Navigation to Doodle-head.com

Friday, December 30, 2005

Reflections on 2005; musings on 2006

As I've said previously, 2005 had its ups and downs (mostly ups, though!). I'm feeling a little ambivalent about setting goals for next year. Which seems strange, because I did pretty good this year at meeting most of the ones I set.

Cross stitch

I've whittled my cross stitch WIP list down to 19 projects (under 20 - which was my goal for this year)! I started quite a few late this year, but finished 17 and abandoned 7. I feel that's pretty good, considering all of the other things that I worked on this year. I think if I have a couple of cross stitching goals this year, they would fall into the 'general' category:
  • For each big project I want to start, I should finish two big projects already in WIP status at the beginning of January 2006.
  • I don't necessarily have to be 'on the wagon' as far as cross stitch purchases, but I would like to continue this year's slowdown of such stash enhancement, instead, focusing on projects either currently kitted or for which I already have the chart and/or most of the supplies.
  • Stitch only those things which I enjoy stitching. If a project becomes something that I no longer enjoy, I give myself permission to abandon it. I've seen my tastes change somewhat over the past year, and they could continue to evolve.
  • If I'm going to give stitched gifts this year, I NEED to start working on them EARLIER. This applies to quilt, crochet, and knitting as well as cross stitch.

Quilting

I met my two goals of finishing Scott's quilt in time for Christmas and deciding what quilt design to use for my sister-in-law's quilt for this Christmas. I even went a little farther and have most of her quilt pieced, except for the borders. And I started a quilt for my youngest nephew, Gerrick.

2006's goals will continue to be simple, because creating a quilt takes such a long time for me:
  • Finish Gerrick's quilt in time for his birthday in March.
  • Finish Teresa's quilt by Christmas 2006.

If I have the chance to sandwich and begin quilting my Rail Fence quilt (the top has been complete for several years now), then hurrah, but I won't make that a goal. CC's quilt has been doing double duty as an extra blanket on our bed at night, and it's really beginning to show the additional wear and tear. Finishing my Rail Fence quilt will help extend his quilt's life.

Crochet and knitting

I managed to finish crocheting the squares of the 63 squares afghan this year, but I still have not put them all together. This is one of my least favorite tasks - joining them all. I know it will look great once I get that done, but it's unfortunately very difficult for me to garner the enthusiasm for the task, even in small doses. Maybe in 2006?

I did manage to finish knitting the kitty bed, but haven't yet learned how to knit a hat for myself. I'd still like to do that, so maybe I'll try it in 2006. I'm still quite the novice, and haven't worked with either circular needles or more than two needles at a time. I haven't even looked at a hat pattern, so I don't know what would be required. I should practice changing from the knit stitch to the purl and back. I've gotten much more confident with my knit stitch, but can still use plenty of practice for tension, etc.

I also crocheted and knitted several other projects, and I'm happy with the way they all turned out. I discovered Patterns by Dot, and will probably be taking advantage of a few more of her free patterns over the next year.

-----------------

I want to take a moment to thank you for stopping by and reading my blog this year. I appreciate your comments, questions, and cheers. May you all have a wonderful 2006!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A year to the day, well, almost

I only just realized that the kitty bed took almost exactly one year to finish. I started it on December 24 last year, and finished it up on December 25 this.

Just finished
Candy claims it as her own
I think she likes it! ;-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Post-Christmas holidays sickness wrap-up

Well, I'm back to about 80% now (was feeling more like 70% this morning as I got ready for work), and I'm really glad to have that illness behind me. I was a pretty grouchy person for about 4 days there.

While we were off, I finished Cat, the knitted kitty bed, and the first elegant lace stole I was working on. I started a second lace stole, but haven't gotten much done on it yet. Here is Cat, all done! Now all she needs is a bath and then I'll add a few whiskers before framing.

Cat, finished

Pictures of the others to come hopefully tomorrow. We watched several movies (Christmas With the Kranks, Serenity, The Island, and Fantastic Four), which helped take my mind off the fact that I had no energy to go anywhere or do anything. I also listened to Deception Point by Dan Brown - good thriller!

Mom & Dad came over yesterday and we exchanged gifts. I was amazed when I opened the final package - it was a pitcher to match my juice glass! I'll try to make sure to take a picture of that too. I think they said they found it at a new antique mall when they were out on one of their vacation trips. I just love the pattern - very simple yet colorful.

We haven't had the chance yet to exchange gifts with my brother and his family, but I'm thinking we might do that this weekend, so no reaction to the quilt to report just yet. I am really looking forward to giving that to him.

This year has had its ups and downs, but I can't complain too much. I am blessed with a close-knit, loving family, good health (for the most part), and great friends. And I'm really looking forward to what 2006 will bring.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

May you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Hopefully I'll have another update before year's end as I get to feeling better - I've been down with a sinus infection (and possibly inner ear complications because of the dizziness today) since Thursday. Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Whoops!!!!

embarrassed I'm so embarrassed. I completely forgot about our Black Swan Designs stitch-a-long for December (which was supposed to have been this past weekend). So sorry y'all! At least Dani (Black Belt Stitching Wizard) managed to finish her Dragon by the Fireside stocking. Go Dani!

