Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Get on with it!!! :-D

For weeks now I have been telling myself that I would blog about ______ just as soon as it is finished.
I would finish ______ and move on to the next thing, completely forgetting I wanted to blog about it.
Week after week I have done this, but no more!

Been busy getting my life back together.
I walked my first half marathon. 
 I didn't finish. 

(before the race all happy and ready to go... there is no picture of after... for good reasons)

 I apparently have acquired the dreaded "Runner's Trots" and experienced gastric distress around the 7 mile mark.  I made it to 11 miles and could not walk one more step.  To be honest, by that last check point I wasn't so much walking as shuffling zombie style.
Thanks to my Knight in Shining Armor aka Beard Face I was rescued from the last several miles, lifted into a very comfortable chariot and transported to the nearby geocache for the day.
Did I not mention?  In August I participated in the 31 in 31 challenge.  I found a cache a day for 31 days.  THAT.
Is much harder than it sounds and took up far more time than I had expected.  It took over my life.  I had to plan my day not only around the dog walk, but around a geocache.  I did combine them but most caches were at least a half hour away and required a 30 minute walk in to them.  By the end of the month I was dreaded the next morning... but!  I did it!  and I'm proud!

The Sampler in Time Doctor Who sampler is finished, and listed on both Etsy and Craftsy and selling nicely.

 I'm very pleased.

I finished, prepped, photo'd and sent off the entry form for the 2014 Embroidery Guild of America's National Show and Tour.
I'm also very pleased and hopeful of selection.

 I have begun a new sampler.  This one is called Sampling the 'Verse and is a Firefly themed sampler based on this historic sampler...

So.  There.  I've been quiet, but I've been busy.

What I really wanted to share with you all is this little tip.
I have a biscornu I have been working on for a friend.  
On BLACK aida.
Which sucks.
I have a trick... :-D
Normally, light over your shoulder, the holes are difficult to see...

Put a white towel across you lap and A LA Peanut Butter Sandwiches...


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Derailed, deranged, depressed

I have been a bad blogger.
Bad, bad blogger.

I have excuses. 
Do you want to hear them?
Didn't think so.

You did miss me, right?
Let me 'splain..
...no that would take too long...
let me sum up...
In June Spunky had a little operation that set out walking back for weeks and weeks.

In July I fought with depression. Lost some rounds, won some rounds..
Finally got sick of feeling that way and did some research and made a doctor's appointment.
Got back on all the vitamins I am supposed to take and I had mysteriously stopped taking.
Got my ass in gear and started working on it.

August started the world wide geocaching challenge of 31 caches in 31 days.
I am 17 for 17.
Doing one cache a day is time consuming.
Most days I feel like that is all I got done.  That and my walking miles.
Then there are the days I have appointments or need to run errands.
I feel like I have been run ragged.

I told Curt I felt like I was run ragged.
He smiled at me and began to list and explain all the things I am doing daily.
He's right.  It's a lot of shit to do each day.
It is no wonder I feel ragged and worn out.

Yesterday I took a day off.
Snagged my cache, then planted my ass on the couch for the day.
Felt fabulous.
Except today I am once again running ragged.
Can August be over yet?

The Sampler in Time is nearly finished.
If you downloaded the early pattern be warned!
I found errors and made changes!!
Let me know in private if you downloaded it and I will send you an updated copy.
I want it up for sale next week.
It could happen.

Still on track for the marathon on the 26th... but I'm worried I won't make the full marathon.
My feet hurt. 
 Different from before and 5 of my 10 toes have bruised nails.
I have an appointment to have them looked at... but in the mean time I keep changing shoes and walking.

Stuff in the oven.
Best get back to it.
Just call me Ann... Raggedy Ann.
Nothing like the Raggedy Doctor.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Good Grief, is that the time?

I cannot believe how much time has gone by since my last blog.
Guess I have been busy doing other stuffs and totally forgot about my peeps here.
My most humble apologies.

What's going on with Our Crazy April you ask?
Spunky had surgery on his leg two weeks ago.  He had a growth on his dew claw and due to rapid growth and tenderness it was decided to remove the whole thing, claw and all.  The growth is benign and should not spread.  Spunky is slowing going crazy as we are on a no walkies type of deal.  Again.
It is going to be hell getting ready for our marathon next month.  
Might just decide to do half.

