A Clean Welcome

I knew I would find it eventually.

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I’ve been looking for this little welcome scroll that spent most of it’s life right beside the front door.  It’s one of the very first items I ever stitched for myself!

When we moved into our current house over 19 years ago, it found a home next to the rear entrance.  (I only know it’s been 19 years, because Sean was born the week before we moved!)

But a couple of floods and a remodeling or two, and I’d lost track of which box it landed in.

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This past weekend, Sean demanded that he help me clear a space in the garage (our unfortunate gym/storage/junk – anything but car to be found in – room) so he could set up the treadmill.

 

And look what I found behind the toy box!

The Welcome Scroll

The Welcome Scroll

A little lovin’ cleanup, and I’ve found a location of honor right beside the front entrance.

Now, that’s so much better.

 

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SAL Update – 02-Aug-2015

So, here’s the face of determination!  I so wanted to have the bear’s face complete for this update, and he’s looking pretty good!  There’s still a few white stitches to complete on his nozz – how challenging is stitching white on white!

I’ve also decided to just stop complaining about my eyesight.  It’s something everyone of a certain age has to deal with, so might as well just accept the reality of adjusting my glasses, taking them off (they look sorta cute sitting on top of my head!), peeping over or under, just be grateful that I can see at all.  It could be worse, much worse!

There’s another cross stitch project waiting in the wings, so I really have a push to get this done.

Must stay focussed (literally) 🙂 .

Don’t forget to stop by and visit the other stitchers in the stitch-a-long.  Their links should appear in the bar on the left.

See you in three weeks for yet another update!

SAL Update – 12-Jul-2015

Oh dear – I’ve done it again.  Or rather, I’ve not done it again.

I cannot believe that I haven’t picked up a needle in almost five updates (sounds better than 15 weeks – but really!)  Perhaps I’m realizing why the Bears and Balloons blanket has been in the closet for 24 years.

I just wanted to say Hello to anyone who still checks on my progress – I truly hope I have something to share next go ’round, which I believe will be on August 2.  Can’t believe how fast summer goes!

Do check on what the others are doing – the links are displayed on the left!  Cheerio!

Stitch Along Update – @29-Mar-2015

I’m so glad that I decided to join this group of stitchers who share their progress on their embroidery projects every three weeks.  As upset as I get with myself for not having much progress to share, their encouragement keeps me going.  There’s not much progress to report (again) this time around, but the idea of this SAL is to post progress, no matter how much.

So here is my Bear and Balloon blanket.

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Here’s where I was 3 weeks ago . . .

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I finally entered the bear zone, and I’m trying not to focus on how vast that space is!  He’s a big bear, and pretty much one solid color.  Brown.

Now I have to look forward to starting the rainbow!

Please stop over to the blogs of the other ladies in this SAL – their links are listed over there on the right.  See you again in 3 weeks – April 19 – for another update.

A new way to stitch

Do you remember how you first learned to knit?  If you’re in the “over 40 make that 50″ category like me, I bet you learned from a friend or dear older family member.

My grandma was always knitting something when we visited her in the winter months – scarves were her specialty.  I sure wish I had saved one of them.

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photo credit: allfreeknitting.com

Grandma gave me my first set of knitting needles, showed me a knit stitch and a purl stitch.  I must admit, I never really liked knitting.  Those dropped stitches truly got the best of me.

When I decided I wanted to learn how to crochet, Julie’s mom showed me how to make granny squares one summer.

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photo credit: knotyournanascrochet.com

Isn’t it so funny – and somehow kind of sad – how the crafting arts have evolved, thanks in no small part to this wonderful tool called the internet.

Recently, I’ve been visiting a number of crafting blogs, and have come to realize that my crochet skills are so minimal – there’s a whole world of different and fun stitches out there.  My granny square afghans are very pretty to look at, but ‘holey squares, batman’ they are not very warm!

My blogging friends have introduced me to a number of ‘new to me’ versions, including Bavarian crochet and Tunisian crochet.  And I don’t have to conjure the crochet spirits to show me how – I just needed to Google it.  Hmmmm.

