Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The rules for this award:
1. Put the logo on your blog;
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you;
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs;
4. Add links to those blogs on yours;
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.
And my nominees are:
Thank you for your recent order.
We regret that the item you ordered is out of stock and is no longer
available from our supplier. We have issued a full refund to your
Pleasae accept our apologies for any dissapointment caused.
While it would have been really nice to know this six weeks ago, at least I got my money back, and was able to order the kit from SewExciting. (I hope this is a better experience). What sucks is that between the conversion rate and the higher shipping cost at SewExciting, the kit has gone from costing me $19 to $26. Oh well. Not much I can do. At least they refunded my payment. Too bad I had to go through Paypal to get it done.
And a very special thanks to Sally, who offered to call Stitch1Knit1 for me.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Fair enough. Those are all valid reasons, not to mention you're avoiding potentially hurting someone's feeling because you didn't give them an award. But sometimes, when considering to pass on said awards, I think we focus a little too much on the negative aspects and forget about the good things. For instance, how nice did it feel to get a comment or an email from someone telling you they thought enough of you, your work, and your blog to give you an award? Really nice, right? Made your day? Made you feel appreciated? Let you know people are listening to what you say, and perhaps find you inspirational? How nice would it be to pass on that feeling to someone else?
And let's not forget the social networking aspect of blogging. LNSs are closing left and right, designers are going out of business, and it can be hard to find local stitching communities. Thankfully, we have the Internet, from which we can not only acquire stash, but inspiration, encouragement, and friendships as well. The Internet is what helps so many of us stay connected to our craft and to our fellow stitchers, and those links have to be maintained and expanded. The more links we can add to our our networks, the stronger the community becomes.
Why not put out a few new links every now and again for your readers to follow, and help them discover new blogs, new techniques, new designers, etc., for themselves? I personally have found tons of ideas and inspiration from all the blogs I read, and I feel good being able to share them with others. Yes, I know a lot of bloggers maintain a blogroll or a list of links in their sidebars, but with so many people using readers (myself included), it's likely that visits to your actual blog are rare. There may not be as many people checking out your blogroll as you think.
I don't mind picking a few blogs from the many I read and highlighting them in a post. It takes me just a few short minutes, and I feel it's a wise investment of my time if I can make one person feel good, or help someone else find a new blog they may not have been familiar with. I don't think it matters if the award has been given before, and if someone's feelings are hurt because they didn't get an award, then perhaps it should say something to them about making a bigger impression on the blogging community.
I feel so bad when people put themselves and their blogs down because they think nobody is reading them and are contemplating closing them. I feel for new bloggers when they are unsuccessful trying to break into the community and generate some traffic to their blog. It's not much fun when you put yourself and your work out there, and nobody seems to care because nobody knows how to find you, or even that you exist.
I didn't single anyone out because we're all busy with lives outside the cross stitch and online worlds, and it's not my place to tell anyone else how to handle their blog. But I do urge you, that the next time you get an award, to consider passing it on and highlighting a few of the blogs you read in a post. A little care and nurturing in the blogging community can really go a long way towards helping not only stay alive, but thrive.
Friday, July 25, 2008
7/11/08: How do you balance your stitching time with your other obligations such as work, household chores, etc.?
I don't really have trouble balancing stitching with other obligations. I stitch when I can, usually at night. I find it relaxing and somewhat meditative. I always take stitching with me on vacation, even when DH and I are traveling place to place. When we stay in hotels, I like to spend a little while before I go to bed stitching. I guess I like that little bit of consistency.
And I guess the other big thing is that we don't have children yet. Some of my friends and family members who have children say I better stitch all I can now because I won't have time once we have a baby, and I sincerely hope that's not the case. Maybe this is a non-parent saying this, but I really do think you need to make time for yourself as an adult, as your own person, once you have a child, even if it's just a few minutes a day. I've seen people who allow their entire life to be dictated by their children, and I think it just burns them out very quickly. If you don't do something for yourself to recharge your batteries, how can you continue to do for other people?
