About Me

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I love anything creative...I am a busy mom of three (+4 dogs, 1 bird, 1 bunny, and 1 sweet husband) who sometimes wishes I had more time/energy/talent to devote to just being creative!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas decorating

So I confirmed my ornament arrived safe and sound for the HOE exchange. I am excited to show it off here. I will definitely be stitching this one again for myself. It was a Hands on Design piece from their chalkboard series. I hand dyed the fabric again for these, and finished it as a flat fold ornament. I loved the felt holly leaves and buttons that were included with the charts, and I added my own little Mill Hill beads along the bottom border for the holly berries.

Last weekend was spent putting up our Christmas decor. Here is my middle child stringing the lights on the tree. And below is my DH being silly with the same light strand. She did the bottom half and he strung the top half of the tree.

Even our little guy got into hanging up the ornaments this year. We also put out our dancing/singing Hallmark snowmen underneath the tree, and about every two seconds he turns them back on so our house has been filled with Christmas jingles already.

And my oldest, I can't believe she is tall enough already to hang the fragile ornaments high up on the tree safely out of brothers reach! She is almost as tall as me already, but in my mind I still see her as a little toddler in footie jammies!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Home Stretch

Almost there on "Blessings Sampler". All I have left is the back-stitching on the acorns, basket, and bottom two borders. There was supposed to be a butterfly along the top of the design, but I left it off as butterflies didn't seem very Autumn/Fall to me. So now I am considering what to put there instead. One of the other designs in this series has bees, and another has a crow which were my first choices. Maybe i'll just add a couple cute buttons up there. Anyway, happy to have this almost done.
Here is a little early Christmas present I bought for myself. A framed/finished piece off of Ebay. I thought this would be a nice addition to my fall decor next year. You should have seen the box they shipped it in, you would have thought they were shipping me a missile or something there were so many layers of bubble wrap. It is a very pretty stitched piece, and the little pumpkin on the side of the frame just adds to the cuteness.

I know I have talked about tracking and planning more. So here is one of my first efforts at tracking stuff. Just checking off how many miles I ran in the month of November. If I had known I was that close to 50 miles total I would have been better on my running. I have been working towards 5 miles on my long runs. Unfortunately the week of Thanksgiving was busy for me and I barely got a single run in. Below is the view across the lake on one of my long runs. That is Camelback Mountain in the distance. This was before the weather here turned cold last week. Well I say cold, the high is supposed to be 70 today so i'm not sure I can call that chilly. For an Arizona girl it is though!

Friday, November 25, 2016

A teeny tiny Holiday hangover.....

Waking up this morning with a headache, and just sore from yesterday. Honestly I didn't even have that much wine with our Thanksgiving feast (2 glasses of Moscato, my favorite wine- kind of a light sweet white wine).  But it was such a busy day, rushing around to get everything cooked and set up, that I didn't eat much the rest of the day and didn't drink any water (just a cup of coffee in the morning) so today I am feeling drained. My two girls are looking forward to going out and doing some Black Friday shopping, and i'm hoping this headache clears before they get out of bed. 

We otherwise had a lovely Thanksgiving. We celebrated my mom's 80th birthday as well as Thanksgiving, so lots of extended family, cousins, aunts, and uncles were there. Luckily my brother hosted the whole thing, so while it was nice not having to clean and decorate our own house, it was kind of a pain hauling food back and forth to his house. But I am thankful for a day spent with my family, that my family has a roof over their heads, food on their table, and everyone is healthy and hopefully happy to be together. How was your holiday if you celebrated yesterday?

I have managed some progress on Blessings Sampler. I do like these charts for the simple DMC threads they use, and the charts themselves are pretty basic and easy to read. Now I just  have some filling in stitching to do on the leaves and basket, so maybe just maybe this will continue to be worked on in the coming week. 

This lovely ornament also arrived in the mail from Rosa all the way from Canada. Where I imagine there is snow on the ground already. The high here yesterday was 75, so we had dinner outside by candlelight, and it was just chilly enough to feel like Fall still. Anyway, this ornament was part of the Hooked on Exchanging Christmas exchange that Rosa herself suggested we do. I am so happy she prompted me to do another exchange. We had exchanged ornaments last year through the HOE blog, and she does gorgeous work. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Itchy Stitching Fingers

I've had itchy stitching fingers this week, coupled with a short attention span so there has been little to no progress on Kitchen Sampler. I did pull this one out of my stitching basket though, it is "Blessings Sampler" by Diane Arthurs of Imaginating. I love how she does her leaves, and colors on her charts.