We'll pick that back up in January, okay?

Post-vacation check-in

Otherwise known as "Sometimes things just don't work out as you planned..."

So in all, I relaxed a little bit, and got to spend a couple of days working on my parents' computer, some time working on Christmas cards (finally finished), and some time Christmas shopping (nearly done!).

I finished S is for Silence, and enjoyed it up until the end, which seemed just a little abrupt. If you read it, be prepared to do a little re-reading of some sections, just to remind yourself of things that happened with certain characters. There are a LOT of characters, and a lot of things going on in this book, which switches back and forth from first-person Kinsey in the 1980's to various third-person characters in July 1953. I think I'd like to listen to this again on audio, if it becomes available at my public library.

So to catch up the rest of the days - Friday I got a great bill of health from my primary care physician, then got my parents' computer back up and running. While I was formatting, then reloading the OS and all of the hardware and software, I finished up the fuzzy scarf I had started knitting the night before. No picture until after I give it to the recipient - but it's quite pretty, and I love the colors.

Saturday was Christmas card day, and the rest of it was a bit of a fog. I started a new crochet project from Crochet bythehook - elegant lace stole, hoping to finish it by Christmas... and I'd love to finish two of them, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. Actually, I want to finish four of them, so there will definitely be some after-Christmas presents given this year. Yes, I am crazy, and I hope that I can do much better next year. I already have a few ideas, so maybe I won't be so down-to-the-wire in 2006.

Saturday night was the Christmas party at C's work, and it was really nice. We had steak for dinner, they gave out a few door prizes, of which we won one (a DVD player/recorder!), and 'Dirty Santa' which was much dirtier than the version we played at the Stitchin Post - gifts were being stolen left and right, and much fun was had by all. It was nice to put faces with names that I've heard for the past what, 8 months or so? I'm so happy C is working with this great group of people. They're nice, genuine, and they appreciate him.

And speaking of appreciating him, he was given two club-level tickets to Sunday's Tennessee Titans football game! Now, it's true, C pulls for the Dallas Cowboys, and I pull for the Pittsburgh Steelers (yes, and we still love each other despite the rivalry). But since the Titans are no longer in my team's division and didn't affect his team's standings, we could easily pull for them. We had really great seats, and let me tell you - Club level is the way to go to a game! Nice warm bathrooms, yummy hot chocolate (I swear, it was way better than what they were selling downstairs!), and we had a parking pass too, so we were parked really close to our seats. The weather was not bad - sunshine for the majority of the game, and the temp wasn't freezing (I think it was about 48 degrees fahrenheight). Shame they didn't win. But I kept up with the Steelers' score during the game and was happy we did! After we got home, we watched Sky High (cute, and much better than Mr. and Mrs. Smith).

Yesterday, I managed to get most of the Christmas shopping done. It was not a chore I was looking forward to, but at least it didn't take forever and a day. Long lines were expected at this late date, and I just tried to deal with them as cheerily as I could. Now just a couple more things, and then I get to the wrapping.

I don't think I've cross stitched one bit in over a week. Neither have I quilted. Maybe I'll actually get back to that after the New Year?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mid-vacation check-in

I went to my LNS's Christmas party tonight - I think there were about 14 of us there. I haven't been to sit n stitch in a while, and I think they aren't even doing it every Thursday night now - maybe just the first one of the month. Anyway, I haven't been just because I've got so much going on, their new location is smaller, and it is a little farther away from home. It was good to visit with those who made it to the party. I miss some of the 'old regulars' (from the old mall location), but the group has always seemed to change from week to week - some people would come often, then stop coming for a while, while others just came either frequently or infrequently. We had some snacks to nibble on, and almost everyone brought a gift for the 'dirty Santa' exchange. I ended up 12th of 13, and stole the gift I wanted (and didn't have it stolen from me). A pretty scissors fob and some Lizzie Kate patterns and floss. :) I think everyone was happy with what they got, once all the stealing was done. I didn't bring a project, so I decided to purchase some more knitting needles and yarn - I'm going to make another fuzzy scarf, but not with Fun Fur, it's some other brand. I think I've got about 8 inches knitted so far...

I'm about 3/4 through S is for Silence, and it's pretty good so far. There are just so many characters, that I'm having just a little trouble remembering who's who and what's what from one chapter to the next, but I'm really enjoying it anyway. Tomorrow, I'll be heading back over to my parents' house for some more computer work (hard drive replacement, sigh - lots of rebuilding there, but hopefully it won't take all day). It should still leave 3 days of vacation to enjoy just bumming around.

I'm still doing the Christmas denial thing. No bright flashes of insight as to what to do about it either... I know it's coming, I just don't want to think about it and what I need to do...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

First day of vacation

Just have to share something that fills my heart with joy. When I awoke this morning, my Smokey Boy woke at the same time. He jumped down from his chair (near the bed), and 'rrrowed' at me (there's a trilling on the r's). We did some rubby-face (his favorite kind of petting), and he purred the loudest and the longest I've heard him purr since his illness. He didn't purr loudly before the illness, but his purring has been nearly nonexistant since - just one of those things that we figured was gone, like his eyesight. The past week, he hasn't been feeling very well, but yesterday it seemed like he was over it, finally. He was playing with us, chasing us, last night, and this morning's purring is just icing on the cake. I hate it when he feels ill (he has good days and not-so-good days), because he's already been through so much.

