busy, quizzes and homework assignments became due one after another, life changes piled up - I thought I was going to lose it. Then, just like that, the day of the final came, so I got up, dressed up, showed up - and passed it. Now, just a week and a half after the final, I am thinking - hmm, maybe I should take another class in the spring... Perhaps, I am (secretly) a glutton for stress. 

In my reading pursuits, I have discovered for myself books by Toni Morrison. I started with "God Bless The Child." It gripped me right away because of the subject - a strained relationship between mother and daughter. The daughter does not want to be in contact with her mother, save for the occasional post card or check, and she has her reasons. The mother, while respecting her daughter's wishes, believes that she has done the best she could, everything she could, for her child, given the situation they were in. 
Next, I read "Sula." The novel is about lifelong friendship between two women, - but, once again, it's the portrayal of motherhood in the story that spoke to me. Motherhood is doing what you have to do to keep your children alive, safe, and healthy. This is the job, the responsibility, the purpose of it, and everything else beyond that purpose is non-essential fluff.  I could relate to Eva, the mother, when in response to her daughter's question, "Mama, did you ever love us?" answers, "No, not the way you think." The daughter, all grown up, wants to know how come her mother never played with her as a child. Eva answers, "What would I look like leapin' 'round that little room playin' with youngins with three beets to my name?" Taking care of essentials equals love. Providing for your children equals love. Kissing booboos and playing hopscotch is good for a commercial. It has nothing to do with real life, or real love.

Next on my reading list is "Beloved," and I am gathering all my gut strength to read it. 

As for my stitching, I have turned it from a job (as was once upon a time) back into a hobby. I stitch what I want, when I want, with... what I want. 

"Pilgrim Couple" - The Primitive Hare. 
Here is a small Thanksgiving finish - a freebie from The Primitive Hare. I used specialty/variegated threads I had in my stash, and I think it turned out well. 
"Behold" by Subversive Cross Stitch
This pattern I have had in my stash for ages, always thinking, "One day..." Well, that day happened to be just a couple of weeks ago. I stitched it while thinking about the class, the test, the final... and it helped. Now, I think I will frame it and put it someplace private, just so I can look at it once a day and remind myself of what's important.
"Old Witch Mary" WIP by Lila's Studio
As you can see, this one is not quite finished. I saw the row of toadstools and simply fell in love. The threads are from Gentle Art sampler (as per pattern key), stitched on 32 ct Blue Moon Linen. 
The verse is stitched two over one, and at times I want to pull my hair out... but it's all worth it. 
"Year at Hawk Run Hallow" - Carriage House Samplings
Here's another Halloween fragment - from a much larger piece I have been working on for... oh, over a year now. I love the detail in this piece. I keep coming back to it and stitching a little bit at a time... I hope to finish it in the new year. 

Oh, I also tried my hand at baking! Quite unexpectedly. Let me tell you, I am no pastry chef, and even when it comes to everyday cooking, I prefer something "quick and easy" to anything remotely complicated. But, a friend shared a Lussekatter recipe, and it looked delicious and at the same time uncomplicated. So... I did it. By my standards, I did great - that is, the smoke alarm did not go off, nothing burned, and I did not get poisoned.

They don't have much sugar, but the raisins and the saffron make up for it... At first when I tasted one, it seemed like just a regular scone, but with every bite it grew on me. 

Finally, it looks like I have finally become that crazy cat lady I tried to run away from... Oh well. Crystal does not seem to mind. 

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Oh Back To School...

Hello, dear friends,
I am back with exciting news: I am going back to college!
The place I work at has a program that reimburses college students for their approved educational expenses, and my co-workers have been encouraging me to continue on with my schooling, because - education always stays with you, doesn't it? Finally, I learned of the University of La Verne program - several degrees being offered right through our local Hancock College - and made a decision. I am going for my Bachelor's in Business Administration.
Now, in the past, when I posted such announcements, I would always get responses such as, "Congratulations!" and "Go for it!" and "You've got it!" This time, I say it's too early to break out the champagne, so to speak. I am taking it very slow and very seriously - one class at a time. Right now - online, as my job is my first priority. Later, depending on the situation, I may start taking evening classes.
I am also being more pragmatic, - that is (also unlike before) I am not "throwing my all" into the goal of education. I am stating this because when I talked on the phone to my academic adviser, he was very eager to suggest I sign up for everything all at once and "get it out of the way." No, I said. I work full time. I have limits to my time and strength. Education is important, but only if it is congruent with other parts of my life, helps me understand and advance, and does not interfere with my ability to make a living. He seemed a bit bummed and irritated at the end, but.. so what. I got my SEP out of him and signed up for my first class - Algebra -  a couple of weeks later.
Algebra... I have spent most of my educational life trying to avoid it. Now, it seems, there is nowhere to escape. I am tackling it, one lesson and one homework assignment at a time. Officially, the class started Monday, but our amazing teacher gave us a two week head start by posting all the materials on the website two weeks early. Tuesday, I went to the Math Center and rented a scientific calculator, and checked the Center's hours. I know I will be coming there for help regularly, so might as well get comfortable.
Speaking of getting comfortable... I learned all over again how good the coffee is at the college cafeteria, and how tasty their muffins are. Every time I get back to school, I re-discover that fact all over again. For years, educational pursuit for me has been associated with hot strong drinks and pastries.