Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Correction

In my last post, I said that I had completed 15 projects in 2015.  It turns out that I made a grievous error--this morning, I finished my 16th!

This was a free pattern released by Steotch.  I know the reference from a South Park episode, when Chef's father tells multiple stories about the Loch Ness monster trying to borrow $3.50 from him.  Apparently, this is a meme on Reddit now.  Happy New Year, and don't loan money to cryptids!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Year in Review

It was a big year of changes for me (most of them wonderful).  Through the midst of it all, I managed to have a very productive year.  In fact, I completed twice the number of projects that I did in 2014!

1.  First, I completed my verses for the Torah Stitch by Stitch project.


2.  I embroidered a beautiful Scrub Jay for Studio MME's e-book of patterns.


3.  I couldn't tear myself away from the cuteness of Fibery Friends.


4.  This adorable Grumpy Cat went to a very happy owner.


5.  My in-laws were touched to receive a reminder of their travels in Pretty Little Sydney.


6.  I gave Christmas Celebration to my friend Julia.


7.  I gave Christmas on Gingerbread Lane to my friend Cassie.


8.  I made Terry's Poem for my mom's friend to remember her late husband's promise to her.


9.  I made Golden Girls to thank Laura for being a friend to my mom when she needed one most.


10.  Steotchalong 2015 will make my husband the envy of everyone in his office.


11.  My brother's family loved the cute creepiness of Halloween Spooky Sampler.


12.  My husband would also take Mom with him to work if it weren't for some rules about office decorum.


13.  My friend Angela loved Cherry Blossom Festival Sampler as a reminder of sushi-related fun times.


14.  My Festival of Lights got a little brighter with the Chanukah Stamp.


15.  The year isn't officially over until I finish the yearly sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  With the end of Story Time Sampler, I am ready for 2016.


I finished 7 Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery projects, 4 cross-stitch projects from other designers, and 4 embroidery projects (three of them original designs).  At this rate, I completed an average of 1.25 projects per month.  I think my WIP challenge really helped me be more productive.  Creating a smaller list of projects to work on helped give me enough variety not to feel stuck, but limited the focus of my work enough to get more done on each one.  I'll keep that in mind for next year.  Can I top 15 projects?  Let's find out!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Closing the Book

"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.
"To-day?" replied the boy. "Why, it's the day Jorie completed the Story Time Sampler."
December 2015--A Christmas Carol

This baby has an appointment with the framer on Thursday.  I mean that literally.  My MIL is taking me to her favorite framer, one that requires appointments.
This is the first yearly Pumpkin sampler to have a "deleted scene."  They sent out a bonus frame of The Great Gatsby.  I would like to stitch it up as a gift to someone, but I've never met someone who actually admitted to liking it.
Happy Holidays, and bring on 2016!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah started on Sunday night.  My family ushered in the holiday with a festive dinner of chicken schnitzel, kasha varniskhes, and latkes fried in schmaltz.  I think it might take my body a couple of weeks to recover from that.

I knew I was going to have a happy holiday when the Pumpkins released a small pattern for the occasion.  It features an adorable kawaii dreidel spinning among sparkles.  The corners include the hebrew letters Nun, Gimel, Hey, and Shin.  These letters are on the sides of the dreidel and are part of the game that children play with it.  They also stand for the words "Neys gadol hayah sham"--"A great miracle happened there."  I am really impressed that the (I assume) non-Jewish pumpkins designed the letters so well.  Hebrew letters can turn out VERY badly if they are not done just right.  Check out Bad Hebrew Tattoos if you want to see some horror stories.


I got the pattern done just in time for it to decorate the house.  


Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bon Voyage!

Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere--but my stitching will be!  The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery has just announced their theme for the 2016 sampler, and it is Pumpkin Passport.  Every month will feature an adorably rendered version of a world landmark.  I'll admit that I am worried that it will be too similar to Satsuma Street Design's Pretty Little City patterns, but it will still be fun to work on.  