What else, you ask?
Weeeeeellll... there was a little excitement over being accepted into the Royal School of Needlework for their foundation degree in hand embroidery... only to discover that due to rules changes they are not currently accepting students from outside the EU.  
Guess I'll go back to plan A and take the certification course instead... no residency check required.

What?  That isn't enough to keep me away from blogging?
What else?
Weellllll... okay.... I've been working through some more of that hormonal crap.
Seriously tired of it and I'm sure it is only starting.
Please may I have my sexuality back.  Would make things a whole lot easier.
Just saying.

And finally...
Been stitching.  What else?
The Sampler in Time is finally moving along nicely even though I had to rip out several hours worth of work yesterday.  I have been posting progress pictures on instagram, tumblr and facebook.  I have a fabulous new following on tumblr who are dying to know when the pattern will be for sale... :-D  
Found this in my inbox the other day...

"Are you going to sell that Sampler in Time pattern BECAUSE I NEED IT IN MY LIFE SO BADLY!"
Made my day.

Then yesterday I open my mail to discover I've sold my first pattern!!! 

So.  Anyway.
Let's see if I can keep you updated a little better in the coming days, shall I?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Pattern creation 201

So last time I posted about creative throes of ... well... creation.

This time I am posting about all of that falling apart.

That's right.  The Doctor Who sampler I was working on, sweated over, whinged about, picked stitch after stitch after stitch out for..... has been dumped.
I hated it.  
There were centering issues.
I hated it.

So I took it back to the drawing board.
But instead of piecing paper together and doing it by hand I used my new PC Stitch program.
Lovely program.  A bit fiddly.  A bit annoying, but it makes pattern creation so much easier in the long run.

I kept all the good bits, taking the time to put them into the program and arrange them where I thought they should go. 
 Then I put a border around it to hold it all together.
Then I added the bits that I thought of while stitching the other disaster.
Then I spent time looking at more historic samplers, causing me to trash more parts of the design and replace them with other bits.

Then I filled in the holes.
Now I am very happy with my complete pattern.
The Tardis has been tweaked.  Her vanishing points are dealt with so much better..
There is actual lettering like a sampler should have.... the fact that they spell out "fantastic"  and "allons-y" are simple coincidence.  Honest.  

There are actual sampler bits.
There is sonic screwdriver, epic scarf and catch phrases.
I'm very happy.
Here.  See?

Sooo much more better.
Yes there is still that damned K-9.  Twice.  In all his fiddly bit glory. 
(but to be honest I worked too hard on him to set him aside)

.....and the link is now gone.  Watch for this pattern on both Etsy and Craftsy.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Pattern Creation 101

Most of you know that I have been in the throes of creation lately.
I got this really neat idea to do a mash-up with two of my favorite things
Science Fiction
Historical Samplers

For my very first attempt I have been using Doctor Who and a mishmash of sampler exemplars.
It has been interesting to say the least.
All consuming to say the most.

I'm not exactly sure how one really does go about designing a piece of stitchery but I started with deciding the subject matter and medium... Doctor Who and counted stitches, mainly cross stitch.  Why?  I don't know... but I believe it is because they have been foremost in my brain of late, what with my new friends on Instagram and what not...


The next logical step to me was figuring out the elements, which is where I sat down with a sketch pad, google search and a sketchy memory of past viewed samplers and went to work.  
This is what I came up with.

Delighted with this start I began to pick out the different elements and work the charts for them.  Naturally, since all good cross stitchers start in the middle, and it really is the centerpiece of the thing, I started with the TARDIS.  
Let me tell you, angles and vanishing points are NOT easy to do on a grid!  
I think I have come up with a happy compromise.
Then I went on to  work out the top bar and worked down and around the center piece, finally winding up at the bottom.
I have included elements of some of my favorite people and things in the series.  River Song's "Hello Sweetie"... K-9 from the Sarah Jane days... Roses for, well, Rose... and "Oy!  Spaceboy! from the beloved Doctor Donna.  There are also symbols from Gallifrey, a favorite quote from a Doctor long gone and some alphabet spelling out Doctor Who.

Here is the pattern I have made and am currently working from.
It is not perfect.
I made mistakes.
(like K-9 being charted on upside down... don't ask)
I am noting and changing as I go.
I am also color coding as I figure out the shading.  Colored pencils are my friend! 
The design is 140 stitches wide by 290 stitches tall.

