Oct 25, 2010

Marvelous Monday Update 10/25/10

It's off to the races! My instructor this semester is the city finance director. He's not very technologically advanced. Five hours of class time included no visual aids... just lecture and discussion. The upside is that he gives us a 15 minute break every hour. Just like all my other in-seat classes, there is a group project that requires a written and oral presentation. We formed our groups. I have two new group partners. The third one has previously been a group member with me in two other classes. Each time we've gotten an "A" on our project so we figure why mess with a good thing!

Last week Veronica asked about Charley. She's still doing well. Her latest favorite thing to do is fly to the top of the drapes and sit on the curtain rods. Charley flying around the house drives Celeste crazy. For some reason, Charley thinks the dust bunnies on the window trim are "good eats" LOL. Her way of "grooming" me is to taste under my fingernails. Maybe she figures if it tastes like me, it must be me. Who knows? When I give her millet, there is nothing and I mean nothing that will drag her attention away from it until it's gone... gone... gone.

I harvested my last veggies from my pathetic garden. These are the only carrots my garden produced. These were supposed to grow to about 7". See that FAT one?

Last week, I worked on three (Yes, three!) different projects.


Gingerbread House

A New Start: Blessed Be

With all that went on last week, I forgot to post who the winner of the QOTW contest. I know... I know... How could I?!

Thank you to everyone who participated and shared how their floss was organized. I put all the names in a bowl and drew one. The lucky gal is.......

Julie M

Julie, please send me your address and I'll get a prize out to you.

If you don't know Julie, she blogs about life and stitching over at I'll Cross That Leg When I Get To It. To see how she stores her floss, go HERE.

Since we're talking about giveaways... Cindi at Cindi's Stitching & Stuff is hosting a giveaway. Make a visit over there and while you're at it, check out her progress on LK's Dog Lessons.

Several months ago, Mel sent me some stitched pieces to make into finishes. Two semesters of school later, here they are (with her permission, of course):

Two pin pillows and one flatfold. Although it's hard to tell from the pic, the green coffee one is the flatfold. And I'm not sure why the fabric looks wrinkly in the photo either because I ironed it before hand. *hmph*

Oct 19, 2010

Marvelous Monday Update 10/18/10 (on Tues)

Where do I start?! Things have been a whirlwind with J1 and the "merger". I had my one-to-one meeting with our HR person, who told me that she thinks the merger will be a good thing for me personally... especially since I will be getting my degree soon. In talking with a coworker of the same staff level as me, the other two in my office were told their jobs were "squishy". Time will tell what will happen.

Aside from that, we've all been going through webinars and meetings to get us up to speed on paperwork and software. Our "new" time & billing system is
It's a DOS program converted to Windows and is very clunky and not user friendly. It took me 3 hours just to enter my time for a 2 week period... just so I can get paid.

I have been working my tush off at J2. Due to working for prominent accounting firms over the past 15 years, I'm expected to uphold ethical standards.* There are several unethical business practices going on at J2, that I do not agree with and have never dealt with during my career. Thus, I'm having a difficult time working for this employer. In addition, the president of the company has a calendar of scantily clad women hanging on the wall of his office. Add to that the f-words being slung around, I totally find it distasteful, unprofessional, and uncomfortable.

*J2 is not an accounting firm.

A "funny" note: Right before starting at J2, I was kicking around the idea of contacting another company for PT work. A friend of mine called today. Apparently, the owner of the same company called her about the same time I started at J2 asking her if she knew anyone. Since I'd just started at J2, she never said anything. She called the owner today, and he will be calling me this week.

Guess what? School starts back up this week. I am already not impressed with the instructor. Over three weeks ago, I started emailing him and got no response. I then talked to the director of the college and she was going to contact him. He claimed he didn't get any (really none?) of my emails and told her to have me call him. So, I did... voicemail. Two days later (TWO!), he finally called me back. This was last week. I had a question about the textbook. That left me a WEEK to order and get a textbook. I was not a happy camper. Luckily, the seller shipped right away and I just got it yesterday... three days before class starts. Hopefully, I can get all the homework done before the first day of class. Yes, the instructors assign homework before school even starts!