Well, I have been crocheting those hats like crazy, and here is the result:

Hats for Christmas 2005

Four will go to the nieces and nephew, and two will be for participating in Christmas party exchanges. Oh, I should mention - I got the pattern from CROCHET bythehook, and it is called the UBW (Ugly But Warm) hat - I disagree, I don't think they are ugly at all. They may not be fancy, but I like them! I used two strands of Lion Brand Homespun yarn - just picked two colors I thought coordinated and picked up the hook. They crochet up very quickly.

Today, my first day of a week's vacation, my only 'plan' is to read a bit (I've only had the chance to get to chapter 4 so far!), then head over to my parent's house this afternoon. Tonight is Game Night with the boys, so who knows what I'll be doing - I'm just really glad I have the next 7 days to do whatever I want to do, be it read, watch tv, cross-stitch, quilt, play video games, visit with friends, shop...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Another weekend is finally here!

Work has been so busy recently that I have been thinking about it and working out some solutions at night at home. The positive about that is that I've been able to get a few issues resolved more quickly once I get back in to work the next day. The negative is that it takes away from my very important "down" time. Sometimes the trade-off is necessary, but for the most part, I like to leave work at work.

I know I watch entirely too much television. Last night I dreamt that C and I were actually taking part in the show Prison Break. I was also flipping channels and saw an episode of Days of Our Lives on SoapNet. A lot of the actors are the same, but I was really confused about some of the characters. Apparently Marlena has amnesia now? And the guy who played Roman is playing this guy named Alex? I tried to find a web site that had some general "what's the storyline now" information, but only wound up with daily updates, which would take much too long to read in order to catch up. I haven't watched Days in years. But it used to be one of my little guilty pleasures - I would watch General Hospital and DOOL. Actually, at one point during the summer in high school or sometimes in college, I had a 4-hour block of soapies to watch - Young and the Restless, One Life to Live, GH, and DOOL. But that was many years ago, and many, many characters and storylines. Does anyone know of a good web site (that doesn't have a bazillion ads and / or pop-ups-unders) where I could find out how Marlena got amnesia and where this Alex character came from?

Night before last, I crocheted a hat (no picture yet) as a Christmas gift. I think it turned out well, but I'll wait until I have the other three crocheted before I decide which nephew or niece will receive which hat. It only took a couple of hours, started and finished in one evening, so I think three more before Christmas is definitely doable. Besides that, I'm kind of in denial about how close Christmas is, and what shopping needs to be done. At this point, I'd be crazy (and I'm not saying that I'm not yep, crazy) to attempt some sort of hand-made gift for everyone.

Last night I stitched a little bit more on Catnip Tea, but there was not very much progress (as has been the case much this week - owing back to that whole 'taking work home' mentally thing). When I was looking for the pattern for the crocheted hat, I stumbled upon several charts I had bought on my last splurge (October 2004!) before CATS Nashville this year. Apparently I had never put the charts "away" in my binders. Silly me. I had wondered where some of them were when I was browsing through my binders some time back. I also forgot about buying a couple of the charts! doh! Once of them was a really nice Jeannette Douglas sampler (I think it was either Northern Shield Sampler or Northwoods Sampler, though I could be wrong). My mind - would everyone check around and see if they can find it? I think I lost it quite a while back, LOL.

And as if work wasn't enough to try to keep me away from my stitching... I picked up S is for Silence at the library yesterday. So far, I've only gotten to read the first couple of pages, including the Acknowlegdments and Note from the Author. I don't generally read those in all books, but I started doing that with Sue's because the narrator would read them on the books on tape. I got a kick and a chuckle out of reading the Note this time, especially the last sentence. You go Sue! So anyway, it's a good thing I'm taking about a week's worth of time off work in a few days - I'm going to need it to do everything I have on my list!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This week's theme: Cats

So here are the updates for a couple of projects I've been working on, Cat (Candy) and Catnip Tea:

Cat, now with a cinnamon-nose, just like my Candy
Catnip Tea, through part of band 7

I've also been working on Gerrick's Aquarium some, and I'm up to 14 blocks quilted (out of 42).

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Friday vacation day

Yes, I took today off, so I have a nice 3-day weekend. I spent the morning doing just a little sleeping in. After I got up and ready, I drove to the Comcast customer service center and traded in my two older digital boxes for some new ones. Hopefully that will fix some of the problems we have been having with some of the digital channels. Then I stopped in the service center to have the oil changed in Spice. From there it was lunch with C (whose happy birthday it is, by the way!), and now I'm about to decide what to do with the rest of my afternoon.

Meanwhile, here is my progress on Catnip Tea (another Just Nan) - I started it night before last, but haven't been able to work on it much yet. It seemed just a little washed out in the scan - hopefully when I get a few more bands on it, the scanner will balance it out a little better.


Hooray for the Weekend!!!!