Thankfully, I've been involved in the stitching / blogging community, and I know a lot of you are both stitchers and parents of children of all ages, from newborns to teenagers and up. I know it is possible to continue stitching without neglecting your children, and to continue pursuing a hobby that brings you joy (and much needed relaxation.) I want to say thank you to all you parents who demonstrate that your entire life doesn't have to be consumed by your kids!
6/18/08: Do you currently subscribe to any stitching publications or have you in the past? (Either in print or online) If so, which ones?
I don't subscribe to any publications at all. Occasionally I will flip through magazines in the bookstore, but the only ones I've ever been tempted to purchase are the JCS Christmas Ornament ones. In fact, I wish I discovered those sooner! I only started buying them last year, and it's something I'll definitely continue.
I refuse to buy the stitching magazines that are sealed up without knowing what's in them. I think they're just too expensive to just buy without knowing what you're getting into, and most of the time, there isn't a pattern in any magazine that makes me say, "I MUST OWN THIS NOW".
5/18/08: Do you ever get to a point working on a project that you’ve had for so long, you start to wonder what possessed you to start it in the first place? (Submitted by Jan)
I can't say that I have. I usually make myself try to finish things so they're not sitting around forever (Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? LOL) No, seriously. I do try to finish things up. The trick is to not start any huge projects. I obsess and obsess and obsess over things before I pick them, so usually when I buy something, I'm really in love with it and am excited about working on it. Usually. Sometimes things do fall by the wayside.
I must admit, I do own some Dimensions kits that I can't figure out why I got them or what I plan on doing with them if and when I stitch them. They're from my early days of stitching, and I think I've gotten a little more sophisticated (for lack of a better word) with stitching where I prefer to take on more complicated projects than some of the early purchases. And most of the Dimensions kits I have are on 14 ct. Aida, which I don't really like to stitch on as much any more (I prefer stitching over 2 on evenweaves or linens)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
By the way, I must once again plug my Vera Bradley Little Travel Case. Sadly, the piece has been discontinued, but you can still find some on places like eBags, eBay, etc. If you don't have one and you like Vera Bradley, you might want to pick one up. My small size scroll frame fits perfectly, though my medium one doesn't quite get in there all the way. It keeps my charts flat and has plenty of room for my tools and threads. I've used this several times now - down the shore, weekend trips, and waiting rooms, and it's been fantastic. And since eBags has it on sale for $25, well worth it! (the color selection is limited though)
A little later on, another woman in the waiting room came over and asked if I had scissors she could borrow. She was using perle cotton to hemstitch some receiving blankets and had forgotten to pack scissors. She said she did a lot of traveling and got tired of having her scissors confiscated at the airport. I told her she could get a clover cutter, and she said she never heard of one! I told her any sewing store should have one, and if she couldn't find one, needlework shops would have them as well. And since the blade is completely enclosed and can only be used for threads, she should have no problems at the airport. As you can imagine, she was quite happy to know there was a solution to her problem and said she'd be going out to get one ASAP.
After our adventures at the hospital, DH was feeling up to it, so we dropped off a prescription, went for breakfast, then stopped by AC Moore. I wanted to pick up a linen tester that I had seen on several other blogs. A few people have had serious issues when they discovered the fabric they were stitching on was a different thread count than it had been labeled. I used my 40% off coupon, so for under $3, it's cheap insurance that I don't start stitching something only to discover I'm about to run off the end of the fabric.
We also wanted to look at some dollhouse things. Now that we've moved, DH is itching to start the lighthouse dollhouse we bought 2 years ago. When he was younger, he helped his grandfather build a house for his cousin, and has always wanted to do another one. When we spotted this lighthouse at AC Moore, we knew it would be perfect for us. (Now to obtain the keeper's cottage). We're still deciding on paint colors and how we're going to do the inside, but we'd like to keep them simple. This is a New England Lighthouse, after all! I'd also like it to reflect some of the lighthouses we've visited, so we'll flip through our photos and try to pick out details from our travels to incorporate into the light.