If I had any sense in my head I would work on the WIP's that are closest to being done, so that I could actually meet my goal of having 25% of them done by the end of the year. Instead I meander through my stitching basket. I figure though that if I don't start anything new, and am still progressing on the multiple WIPs I have (ummm my current total would be 39--- don't tell anyone!)...anyways if I just keep stitching on the projects I have then eventually I am bound to finish some of them. 39 projects is a lot to rotate through. Even my short attention span should not be able to get bored with that many.

Other than that, I mailed off my Christmas exchange piece through the Hooked on Exchanging blog last weekend. I can't wait to show it here, but it has not arrived yet at my partner's mailbox. I organized this exchange, the blog had gone dormant since the beginning of 2016. I was a little nervous about it all (would anyone want to exchange with me/what if someone didn't stitch anything), but am so happy I did it. I am not the most organized stitcher, but I do love stitching for people who truly appreciate the work that goes into making a stitched gift, and I love the surprise of getting cross stitch in the mail. I am thinking of doing a spring or Valentine exchange after the holidays are over to keep the blog going, hopefully a few more stitchers will want to join in too.

I'll end with a funny I saw in one of my Facebook stitching groups:

Why isn't there a delivery option of:
"Don't deliver all the stuff I ordered online when my husband is home to see it"

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coming Along Nicely!

 Kitchen Sampler is almost almost done. So much back-stitching, I swear it takes more time than the actual cross-stitching. Only 4 or 5 more little areas to finish though, and then there is a short verse at the top.

I realized I made a mistake in my WIP list. For some reason I thought I had 14 finishes so far this year, but it turns out I only have 12. So to meet my goal of 25% done, I need to finish at least one more stitch. So I am buckling down and sticking to Kitchen Sampler.

I worked on Kitchen Sampler this weekend while watching "I-Origins" with my husband on our couch. Exciting date night, huh? But I will say I highly recommend the movie. It is a sci-fi (kind of) movie with actors I have never seen before (actually the guy who plays Glen in Walking Dead had a very minor part in it) but the story makes you think. It was about a team of scientists searching for a link to prove a theory of reincarnation. Very well done story of religion vs. science.

We also had a very busy, very fun rest of the weekend. Saturday morning we did the annual Lymphoma walk at our Zoo. Both my husband and I have lost a parent to Leukemia, so this is something we both hope to see a cure for in our lifetimes. The zoo though has all these amazing lego animals (life-size) on display throughout the zoo, with little placards saying how long they took to build and how many legos were involved. They had a polar bear and cubs that weighed 650 pounds built entirely out of legos! Then Saturday night a local church was hosting a movie in the park. So we took the kids and watched Home Alone, while munching on lots of food truck fair (think Kettlecorn/Snowcones/and pot-stickers)

And here is my other stitching project this week, though it has received significantly less attention than Kitchen Sampler. This one is Drawn Thread "Halloween". I ran out of one of the greens I needed, so have been focusing on finishing up the ghosts until I can get more WDW Moss. This one has been a pretty fun stitch, and I will definitely be stitching more of their Halloween patterns (once I am off my self-imposed WIP restriction that is).

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


A bit of progress on Kitchen Sampler, I at least haven't put it down yet and feel like this just might be my 14th finish before the end of the year. Lots of back-stitching which is hard to see on the chart (either that or my eyes are just getting old)

I treated myself to a little stash enhancement last week. We went out to Attic Needlework in Mesa, which is about a 45 minute drive away from home, i'm lucky it's not closer or I would be broke! The two above charts are Heart in Hand, "It Was Always You" and "Two Become One". I have an idea to do them both on the same fabric, and use a collage frame to frame them with some of our wedding pictures. 

I also picked up a Lizzie Kate kit, because I can't get enough of her Halloween charts. This kit comes with the prettiest black fabric to embellish the top of the pouch. I am staying firm in my resolve though not to start anything new until I get through more of my current WIPs.

I also picked up this chart by C Street Samplers. This was the store model. I hadn't realized looking at it how many specialty stitches were used in this project. The waves are all satin stitched, and her tail is all Smyrna crosses. The instructions are written like a band sampler, dividing it into sections with directions for each so fingers crossed I can figure it out. It's not that i'm not good at following directions, I just don't have the attention span to read past step 1 most of the time.