Must be the week for giveaways!
• Evalina of This and That is hosting a giveaway on her blog.
• Sarah at Crafty Moo is also hosting a giveway.
• Terri at Dixie Samplar is hosting a Halloween giveaway.
• Teresa at A Willow Tree Pond is celebrating her 100th post by hosting yet another giveaway.

Check out their blogs and stitching, too!

As you know from last week, JG saw the light of day and even received some stitching. I was *really* getting into it again when.... I misplaced couldn't find "lost" the Gloriana and Thread Gatherer silks. I spent an evening searching tearing my house apart looking for these threads. I needed those to work on the section! I contemplated buying new ones, but at $8 a piece, I held off. Disappointed, I put JG away and hoped I could find the silks on another day.

Fast forward several days... I inherited (OK, I actually snatched it) an antique library table from my parents that I used to do homework on when I was a kid. While cleaning my 4 season room so I could put the desk in there, I had to put some stitchy stuff where it belonged (in the armoire). Guess what? I found the Glo & TG floss!! I swear I looked in there 3 times earlier in the week.

Didn't use the newly found floss yet, but I do have a JG update:

Also worked a bit more on TMQ:

Other WIP pics can be seen HERE and HERE.

I worked on SE scissor case, but didn't take a photo. Bad me.

Oct 11, 2010

Marvelous Monday Update 10/11/10

The weather this past week has been absolutely gorgeous. Temps in the mid to upper 80's and leaves changing colors. The landscape has been stunning!

After working 52 hours last week between both jobs, I didn't get much stitching done. Here's my progress on TMQ:

The "peanut gallery" at ILCS prodded me into getting out JG and working on it. After 1 3/4 hours, the only progress I made is the arched branches above the 12 o'clock rock garden.

Alyssa at My Stitching Corner is hosting a Halloween giveaway. Go check out the cute chart she stitched up.

Oct 5, 2010

Pink for October

October is a Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every year for the past 3 years, I've created a gift for a breast cancer survivor. A couple of months ago, I found out a client I have worked with for years was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is in the early stages of diagnosis and treatment, and very concerned/scared/etc.

When Donna posted about a new chart, "C is for Cure", I decided to stitch it up and make a flatfold for my client.

Design: C is for Cure
Designer: Lizzie Kate
Fabric: 14ct Baby Pink Aida
Fibers: Six Strand Sweets
Time: 4 Hours
Date: 10/5/10

Breast cancer is a serious disease that can affect anyone, man or woman. If you'd like to know more about it, please read the following article and spread the word to others.

Encyclopedia of Medicine by Carol A. Turkington

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth and uncontrolled division of cells in the breast. Cancer cells can invade and destroy surrounding normal tissue, and can spread throughout the body via blood or lymph fluid (clear fluid bathing body cells) to start a new cancer in another part of the body.

Every woman is at risk for breast cancer. If she lives to be 85, there is a one out of nine chance that she will develop the condition sometime during the rest of her life. As a woman ages, her risk of developing breast cancer rises dramatically regardless of her family history. The breast cancer risk of a 25-year-old woman is only one out of 19,608; by age 45, it is one in 93. In fact, 80% of all breast cancers are found in women over age 50.

Causes & symptoms
There are a number of risk factors for the development of breast cancer, including:

• Family history of breast cancer in mother or sister
• Early onset of menstruation and late menopause
• Reproductive history: women who had no children or have children late in life and women who have never breastfed have increased risk
• History of abnormal breast biopsies.

However, more than 70% of women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors. While a breast cancer gene was discovered in 1994, only about 5% of breast cancers are believed to be related to the gene.

In addition, some studies suggest that high fat diets, bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding, or using alcohol may contribute to the risk profile. Some studies have also found that for certain women, hormone replacement therapy may contribute to the development of breast cancer. However, these findings have been criticized.