Here is what I have stitched so far.
Notice the rose border is completely different from the one graphed.  Started stitching it... hated it.  Love this new one and very glad I changed it.  Don't like the letters, and don't like the open spaces.  But.  I will wait to get all the other things on before I decide if I need to add fiddly bits as fill in or not.

So.  Now you are up to date on what I have been so busy with.

I will tell you the next original pattern is done and waiting its turn to be stitched.  
I will also tell you I made a fun little pattern from an internet meme that amused me to no end.  
Next time I think I will put the pattern up here for your enjoyment.

The last thing I will tell you is the next geek sampler is already ruminating in my brain, along with ideas for ones to follow....  the subject of the next geek sampler you ask?  
Star Trek.  Duh.
Followed by Hellboy and Firefly.


Saturday, 8 June 2013

Off and Running!

I have finished the embroidery on two items for my store.
But I can't seem to gear myself to start on the third.
Know why?
I do.

Because I don't want to.
Know why?
I do.

Because I found something else that has caught my imagination, clasped its sweaty little hand and towed it off into the enchanted forest of creativity, skipping and singing and making wishes on dandelions.

I spent the majority of  last week in the creative throes of designing a cross stitch sampler.
Using historic elements I have created a geeky stitcher's dream.
I think.
Judging by the reception the tidbits of photo I have shown have received...
I have a hit.

I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed working on this project.
I have spent, easily 8 hours a day, for all of last week working it out, charting it, considering colors...
It consumed me.
It made me smile.
All day.
Even when I screwed up and charted K-9 in his spot upside down.
(okay... to be fair I woke up the next day in a funk that put a kink in my Saturday game, but I really don't think it had anything to do with the upside down element.  I think it had to do with the pattern being completed)

I might have to change my game plan for Crown Street Cottage.
::whispers::  MIGHT?

I made another cross stitch chart...
This one based on an internet meme I saw that makes me laugh every time I see it.
I worked it out in an evening of Chicken Minutes just to try out a free, downloaded stitch program.
It was also incredibly fun... because, of course...
It all comes back to cake.

 No half stitches, no complicated shading.
Yet charming.
I hope.

I'm thinking, what I need now is beta stitchers.
If you cross stitch, have spare time and are willing to work in a timely fashion, leave me a message here.
There isn't any money in it right now, but I will furnish the supplies.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Four weeks in. Three weeks out...

This week starts week four of marathon training.
I'm feeling good.  
My foot feels good.
I think I am handling the new distances and the speeds rather well.
I'm delighted to already be within reach of my goal pace... but... experience has shown that shaving that last minute off your mile can be a difficult thing.

Kinda like those last few pounds.
But I don't even want to talk about pounds.  
Last week I gained four.
Needless to say (even though I'm going to say it anyway) I was not a happy camper.
After spending several hours with tears threatening to brim over and a constant threat of that quivering bottom lip I have run through all the rationalization, all the reason, all the possibilities.  
I have hit the "I quit" point and the "What's the point? milestone and have kept on walking.
Now on the other side of that I'm still not happy.  
I think I can safely say that I'm not going to let it get to me.
I have decided I am not going to get on the scale again until my next dietitian appointment on the 11th of June.
I am, instead, am going to  continue to work on changing my thoughts about food.  
I am going to continue to work on portions and contents.  
I am going to keep walking.

Because, bottom line...
I.  Feel.  Better.
I look better already, I smile more, I am more confidant, I have more energy.
So even if I'm not losing weight right now I'm still doing something about my health.

This week sees a change!  Rest/3 miles/2 miles/4 miles/cross train/SIX miles.
Five wasn't horrible, so I'm hoping six won't be either... I remember a time when I walked 6 miles daily...
I can do this!

On the home front I continue to stitch!
Lots of ideas running around in my head and I find I have to take time to sketch them out and tuck them away in my idea book or they get all jumbled up inside my head.  
The only problem is the ideas in the book keep getting pushed aside for new ideas.  

I have decided to do it.
Crown Street Cottage will open its doors on June 19th.
Watch this space for new goodies and grand opening offers!

Now to stay on track to have stock to put in that lovely little shop front on Etsy!  

Here is a sneak peak of some of the things I have been working on...

This blog entry has been sitting here for days... waiting for photos...
But I have been totally lost in the throes of creative madness...
No photos.
Just gonna put this up to let you all know I'm still hanging in there.
Photos to come.  Promise!