On the health front of things, I am excited Weight Watchers is doing another charm for attending meetings over the holiday season. Their summer charm is the running man in the middle of my charm bracelet above. I also lost 2.4 pounds this week! I am trying to be really good since we are taking our Christmas pictures this next weekend. On the running side of things I have ran 14 miles so far this month. I have stretched my short runs from 2 to 3 miles, and am trying to do a long run of 5 miles once a week. So I feel like I am still slugging along towards getting healthier. I do like my fitbit for the motivation of being able to track how many steps I am getting each day, and how many times a week I am actually working out. I have been pretty consistent with working out 5 days each week.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween witches and ghouls and ghosties..oh my!

 I attached the final beads to this last week, and am happy to have it out and done for this Halloween. Now just to finish the other 2 Lizzie Kate Halloween pieces I have in my stitching basket.
Since that one was done, I reached in my basket for another WIP to try and finish, and this one "Kitchen Sampler" for some reason just called to me. I didn't even have it properly kitted up, so had to dig for all the threads I needed. This piece actually started as someone else's WIP, the bottom third was stitched already (and beautifully done) so I just had to finish it! It is an older chart, with lots of back-stitching in it (yuck! but doesn't it make it look great once it's done!)

 And here is "Daisies" finally framed up and finished. It's hard to see in the the photo but I added gold beads to the center of each little violet in the middle. I am also very glad I convinced myself to add the checkerboard edging I was originally going to leave off. It is subtle, but I think it looks very nice against the light gray frame.
And here is our family pumpkin carving, and yes I am wearing cat ears (why shouldn't a middle aged woman get to dress up a bit!). I love everything about the Halloween season, but can I make a small confession here? I am secretly excited to put it all away tomorrow, and have the house be back to clean and simple for a month before all the Christmas decorations go up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Just in time for Halloween!

 Okay, I hope everyone has seen this one by now. I just finished LK mystery sampler "Spooked " tonight and am excited to have it done just in time for Halloween! Well almost done, I have to add the beads to the circle on the upper left part to make the "31". I have some very pretty purple beads I want to use instead of stitching the numbers. I love how this one turned out, even with a few mistakes along the way (you might notice I had to improvise on the line on the right side of the center panel no idea how I screwed that one up!). This is my 14th WIP finish for the quarter, though this one has only been in my stitching basket since June of course!
And this finally arrived, my Erin Condren planner for 2017! I customized my cover, you might notice there is even a photo of me and my Nora Corbett mermaid in the center! I think the photos turned out well. I may order another photo collage cover mid-way through the year since they are pretty cheap ($8) and easy to switch out.

I also ordered the sticker accessory book. The ones on the right are little sticky notes, but the ones on the left are more like stickers you can write on. The ones in the middle with the holes are meant to go along to-do lists or checklists which I think I will write plenty of in this planner (I do like checking each item off of my to-do list)

I also ordered some custom schedule stickers off of Etsy. I liked the little boxes to write in your work hours.

 This is one of my first weekly page layouts. I ordered the neutral (black/white) planner instead of the watercolor one so I could decorate it my own way. I'm still not sure if I should have ordered the more colorful version. I love cheerful colors in my planner, but also like a clean-ish page to start with.

So of course I had to go out and buy a few accessories for it, stickers and pen and washi tape (fun colorful tape to decorate my pages with). I loved the little paw stickers, and plan to use them to help me remember dog baths each month. I also liked the center post-it notes with the grid lines on them. I have seen some amazing bullet journals on Pinterest, and like the idea of using something like this to track things like my running, weight loss, and I even started a little page for # of books read each month.  I also found a roll of the washi tape in ombre colors at Hobby Lobby, which makes for a nice "frame" around my pages.

So having fun with my new planner. Still on the fence over whether I will love it more than my current one. I think having a weekly view instead of a daily view will help me plan my weeks a little better, but I also liked having more page space each day to write and doodle.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

State fair fun!

 We went to the state fair this week, after me feeling under the weather for most of the week. The fair is only open until Halloween, so I didn't want to risk missing it. I actually was feeling so sick I didn't accomplish any stitching of my own this week (you know it's bad when I don't even want to lift a needle!) But I have lots of pretty stitching to show you from the fair. Above is two of the quilts I loved. Lots of gorgeous quilting, but they hang the bigger quilts from the rafters so people won't touch them and it makes it hard to get good pictures of them. Aren't the fall colors in these two beautiful?
 Here is a wall of some of the cross stitching and needlepoint. I loved the fabric used on the snowman circle in the middle. It was hand dyed and had spots of white that looked just like snow against the chilly blue. And isn't that icy white frame perfect for it?
Fjord ponies by Ink Circles. I loved seeing the variegated blues on this one, and the stitching was so delicate. Beautiful sampler.