It is important to realize that not all lumps detected in the breast are cancerous. Many are benign and require only the removal of the lump. While having several risk factors may boost a woman's chances of having breast cancer, the interplay of factors is complex. The best way to assess breast cancer risk is by doing monthly self examinations to detect any lump at an early stage. The second is to have a regular mammogram, an x ray of the front and side of the breast that will detect cysts or tumors at the earliest possible stage. Seeking risk assessment consultation at one of the many breast cancer centers located throughout the United States is also helpful.

The changes in the breast that may be a sign of breast cancer include:

• Lump or thickening in breast or armpit
• Changes in a nipple (thickening, pulling in, bleeding or discharge)
• Dimpled or reddened skin over the breast
• Change in size or shape
• Abnormality on a mammogram.

More than 90% of all breast cancers are detected by mammogram (a low-dose x ray of the breast). Mammograms should be done to evaluate a suspicious lump. Screening mammograms should be ordered according to the doctor's guidelines. Despite the controversy about the cost-effectiveness of mammograms for women in their 40s, most doctors agree with the current American Cancer Society guidelines that recommend screening mammograms every year or two for women between 40 and 49, and every year after age 50. Women with a family history of breast cancer may want to have a mammogram every year after age 40.

Nataly of Nataly's Needle Creations is hosting a really great Think Pink Giveaway in honor of breast cancer awareness month. Jennifer of Feathers in the Nest is also hosting a breast cancer giveaway.

QOTW: Floss, Floss, Floss!

How Do You Keep Your Floss Organized?

My first experience with floss was a tangled up mess of embroidery thread in my mother’s sewing basket. I can still remember sitting on the floor and patiently untangling the blue and pink colors so I could “sew” my first cross stitch piece. I don’t remember how I stored those, but there were only two colors so it wasn’t hard to keep track, lol.

After I really got “into” stitching during the 80’s, it was popular (at least according to the magazines) to store floss on bobbins. I bought a bobbin winder, and never looked back. I stored my DMC in the large bobbin cases. At one time I had ELEVEN boxes!

Several years ago, I learned about the "Jammer" cases, which are storage cases for matchbox and hot wheels cars. I don't think the brand exists anymore, but there are similar generic cases on the market. Walmart carries them from time to time. Don't use Ebay -- they're a small fortune on there!

On the left are two cases I store my DMC. Some stitchers have been able to get all the colors in one box, but I wasn't able to do it. Maybe their floss bobbins weren't entirely full... dunno. On the right are duplicate DMC wound on bobbins left over from the 11 original cases.*

Side View of Jammer Box

I have a bunch of DMC still in skein form that I list on my Stash-For-Sale blog. I keep them in gallon size ziploc bags, organized by 100's. All the bags are kept in a laundry basket.

Almost forgot, I do have some DMC on large plastic bobbins. I think they came in a box from a Freecycler. Anyone use these? The anal side of me is seriously considering re-winding them onto regular sized bobbins.

Look how HUGE they are!

I also have a bunch of DMC floss on a different type of bobbin that came in a plastic case. I bought this off eBay *years* ago. It has practically all the colors, and it's my "go to" box when I'm stitching ornaments or other small projects.

On to Specialty Floss....

I store my Rainbow Gallery threads in an awesome embossed tin I found at a thrift store. I made a simple cardboard divider to keep the threads organized. Works perfectly!

Krenik spools (Yeah, I know *ewww*) are stored in Plano 20 gauge shotgun shell cases. These can be found at almost any store that sells sporting goods. I keep VFB in one, and all the other types in the other.

The different brands of hand-dyed/over-dyed floss (GAST, Carries, SSS, Clayton, etc) are stored in gallon size ziploc bags according to manufacturer.

I organized some even farther by putting the floss in quart size ziploc bags alphabetically (A-D, E-J, K-M, etc). Inside each gallon bag is the checklist (from the manufacturer website) of colors available. I have a checkmark beside the ones I have, so I know at a glance and don't have to go digging through the bag only to come up empty handed!

DMC Light Effects are kept in a fishing tackle box. (They are such a pain to work with!)