It will also be a nice way to remember all the trips I've been on.  I've been to 17 different countries!  My last trip abroad was for our honeymoon in Venice and Jerusalem.  My next one will be to London, which will be free since I am going as a staff member.  I love traveling to different countries, exploring the history, sampling the food, and seeing if I can speak from the phrasebook well enough to fool locals.  I can't decide what my best moment of speaking Hebrew was--telling the bus driver that I was sick and needed to use the bathroom at Masada, or asking a soldier to move his gun so my dad could take a seat on the bus.

Join me as I stitch around the world.  I might be able to share pictures of me in the featured cities (though some of the trips were so long ago that I haven't digitized them yet.)  At this point, I think we all need a reminder that the world is a wonderful place.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WIP Challenge Update

I've been making great progress on my WIP list.  I get a lot of satisfaction from checking things off of lists.  So far, I have been finishing an average of over one project a month.

First, here is the final result of my Steotchalong 2015 project.


This one is going on my husband's work desk.  It is definitely the most complex cross-stitch project I have made so far, and I am really happy with the results.  You can see pictures of my progress, along with pictures from other people, in this video that the Steotch designers made as a tribute.


Just in time for Halloween, I finished Frosted Pumpkin's Halloween Spooky Sampler.


This is the Halloween equivalent of the Christmas Celebration Sampler I made a few months ago.  I sent this to my sister-in-law and nephew because they love seasonal items.

I just finished this alphabet sampler for my friend Angela, who is a sushi aficionado.  I keep kosher, so this is the only way I can get involved with shrimp tempura.


We are winding down on the Story Time Sampler.  October was Anne of Green Gables.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

The Pumpkins said they will be releasing details about their 2016 sampler in mid-November.  I am now counting down the days until "mid."  They put out a survey asking for opinions on what theme people wanted.  Some of the options were Weather, Cities of the World, Historical Women, and Fairy Tales 2.  I voted for Historical Women, because I need a kawaii Emma Goldman in my life.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mother's Day

I have been a big fan of animated sitcoms ever since I started watching The Simpsons . . . when it first started in 1989 . . . and I was five years old.

I love them for their sharp humor, colorful designs, and the way they can covertly tackle topics that live action shows can't.  One of my favorite shows is Futurama, about a pizza delivery boy who gets cryogenically frozen on the eve of Y2K and wakes up in the year 3000.  I started watching it in high school and stuck with it through two cancellations and four direct-to-DVD movies.  Indeed, Futurama is responsible for my marriage.  I met my husband at an event for Jewish grad students.  Futurama is his favorite show of all time, and he was instantly smitten with me for my ability to quote the show verbatim.  For our first Halloween together, we went as Fry and Leela, the show's main romantic couple.

But it is almost Halloween, and I am not here to talk with you about romance.  I am going to talk with you about Futurama's villain--Mom.

Mom is the CEO of MomCorp, a large corporation that she uses to amass her fortune and monopolize the world's resources.  One of the businesses she owns is Mom's Friendly Robot Company, which manufactures all the robots in the world.  She can use this to her advantage, inciting a robot revolt with the push of a button that she keeps in her bra.  In interviews, she speaks with in a sweet grandmotherly tone and wears 1890's style clothing.  In private, she wears a skin-tight catsuit and reveals her ugly personality through colorfully vulgar language.  She has three bumbling sons that she berates when they inevitably fail in their tasks.  Sometimes it looks like she will rekindle her on-again, off-again relationship with Professor Farnsworth, but the relationship always ends when Farnsworth remembers how evil she is.

A few weeks ago, &Stitches announced they were doing a "Fictional Villains Stitchalong."  I immediately had an idea--an embroidered portrait of Mom with one of her famously filthy quotes:  "Jam a bastard in it, you crap!"


I'll admit that I briefly considered a line from a deleted scene, "Make that bitch your bitch, you bastard!"  My husband felt that this one was more creative in its use of swears.  When I showed him the finished product, he said, "This is why I love you so much."  Clearly, sharing pop culture is the secret to a successful marriage.