Let's be Wicked-- I think this one is an Ursula Michael's design right? Didn't she do a bunch of word designs for one of the cross stitch magazines? Anyway, I love anything Halloween so this was right up my alley.

Oh, I forgot the name of this sampler, but it was amazing to see up close! The colors were gorgeous together, and the linen looked so delicate, I couldn't even guess how high a count this was stitched on. It definitely deserved a blue ribbon.

And here is one of my favorites. I actually have this chart in my own stash, and seeing her in person made my fingers itch to pull it out. They finished it as a stand-up display, and the beading on it was perfect. Even my girls had to ooh and aah over it before dragging me back outside to the rides and fry bread (the southwest version of funnel cakes kind of)

 Another blue ribbon piece. They didn't include the name of this design on their entry tag. Maybe a Teresa Wentzler? Solid stitching, and a great design.
And not cross stitch, but from the fine arts section. I really liked this mixed media collage. It was made mostly of wood and wood chips and was 3-D. Looked like the little owl was flying right off of the piece. So fun seeing what other artists create and what they make it out of (I guess not everyone loves needles and threads!)
Lastly I had to share my spooky thrifting haul from today. I love Goodwill and any second hand store, finding unique stuff for cheap is a thrill for me. I found two older Stephen King books, I am working on building a collection of the hard covers of all of his novels. It has been a while since I read these two particular titles. You know what my favorite part of used books is? Finding other people's inscriptions, or notes in the margins, or even just folded over pages that makes me wonder if they ever even finished the book. Also Roald Dahl's Ghost Stories. My middle daughter and I have read all of his children's novels, and this is a collection by him of other authors spooky tales. I look forward to sharing it with her. We also found a really nice pocket watch for the same daughter. She is dressing up as Alice in Wonderland this Halloween, and has a little white rabbit to carry with her. So the pocket watch will be attached to the white rabbit's vest as part of his costume. And I found a very nice running jacket for myself. Not that it has been cold enough to need one yet here in Arizona, but I have been running and enjoying the slightly cooler fall temps already. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Mornings

I woke up at two this morning, and tossed and turned for a bit until finally I just gave up and went and put in a movie and stitched for a bit. Daisies is done, but I wanted to get it in the frame before showing it off here. So back to some Halloween stitching (and hopefully finishing!) Above is my Drawn Thread piece, i'd say it's about 50% done. Only four or five colors in this which I like, I am stitching all the ghosts and skeletons in glow in the dark white. Maybe this will be this weeks finish?

And here is what I did with the rest of my early morning. I worked up two new vision boards for myself. One having to do with my goal of running a 10 minute mile by the end of the year (and hopefully a half marathon in January). The other for my goal of losing 35% of my body weight. I tried to pick images that represent healthy instead of just thin. Cause for me, i'll probably never be "skinny" I just want to fit back into size 8 jeans. I will also never again be a 20 year old in a bikini, but I hope to make 40 look good! 

I also ran 3 miles this morning with my favorite border collie. I have added an extra mile to our neighborhood runs, with an eye towards the half marathon and I have to laugh at how upset both my running partners are at the change to the route. I run with Mary, the above border collie mix and our foster dog who is part shepherd/part lab. So both reasonably smart dogs. On the runs they know where we turn at, and when we ran past the street they both tried to turn me around and "herd" me in the right direction. Don't worry, they are both young and healthy dogs so the extra mile is not going to kill either of them (though I can't say I make it look easy!)

And here is a project I have been playing around with this weekend. The design is "Little Bee" by Lizzie Kate. I finished stitching it earlier this summer, and now have an idea to turn it into a pillow. I saw the fabric (Moda: Bee Creative) and thought how perfect for my pillow. So my idea is to make a hexagon pattern with the fabric to make it look like a honeycomb around my cross stitched piece. In my head it looks fabulous, we will see if my sewing skills are up for the challenge. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Change and Indecision 2017

I'll start my post with happy thoughts today, something that never causes me stress and soothes my frayed nerves- cross stitch of course! Here is my progress on "Fresh as a Daisy", those squares around the outside are so boring to stitch and hard to even see in this photo, but I think they will really make a difference against the light grey frame I picked for this piece. Eager to get this done!