When I am working on projects, I keep the floss for my projects in a smaller bobbin box. Since I only work on 2-3 projects at a time, all the bobbins will usually fit in my yellow box (JG has it's own box).

So now, how do YOU store your floss? Put an entry on your blog how you do it (with photos), and comment to let me know you blogged about it, and I'll throw your name in a drawing for a stashy prize. :) I will draw a name the old fashioned way: Little pieces of paper in a bowl... on the 18th.

*Believe it or not, with all the DMC I have, I actually ran out of two colors while working on TMQ!

Oct 4, 2010

I Got Lucky!

Hey, get your mind on stitching! Last month, I visited a couple of thrift stores in search of a frame for Gentle Menagerie. Here's what I found:

B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L, isn't it? OK, maybe it's a little 80's-ish. Maybe the gold frame is a bit much for a bunch of animals stacked on each other. But HEY! It's got potential, right? Right.

If you have never tried furniture refinisher, let me tell you... It's AWESOME! It removes oil-based finishes (including shellac, lacquer and some varnishes) while retaining the character of the wood. I've used strippers which are messy and take a good bit of time to clean the old finishes off furniture. Refinisher is SO much faster and easier!

The manufacturer says it doesn't take off paint, but I have to disagree... It took the gold paint finish off the frame. If you thought the gold finish was bad, the wood frame underneath was even worse. Talk about UGLY wood, crappy terrible workmanship. A little sanding, and a few coats of stain... Good as new, for a small fraction of the price of a new frame!

Some of you may know that I cut my own mats and do the framing myself as well. I wanted to do something a little different with the mat this time. Instead of having the squared corners, I wanted to angle them. Talk about tricky stuff! I spent quite a few hours on Saturday night doing practice cuts on mat board. Went to bed a little discouraged, but woke up in the middle of the night with an epiphany! Literally. I got up and put my idea to work... squares, I needed to make squares!

I was so excited when my idea worked.. perfectly, I may add! *big huge grin* Without further adieu, let me present....

Design: Gentle Menagerie
Designer: Diane Brakefield
Magazine: Cross Stitch & Country Crafts, Mar-Apr 1991
Fabric: 16ct White Aida
Fibers: DMC, Kreinik
Started: July 5, 2010
Finished: September 4, 2010
Framed: October 4, 2010

Marvelous Monday Update 10/4/10

Ahhhh, it's so nice not having to worry about getting my homework done! Last week was finals week. I had to listen to the other two group presentations before taking the last test of the semester. Sadly, the first group was AWFUL. They sat... yes, sat... at the front of the class. I'm not exaggerating when I say each group member "read" their presentation from the written paper. It sorta felt like story hour for business finance *yawn*. The second group was much better. There was some repetition and confusing timelines (no visual in their powerpoint presentation). Aside from that, their PP was really good. The test went well. I think I was the second or third one done. Now, I just have to wait for my final grade.

Last Thursday afternoon, every employee (at Job #1) received an email regarding a mandatory meeting taking place on Friday. We were even told to reschedule client work in order to be at the meeting. I thought, "Whaat? I work *another* job!" I debated a couple of hours on whether or not I wanted to call Job #2 to let them know I couldn't work all day. Finally, I relented.

We were told my company was merged (on Thurs) with another accounting firm! On Friday, representatives from both companies spoke and talked about what a GREAT "marriage" this is, blah, blah, blah. A lot of people are still trying to wrap their brains around it. Our "old" company is no more after 40+ years. I know of at least two people who no longer have jobs after the end of the year. Lots of information is being thrown at us. Some of my coworkers seem to think this will be a great opportunity for me. We will see. We went from approximately 125 employees to almost 1,000. I've started telling my clients, and all have been surprised and bewildered -- Just as us employees were.

In addition to doing the framing for GM, I am working on three flatfolds. No pics yet as they're not done. I also did some stitching on TMQ. In looking back, I made a LOT of progress on it during the month of September. Here's the progress I made last week:

My good friend, Mel at Epic Stitching, is hosting a Halloween giveaway that ends on October 11th. Click on over and see what she's up to.