Mikey from the Crochet Crowd, has a very good teaching approach, and with his help I’ve learned Tunisian crochet, or as HIS mentor Dela Wilkins calls it, Railroad Knitting.

He also has a series on learning Bavarian crochet or Catherine Wheel.  It’s more like a Granny Square, and I can’t wait to try it as well.

Yes, can you stand it, I’m learning crochet stitches from a guy!

Stitch Along Update – @08-Mar-2015

So can you stand it?  I actually remembered to contribute my update to the SAL!  I’m not sure what my problem is sometimes.  I get a reminder a few days before the deadline from our trusty leader, Avis, but I keep missing the updates.  I think the kids are right – I’m losing it, slowly but surely.

So, here is the progress I’ve made on the Bear and Balloons blanket.  Here’s where I was at the last update I attended:

B&B @4-Jan-15

And here we are today!

B&B @7-Mar-15

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I’m glad there are large patches of solid color – makes it easy to progress.  Still haven’t touched that bear!

I do wish I had more of a sense of adventure.  I keep thinking I’d like to change up the colors of those balloon strings, but I hate to change up the pattern.  I feel a certain obligation to the pattern maker to complete it as intended.  But that blue string just isn’t the color I would have chosen, if I had designed this pattern!  Such a rule follower, I would be!

Seems like many of us have more than one project going at once.  I wanted to take a moment to share the start I’ve made on the 12 Days project.  My original plan was to work one pane a month, so that by this Christmas, I would have the entire project complete.

Like all good of my plans, this one has fallen a bit behind schedule.  But I am so glad I actually started.

The First Day of Christmas is a Ruffed Grouse in a Pear Tree.

C-Mas Day1 @7-Mar-15

I have a question.  I’m watching many of your projects, and many of you complete your design line by line, I’m guessing you use many needles with threads tucked somewhere.  I’ve always stitched an area by color.  I guess there’s no real right way, but for those of you who have tried both methods, which do you prefer?  I guess there’s a lot more counting my way, and I may try the line by line method just to see for myself.

Or maybe I’m doing it all wrong!

Please check the progress of all the ladies in the SAL – you can find their links over on the right!

Business Blues (or reds or purples)

You can find my entry in the “Grow Your Blog party” here.

I absolutely love this piece.

My favorite colors, a sparkly design.  The latest SeasonalGem.  I made two others, in a red and green scheme, and actually sold them at Christmastime.  This one is a February birthstone piece, more of a violet than a poinsettia.

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Starting a small business is more difficult than it appears.  By the time a new business is up and running, and viewed as a success, the owner has put in more time and effort than most others can ever imagine.  I never realized how little I knew about a business before I tried to start one.

Selling handcrafted items seems like a natural step, after spending hours and hours making items.  How many afghans can you use?  After you have exhausted every relative who you think would appreciate your talents and time, you think that selling them might be the next step.  Interests shift.

The hardest part of being in business has nothing to do with the product.  I find that marketing the product is very challenging.  and lets talk about marketing.

Handcrafted items are bought and sold on Etsy.  I started an Etsy site 24 months ago.  The challenging part of listing an item on Etsy is the photography.  Getting a piece posted includes a description of the item.  When pictures just don’t do the piece justice, the description should bring the piece to life.

My first sale to a non relative came just two weeks before Christmas.  A lovely lady in Oregon ordered one of my poinsettia bracelets.  I packaged it up, mailed it off.  Received a message from her shortly thereafter.  Expecting praises on how gorgeous the piece was, I was shocked to hear that the bracelet had arrived in pieces.  Broken.  And I thought I had packaged it very well, padded envelope, the whole deal.

She sent it back for me to fix – I was lucky to have such an understanding customer.  I sent it back to her, with a small gift of appreciation.  Customer service is one of those things that comes naturally to me.  Go above and beyond to please.

Treat others the way you would want to be treated.  Simple.

So, I continue to make my pieces, take pictures of them in captivating ways, describe them, post them.

Finding Time to Read

I’ve never been an avid reader.  I always found it taxing – read three pages, realize I was actually daydreaming through the last two, reread the last two, move ahead three more, realize you were once again daydreaming through the last two.