And FINALLY, my new LNS. I was sad to leave The Strawberry Sampler, as they always had a ton of great stuff there, and an incredible staff, but the 90 minute drive to visit them can really only be done occasionally, especially with the price of gas. I had to find something closer, and to be honest, the selection at the mass market stores like Michael's and Joanns has been disappointing. Sure, for DMC and some tools, they're great, especially with sale prices and coupons, but their selection leaves much to be desired. And the stores closest to me only have a bare minimum of the bare minimum. I have to go 20 miles to get to a half decent selection at a Joann Superstore as my local Joann's seems to only carry sewing items (fabric, patterns, notions) and seasonal decor. Their cross stitch stuff is some DMC, needles and Aida fabric. I don' think they had even 1/2 dozen charts in the store.
Anyway, short of ordering on the internet, the situation is somewhat dire, but we stopped by Just Cross Stitch in Royersford. It's on the small side - basically 2 rooms in a former house converted to commercial space, but they have a fantastic selection and the store is well organized. Everything is accessible, and while there's a lot to look at, it doesn't feel too crowded. And they have all the specialty threads I need, and a HUGE selection of fabric. Even better than the Strawberry Sampler had, plus they will cut and serge the fabric you need for a chart on the spot, a service the Strawberry Sampler didn't offer.
The woman working there was also quite friendly and helpful (I wish I could remember her name!). Apparently the owner just had knee replacement surgery that morning, so two of her friends were actually volunteering to keep the shop open for her - and being paid in charts and discounts instead of a salary. She also clued me in to a few local stitching groups and said that the shop sponsors a big "stitch in" in the fall at a local park that always has a good turn out and is a lot of fun. The shop doesn't have their own website, but they do have an email list, so I signed up for that, of course! And I picked up a grab bag of odd cuts of 28 ct. fabric in assorted colors. One of the pieces in the bag appears to be a hand-dyed piece in a gorgeously soft linen, so I am looking forward to finding something to stitch on that. It was $7.50 for the bag of about 10 pieces, all about the right size for ornaments / fobs / small pieces, so I think it was quite a bargain, and it will help me branch out a little with colors.
So it looks like the voting is coming down to the My Big Toe Designs piece and the Bent Creek "I Do". I hadn't mentioned it earlier, but DH picked I Do as his favorite, and it looks like I'm leaning towards that one as well. But I still really love the Big Toe one, so I ended up buying that one yesterday for my stash. The I Do wasn't in stock, so they're going to order it and let me know when it comes in.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Then I tried contacting them through their website. No answer. So I tried contacting them through Paypal.com's dispute resolution process. Nothing. Not a single word. I can't even tell you how frustrated I am by this. If someone screwed up and forgot to send the package, fine. I can understand that. If the item is backordered, let me know. But don't take my money and then not even have the decency to respond when I ask you very politely when I can expect my chart.
Finally today I got so fed up with not hearing back from them, I escalated the issue to a claim with Paypal, and hopefully I'll be able to get my money back so I can order it elsewhere. Has anyone ever shopping in their store or ordered from them online? Is this something that happens to a lot of people or is this just a fluke of bad service? I tried googling the store name but didn't come up with much, so I am interested to know if anyone has dealt with them. Also, has anyone ever filed a claim through Paypal? If so, how did it work out?
Monday, July 21, 2008
Before I get to the designs I've chosen, let me fill you in a little. Jenny and her soon to be DH are in their mid-twenties, they're fun, active and into the outdoors. Their home is decorated with a lot of neutrals and earth tones, and many things on their registry were olive greens, linen / flax, burnt orange, oil rubbed bronze, chocolate brown, etc. The wedding colors are similar - their invites were a cream color card with an olivy-green monogram and brown ribbon, so that's narrowed down the color scheme for me. These are the designs I've picked, in no particular order, and I've set up a little poll for voting.
#1. I Do by Bent Creek
#2. The Wedding by My Big Toe Designs (to be done in green and brown)
#3. Two Shall Be as One by Lizzie*Kate
#4. Wedding Row by Bent Creek
Thoughts? Opinions? Different suggestions?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Additionally, she'll be signing books at the Borders in Stroudsburg, PA, tomorrow from 1-3. I know the likelihood of any readers of this blog being in the area is slim to none, but on the off chance you are around, stop by and say HI!
