Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Supply Diet Update--Agony!

With 10 days to go in October, I am holding strong with my craft supply diet.  I have to admit that things were starting to get dicey last week, when the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery started pre-sales for its new Christmas pattern subscription.  (Obviously, I have no reason to hang these in my house, but they are so fun to stitch that I am willing to make them as gifts for friends.)  But then, something miraculous happened.  As a prize for encouraging people to submit their Frosted Pumpkin projects to their state fairs, the FP ladies are giving me the new Christmas pattern for free!  Now I just have to ignore the urge to buy the fabric and threads . . .

I've been getting more projects done.  Here is the latest Once Upon a Time Sampler square, Cinderella with her pumpkin carriage for October.



It's been fun to work on Once Upon a Time while some friends of ours were in a local production of Into the Woods.  That is the Stephen Sondheim musical about fairy tales, and what happens AFTER "happily ever after."  The wife was Little Red Riding Hood, so I hope there is a square for that in the two remaining months.  The husband was Rapunzel's Prince, and he sang my favorite song in the musical.    "Agony!  Much more painful than yours . . ."


Now that I think about it, this song is describing how I'm feeling about my supply diet.

Agony!
Beyond the power of speech,
When the one thing you want
Is the only thing out of your reach.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Torah Stitch by Stitch

In Judaism, it is a mitzvah for a Jew to either write a Torah or have a Torah written for him.  Physically writing an entire Torah is a task done by trained scribes with feather quills.  Most Jews fulfill the mitzvah by donating money to a Torah writing project, such as one to create a new scroll for their synagogue.  One artist, however, has started an innovative project to simultaneously update the task to the 21st Century while also using the ancient art of embroidery.

Torah Stitch by Stitch was started by Toronto-based artist Temma Gentles.  Her goal is to get volunteers from around the world, Jewish and non-Jewish, to cross-stitch every word of the Torah.  When you sign up, they mail you a kit with thread, needles, aida cloth, and a pattern of four verses.  You then have six months to send back your completed verses.  The completed projects will be displayed in an artistic installation.  The idea is to both find a new way to fulfill the aforementioned mitzvah, as well as a way of putting a female twist on the male-dominated scribe tradition.

Here's a kit that I got back in August.


This verse is the following:
"and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the loins, and the lobe above the liver, which he shall take away by the kidneys. And the priest shall make them smoke upon the altar; it is the food of the offering made by fire, for a sweet savour; all the fat is the Lord's. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings, that ye shall eat neither fat nor blood. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying:" (Leviticus 3:15-4:1)

Ah yes, a very inspiring section.  Or not.  I like how it ends on an incomplete sentence.

For more information on this project, visit Torah Stitch by Stitch.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I'm Going on a Diet

Last week, I ended my post with the announcement that I would be taking a "supply diet."  I plan on it being for the month of October, but I might extend it or bring it back depending on how it works out.  For me this means no buying new supplies for crafting, which include:
  • Thread and yarn
  • Patterns
  • Books
I am doing this in order conserve several resources.

1.  Money--I got a bump in my hours at work.  Basically, it is enough to go from extremely part time to just regular part time.  Since then, I notice I've fallen into the mental trap of buying things more often on the grounds that "I can afford it."  That won't be true for long if I fail to set limits for myself!  I also have a tendency to justify purchases based on my mood.  If something good happens, I would reward myself with craft supplies.  If something bad happens . . . . I console myself with craft supplies.  I didn't think much of this until a woman at my synagogue gave a presentation on shopping addiction and how the retail industry supports this line of thinking.  (She began her presentation with a photo she took of a Hallmark card in a store that said, "It's not a shopping spree--its 'retail therapy.'")  I want to stop myself from falling into that pattern. 

2.  Space--I live in a 2-bedroom apartment, and one of those bedrooms is being used as a computer/storage room.  Guess what percentage of that room is taken up with my craft supplies . . .

3.  Time--Because of spending #1 and #2 on crafting supplies, I feel pressure to devote more time to crafting in order to justify my purchases and relieve some of the crowding in my craft corner.  Crafting is a relaxing way to spend time, but not if it is tinged with guilt or pressure to finish things by a self-imposed deadline.
     I've also realized that devoting too much time to a project can take away time from other important things--like TV.  This might sound odd, but TV has always been a passion of mine.  I discuss it online, show TV episodes to groups to discuss different topics, and I've even presented papers about TV at academic conferences.  When I started crafting while watching TV, I felt superior somehow because TV watching was no longer "idle time."  My progress on projects improved, but my enjoyment of TV did not because I was distracted from what I was supposedly watching.  I obviously don't want to swing wildly to the other end and do nothing but watch TV.  However, I have set a daily habit on HabitRPG to make sure I watch one TV episode or movie a day without simultaneously crafting or browsing the Internet.  It is not idle time if I am focused on a good story, recharging my batteries, and sharing time with my husband.

Can I last the month?  After 7 days, I am still going strong.  Granted, 25 hours of that was devoted to a holiday where spending money is forbidden, but I think I am off to a good start.

***
The last few entries I have done have been pretty heavy, so here is a long-overdue project update!

I finished the last part of Mysterious Halloween Town.


What do you think?  Is this a future State Fair entry?

I also completed Part 1 of Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Autumn Harvest Festival.


I liked the cursive writing combined with variegated thread.  I tried to make the stitches in the order that I would have used to write out the letters by hand, so the color changes would flow in the same way.  I am also trying out this project using the English method of cross-stitching.  That involves making each X one by one instead of completing one set of legs (///////) followed by the other set (\\\\\\\).  I can't decide if it has made a big difference.

There was also the September square for Once Upon a Time--Rapunzel.



Other updates:

  • The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ladies decided to give me and another woman a prize for entering our projects in state fairs and encouraging others to do so.  I'll find out what it is this month . . .
  • &Stitches e-zine is holding a contest, Old Stitches New Tricks.  The goal is to take something old (vintage pattern, materials, historical stitching technique), and find a way to update it to a new purpose.  I've started a project that I've been wanting to do for a while and would be perfect for it.  Hopefully I can get it done by the November 17 deadline.  It's not complicated, but it has a lot of personal meaning for me.