I suppose they call it attention deficit disorder these days.  I’ve known about it long before it was an official diagnosis.

Most recently I decided to save a bit of money by riding a vanpool to work.  It’s great – I drive two miles to the meet-up, climb aboard and let someone else deal with all the traffic.  I can sit back and . . . do nothing.

Not really my style.

So I dug out the Kindle and started reading on my daily commute.  I can’t believe the difference this device has made.  I’m not sure why, but I find myself devouring books. Granted, the books I’ve read aren’t hard to concentrate on.  I’m really enjoying a few young adult novels, much to the dismay of my teenage daughter.  But I think the action of clicking through the pages vs. turning the pages of a book might help keep me engaged.

The first books I read on the Kindle were the Twilight series.  Funny story, but I never realized how huge those books were until after I had read them.  My Kindle shows me % of book read, not the actual pages.  So I never knew these books hovered around 600 pages – gulp.

In my page turning days, I know I would have gotten half way through and gotten intimidated by the heft.  Or maybe holding all that weight just got to be too much for me to handle.

I do find it helpful to plug in to some white noise – you can only imagine the din with 12 women riding in close quarters.  I found a great white noise app for my smartphone, and wa la, the din is quieted!

And I’m reading more than ever.

The only problem is, I don’t retain much of what I’ve read.  So I’ve decided to open another vein on my blog – book reviews.

What Alice ForgotI recently finished reading Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot.  Quite a captivating read – a 29-year old woman, wonderfully in love with her husband, suffers a bump on the head, only to wake up and realize she’s actually 39, and the mother of three who is divorcing that wonderful husband.

I think what I liked best about this story was my ability to relate.  Not that I’ve ever lost my memory (I don’t think), but the very idea of waking up to realize I’d missed the past ten years.  What decisions that I make today will be shaping my life ten years from now?  What decisions that I made ten years ago are affecting where I am today?

You can read my review of this book on Goodreads.  Find the link on left.

Grow Your Blog! Blog Party 2015

Welcome to my new blog!  I’m so glad you could stop by!

My name is Elizabeth, and I’ve been blogging along for a couple of years on my gardening site, garden4therapy.  Many of the gardening blogs I follow also feature crafts – quilting, cross stitch, knitting.  Got me to remembering how many crafts I’ve tried over the years, mostly BC (before children).  I wish I had taken pictures of all the items I have given away.  Every once in awhile, one of them crosses my mind.

So goal #1 for this blog is to chronicle the projects I make.  I hope to keep better track of my projects and learn new crafts as I go along.  I will be focusing on cross stitch and crochet for now.

While gardening takes up most of my free time in the summer, I hope to warm up the long cold winter months with my renewed love of crochet, cross stitch, and hopefully a new-found love of quilting.  Goal #2 is to share new patterns and stitches I discover.

Thanks to Vicki at 2 Bags Full for hosting this Blog Party.  I can’t wait to find new blogs to visit and perhaps follow.  Spread that bloggin’ love!  Can’t wait to meet some new blog friends!

Stitch Along – Update @ 04-Jan-15

So the holidays are behind us and a bright and shiny new year is ahead.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  I really tried to take some time and enjoy myself at all the gatherings of family and friends.  Sometimes it feels so very overwhelming, but I do try to have a good time.

I was especially busy these past few weeks, but did manage to find a few hours to make – minimal – progress on my stitching project, Bear & Balloons.  The purple balloon is now complete.  Not quite ready to start on the bear yet – must be patient!

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As I’m working on this blanket, I’m wondering if I should start considering a backing for it.  I’m not making a mess on the reverse side, but it really won’t be anything I’d want to share with the recipient.  Do you think I should treat this like a topper for a quilt?  That’s just a thought.  Unless the blanket is just to be used as a wall hanging.

My mom came through with the promised crafting light (yea – thank you, mom!) and I’m really enjoying evening craft time without so much eye strain.  It’s really made a great difference and I highly recommend its use!  It’s an OttLite but unfortunately did not come with a magnifier.  I think I may be able to order one for it.