5 Things in your bag / purse:
3. Keyring filled with club card keytags (I'll sign up for anything)
4. Pill box - I always have advil, immodium, acid reducer and aspirin in my purse. Always.
5. My iPod. I don't leave home without it
5 Things in your bedroom:
1. King Size bed - I detest sleeping in anything smaller
2. A rocking chair I've had since birth (it belonged to my grandmother before I got it)
3. A love seat and ottoman - I admit, it feels a little decadent to have an entire separate sitting area, but I absolutely love it
4. The teddybear I still sleep with
5. My wedding gown, in its acid free box, under the bed. The best temperature controlled, dust free place in the house!
5 Things I have always wanted:
(I am going to be completely, completely selfish here)
1. Pets - dogs, cats, fish, doesn't matter. I have the cat and fish, now I really want the dog
2. A sailboat - I love, love, love being on the water
3. A weekend house, somewhere by the water. Doesn't matter if it's a lake or the ocean, so long as it's not that crowded
4. A PhD. Someday....
5. Kids. My nieces and nephew bring me such joy.
5 Things I’m really into:
1. Lighthouses. DH and I have seen over 200 of them and have been known to plan vacations around going to them
2. Cross Stitching, blogging about cross stitching, reading about cross stitching...
3. Reading. Always have been, always will be. The movers were annoyed with the size of our book collection. We easily have over 2000 books in our house.
4. Antiques - jewelry, furniture, depression glass, etc. Again, DH and I can spend hours perusing antique shops, but we don't do it for the money, we do it for the value the pieces have to us and our memories / interests. For instance, the jewelry and the glass remind me of my aunt and grandmother, two incredibly important women in my life.
5. Cooking and food. I love grocery stores, gourmet stores, cooking shows, the Food Network, and making my own food.
Sweet Meari awarded me a KreativBlogger Award, with the stipulation that I pass it on to five more bloggers who will in turn pass it onto another five (and so on and so forth....). As is usually the case, it's VERY hard to narrow it down to just five, but I'll give it a shot.
UPDATED: Lovely Michele also awarded me. Thanks, Michele!
- Yuko (Be Happy!) - Yuko takes the loveliest pictures
- Olga (Olenka's Stitches Blog) - Olga is wonderfully creative and her finishing is perfection
- Patty (PipStitch) - Patty's blog is a TREASURE TROVE of goodies
- Andrea (The Craft Room) - Andrea is an absolute genius when it comes to finishes
- C (Pencil Crossings) - A stitcher as avid about her craft as she is about reading. I love it!
If you read some wonderful blogs, take a few seconds and leave a comment for the author so they feel appreciated. Even better, put a link to their blog on yours or find some way of spreading the word. I can't tell you how many wonderful stitchers I have encountered just by following a trail from one blog to the next.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tammie (A Stitch in Time) is the future recipient of one of my PIFs, so she's looking for sign ups for hers. Why not stop on by and check out her blog, and perhaps sign up for her PIF? She's feeling a little down that nobody's signed up, and I think it would make her day. Remeber, PIFs don't have to be extravagent. I think a lot of stitchers get caught up in big exchanges and sending out all kinds of goodies, which, let's face it, gets to be quite expensive. You have a whole year to send out a PIF, and it doesn't have to be a huge package of goodies, but it is nice to be able to share your stitching with others, and pass a little goodwill on. Some days, this world needs all the goodwill it can get!
Shel (Stash of Sanity) is also in need of more targets, as is Danica (Navy Stitching).
As for me, I've been happily plotting away on projects for my 3 recipients and I'm looking forward to sending out their gifts. One of the things I like about doing the PIF is that all three who signed up are "new to me" blogs. I love that I have the opportunity to meet three more fabulous stitchers, and I've been enjoying their blogs as well. If you're not spread too thin, I hope you would consider joining one of the PIFs.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Feast One Hundred & Ninety Four
Appetizer: If you could live on another continent for 1 year, which one would you choose?