I'm going to blather for a bit now about my first world problem of the week, so if your just here for the stitching maybe skip ahead! It's time to order a new planner for next year. 2017 is coming up quick! This is the first year I have really committed to using a planner, and I have to say I LOVE IT, it has become such a huge part of my day. And i'm not one of those ladies who decorate their planner, and color code my to do list, and add in a ton of stickers. There are some beautifully decorated planners and journals out there, but mine is strictly business. With three kids all in different schools, a husband who works, a full time job of my own, pets who have appointments and schedules of their own, and a house to keep afloat believe me I need some glue to hold it all together. And my planner is the glue to my daily schedule. My husband asked why I don't just use my phone, and occasionally I will save a to do list or shopping list on my phone, but I love having a book I can look back on, and see my weeks/months all in one place. It goes everywhere with me. So my planner this year was a Kitlife planner, It had a page for every day, and goal setting pages, and a nice sturdy laminated cover (that I could tape quotes on to my hearts content). My problem is that I HATE the cover designs for 2017, I just couldn't see carrying it around with me, all three options they offered looked gaudy. Soooo after much stress over it, and watching all the reviews on youtube (there are thousands!), and comparing planners over and over again, I have made the switch to an Erin Condren planner for next year. They didn't have daily page views, but did have a zillion cover options and options for the colors inside the planner, and a whole cult of planner devotees so I am hoping for the best. I am so nervous though waiting for it to arrive so I can compare it to what I have used and loved this year. For something I will use every day, several times a day for the next 365 days I better love it! Do you use a planner, or journal, or daily to do list? Any suggestions? Anyone out there with an Erin Condren that can reassure me they are as awesome as all the reviews say they are? 
As a disclosure neither company is even aware I exist or paid/gave me anything to write any of the above blather. I'm just a mom who struggles with picking planners.

And if you're wondering about the quote I have taped to the front of this years planners, it is from American author David Foster Wallace from a commencement speech "This is Water". It reminds me to stay mindful and grateful in my day to day hamster wheel. There is a wonderful you tube video with his speech here. He talks about going to the grocery store when you are tired and hungry and just sick of  being an adult, and remembering to have empathy for others and not get stuck in the mindset that "I am the center of the universe", Something that I think is very important *and sometimes very hard* to remember.

 I'll end with a funny family story- I have a "secret" baby! My youngest is almost three now, and each night before he goes to bed we talk about our family and who loves him: "Daddy loves you, mommy loves you, sisters loves you and so on". So I heard him going through his list as daddy was putting him to bed, and he says "sisters love me, baby loves me, nana loves me.." and I hear my husband say "BABY? what baby?". I had to laugh, and explain to my husband that there is no baby. My youngest always points to the family stickers on my car and names who it is, and like every toddler he knows he's not a baby anymore so when he gets to the baby stickers he just calls it "baby". My husband was relieved to hear that we would not be adding another baby to our bunch, and I guess its time for me to buy a little boy sticker for my car (though he is still of course my little baby!)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

I only thought it was done

So I thought I had "Fresh as a Daisy" finished this weekend, all the violets in the center are beaded,and initial added. But then I put it in the frame and realized it was not complete. On the chart there is a very subtle checkerboard stitched around the outside of the daisies. Well I left it off thinking it barely showed anyways. Now that I have it in the frame though (excuse the wrinkles it's not ironed yet or laced) I think it needs the little extra to help fill out the frame. So I will be spending tonight stitching endless boring squares around my daisies, but will at least feel better about my finish once they are done.

Here is a bit of our Halloween decor this year. This is the wall of our dining room. On the far left is an skull from a pattern I got off etsy, and then handcut the matting for. In the oval frame is Trick or Treat fairy by Nora Corbett, on the top right is a Barbara Ana design "Spooky Tree" that I stitched in 2012 and is still one of my favorites (I hand dyed the linen for it also), and on the bottom is one of my oldest Halloween stitches, a Jim Shore design "Halloween Trio". On the shelf above it I have the matching figurine for it. 

Here is our Halloween couch, I stitched the four pillows last year, from left to right there is a pirate, a pumpkin, a black cat, and a mummy. In the center is a Trilogy Design "Sneak Peak".

And last but not least our very spooky powder room, done up in lots of glow in the dark skulls. On the shelf is a Lizzie Kate bonus chart from her 2012 Halloween sampler. The shower curtain has lots of glow in the dark ghosts on it, plus the spider soap dispenser glows, and the skulls on the mirror I painted with glow in the dark paint. Our toddler keeps trying to take everyone in there and shut the door so he can show off the spookiness. 

In the midst of all the Halloween decorating I have been getting ready to stitch up some Christmas ornaments. I hand dyed the linen I am using for them, and just have to brag about how great it turned out. I used RIT liquid dye in "graphite" for a chalkboard effect, and I love the color. It is not quite as variegated as it would have been if I had spent the $$ on over-dyed fabric, but for something small like ornaments it will do just fine!