I'd have to go with Australia. I've been interested in (obsessed with at some points) Australia for as long as I can remember. I went through an obsessed period in high school and I even had a shirt with various depictions of Australia printed on it in blue, almost like a toile fabric. I like Australian music (INXS, Midnight Oil, TOFOG, etc.) I have a collection of kangaroos (probably about 100 or so, in various forms) and various other Australian paraphenalia. My second choice would be the UK.
Soup: Which browser do you use to surf the Internet?
I probably should be ashamed to admit that I am an Explorer girl, but I'm not.
Salad: On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you know about the history of your country?
Probably a 7 or 8. Used to be higher - I had quite a few history classes in high school and college, but some of the information has escaped me. But my DH likes history and documentaries, and we both like traveling (I've seen a great deal of the US), so we've been to many historical sites. It also helps that we've lived in and around Philadelphia most of our lives, so we're readily familiar with the founding fathers and all that.
Main Course: Finish this sentence: Love is…
All you need? (We used it as our entrance to our wedding reception)
Dessert: Have you ever been in or near a tornado?
No, and I don't care to be. Scary stuff.
Feast One Hundred & Ninety Five
Appetizer: What is the weather like today where you live?
Warm, but pleasant. Upper 80s, but the humidity isn't so bad. Bright blue skies. I hear nasty hot weather is coming though.
Soup: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how career-minded are you?
Eh, these days probably about a 4. I used to be much more focused, but my priorities have changed. Doesn't mean I still don't love a nice fat paycheck though!
Salad: What type of window coverings do you have in your home? Blinds, curtains, shutters, etc.?
We have fancy wooden blinds courtesy of the previous owners in the front windows of the house, some weird drapey stuff (which will be going at some point) on the windows in the living room and dining room, mini blinds on the back windows, and plain cotton canvas on the family room windows. Other than the nice wooden blinds, I can take or leave the rest of it, and will most likely change it when we start painting the house to our tastes.
Main Course: Name something that instantly cheers you up.
My 5 year old niece. I adore that kid and she cracks me up. Also, flowers, little presents, phone calls from my best friend, cards from my grandmother-in-law, setting foot on the beach
Dessert: How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning?
at least 3x. I set my alarm to account for it. See the career minded question above.
Feast One Hundred & Ninety Six
Appetizer: When was the last time you had your hair cut/trimmed?
Right before we moved in early June. I knew it was going to be a while before we got settled and I found a new salon, so I had it done. It does, however, desperately need to be colored.
Soup: Name one thing you miss about being a child.
GOOD Saturday morning cartoons and cold pizza, followed by playing Barbies. I know that's more than one thing, but it's hard to narrow it down.
Salad: Pick one: butter, margarine, olive oil.
Pick one to throw out the window? Margarine. I hate that stuff. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I usually cook with olive oil, but sometimes there's no substitute for butter.
Main Course: If you could learn another language, which one would you pick, and why?
Spanish would be the most useful. Gaelic would be closest to my heart. German would be closest to my DH's heart. I've started learning a little German, but the Gaelic is tough.
Dessert: Finish this sentence: In 5 years I expect to be…
Which is another story in and of itself. I try to be very organized with our photos. We have an external drive, and every year, I set up a main folder for the year (2006, 2007, etc.) As we take pictures, I set up numbered subfolders to keep track of date and activity, and number them to keep them in order. Every six months or so, I burn the photos to CD, and once a year, I delete everything that has been burned onto CD from the hard drive. (After I make a second copy, of course) I'm a stickler for photos looking good, which means I do some retouching and fix all the red eye before I burn or upload photos. (My MIL thinks we have the most wonderful camera since she always looks so nice in our pictures!) With everything going on over the last couple months, the last thing I wanted to do was sift through all these pictures, so I just kept dumping things into folders. Now I have to go back and fix them little by little, removing that annoying spot.
Oh, and did I mention that my DH is quite fond of taking photos in TIFF format, which is nice because it gives me a good file to work with for touching up, but a pain in the backside because the file size is HUGE and takes a while to load. AND I have to convert them to jpegs before I can upload them. Yes, I do have quite a bit of work in front of me, since I haven't done anything more than take photos and offload the memory card into appropriate folders since last July. So there's a couple folders filled with pictures to label and touch up as needed, including almost 800 pictures from our vacation to Massachusetts last fall, and all the holidays since. Whew! You can see why I've been avoiding the camera.
In stitching news, I swear I have been making progress on Home By The Sea. My ornament projects, however, have really fallen by the way side. I can't even remember when the last time I stitched on an ornament was, and I feel terrible because one of the Bride's Tree sets I started on was for DH's cousin's wedding, which happens to be in about 2 weeks. I have exactly ONE ornament completed and "ornamentified", 2-3 more are stitched, and the rest of them are merely printed out charts. I suspect that I will wrap up the first ornament as a gift, with an IOU for the rest, to be delivered before the end of the year. I do believe etiquette gives a wedding guest up to a year to give a gift. I hope it doesn't take me THAT long. As for my own set, and the set I was working on for my best friend and her husband?? Well..... that's going to be a while yet.
I have one more PIF spot open. So far, I have two takers, Shel (Stash of Sanity) and Tammie (A Stitch in Time). If you'd like to receive a stitchy gift from me, post a comment and let me know, on the condition that you make the same offer on your own blog to send out 3 more PIFs. If you're on the fence, now's the time to jump. I have some plans in the works for Tammie and Shel that I'm very excited about. This is the first time I am participating in a PIF and I am really looking forward to it. If you're interested, let me know!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
A while back, I received a lovely bookmark from Barbara, my very first piece from a fellow stitcher. And just last week, I was picked to receive a PIF gift from the wonderful Yuko. If you haven't seen her blog, Be Happy!, yet, I highly recommend you check it out. Yuko creates some of the loveliest pieces and her blogs are a delight to read. I am so excited to have been picked to receive one of her gifts as I have admired her work for quite some time now.
And now for the fun part for my readers. By participating in Yuko's PIF, I have agreed to offer up my own PIF for three recipients. I will take the first three commenters (with whom I can get in touch) who promise to pay it forward as well and make the same offer on their blog. If I get more than three commenters, I will use a random number selecter to pick three commenters at random.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I wanted to pick something that wasn't overly cartoony so they'd be able to keep it hanging longer. I had done a previous Janlynn jungle themed piece for another friend, but I would never stitch it again. It was absolutely adorable when it was done, but once was enough, thanks! In fact, if anyone is interested in the chart for it, it's in my Swap or Sell pile.
In other stitching news, I started teaching my nearly six year old niece how to stitch. She absolutely adored the movie Finding Nemo, so I picked up this little piece for her to start teaching. I probably should have paid more attention to the age range (8+) rather than the content, but I tried to make it as fun as possible for her. She's a smart little cookie, so I didn't think it would be too difficult, and I made sure to explain that it was going to take some time to finish.
She got the hang of threading the needle VERY quickly, much quicker than I ever did when I started learning, and she was surprisingly patient with the stitching. She had a hard time bringing the needle through from the back of the fabric, but she let me guide the needle for her, and it worked out well. She was good for almost an hour before she started getting bored with it, which was much longer than I expected. We worked on it here and there throughout the week, a little at a time, but I ended up finishing it for her at the end of the week. She was just thrilled with her Nemo, and very proud of the work she did.
I think I'm pretty lucky that my niece is so patient - there's a lot of 5 year olds that aren't so willing to sit still. It also helps that I'm her favorite aunt (she's said so herself to her mom). :-) I think next time, though, I'm going to teach her what I started out doing - stamped cross stitch. That might be easier for her to get the hang of, and this is something I'd really like to be able to share with her, especially since she seems so interested in it. I started teaching her because she'd always be hanging over my shoulder wanting to know what I was doing and wanting to help whenever I worked on my own projects. I'm hoping the stamped stuff will go over well with her.
And on a non-stitching note, Carolien has recieved the "advance copy" of The Hard Way. Imagine my surprise when it went all the way to the Netherlands in about a week! Julie had several extra copies of her book that she gave to friends and family members with the stipulation that they had to be passed on. You can read more about it here. Once Carolien is done reading, she's going to pass the book on to the next reader, so if you'd like a chance to get in on her drawing, be sure to leave a comment on her blog.