A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Monday miscellany - 1Feb16

Hard to believe it's February already. 2016 is flying by!

What I've been reading... I finished Kevin J Anderson's _Clockwork Lives_ last night, and I will start Brandon Sanderson's _Bands of Mourning_ tonight.

What I've been crafting... Not very much crafty progress this week, alas. I'm only 40% done with the last panel of the Tunisian crochet afghan. I'm really hoping to be done with the whole afghan by this time next week.

Fumbling toward fitness... This past week was rather positive. I finally made it back to Curves for the first time in 8 months, and I continued to treadmill daily - 177 minutes for 8.95 miles. That's slightly less than I have the past two weeks, but the Curves visits more than made up the lack.

One Little Victory Getting back to Curves after such a long hiatus was the big accomplishment this week.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday miscellany - 25Jan16

We had another wonderfully chilly weekend here, but without the 2+ feet of snow that my parents and other people further north received. I've never seen it snow where I live now in central Florida, though it did about a year before I moved here. We make up for the lack of snow with tropical storms.

Rather than trumpet my good fortune too loudly, I'll just move on to the business at hand.

What I've been reading... I'm on page 192 of 396 in _Clockwork Lives_ by Kevin J. Anderson, and am enjoying it. Brandon Sanderson's next Mistborn book, _Bands of Mourning_, will drop to my Kindle upon its release tomorrow, but I may not finish _Clockwork Lives_ until the weekend.

What I've been crafting... I finished panel 5 and am 20% finished with panel 6 of my Tunisian crochet afghan. I hope to finish the last panel by next Monday, and hopefully get the whole thing assembled and finished by the end of the Super Bowl.

Fumbling toward fitness... I'm still consistently treadmilling daily, covering 9.31 miles in 181 minutes. I've started using the 'daily' map workout (although not doing the whole distance), which gives me some variation in the incline. At least 20 minutes of that 181 was at 15% incline, which is tiring but a good stretch. I still haven't gotten back to Curves yet, but I hope to do that sometime this week.

One Little Victory... I took the 3 bags of clothes I culled from my closet to the thrift store, and DD took the SAT for the first time this past weekend. Hard to believe she's approaching college....

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday miscellany - 18Jan16

We're having a few days of what passes for winter here (meaning highs in the upper 50's F). I'm enjoying the cooler temps while they last...which won't be long.

What I've been reading... I finished Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker on Saturday, and am about 20 pages into Clockwork Lives, Kevin J. Anderson's second book based on Rush's Clockwork Angels album. I read Clockwork Angels (the book) last year, and I have a greater appreciation for the album now.

What I've been crafting... I finished the 4th side panel of my Tunisian afghan, and selected an alternate color for the last two panels. I'm about 20% on panel 5.

Fumbling toward fitness... I continued to treadmill every day. I didn't do 25 minutes each and every day, although I did average that with 9.3 miles over 181 minutes, comparable to last week. We've also been eating healthier as a family, thanks to DD's cooking dinner almost every night this week.

One Little Victory I just finished a long-overdue cull of my clothing today. Three 33gal trash bags full and ready for the thrift shop. Estimating from my hanger pile, I'm probably rehoming 75-100 items - mostly long skirts, sweaters, and dresses that I'd probably never be able to wear again. Better that someone else get use out of them.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday miscellany - 11Jan16

Well, already I've blogged more than I did in all of 2015, so I'm off to a good start.

I woke up this morning to find my Facebook feed in mourning over the passing of David Bowie. I admit I'm mostly just familiar with his hits, such as "Space Oddity" and "Modern Love", and I liked his duet with Queen ("Under Pressure") and his duet with Bing Crosby ("Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth") is one of my favorite popular Christmas songs. But he's most memorable to me as the Goblin King in the movie Labyrinth.

But anyway, now that I'm done waxing nostalgic, it's time for a status update.

What I've been reading: I'm on page 252 of 656 in Warbreaker. I've mostly just been reading on the treadmill, so I may not finish this by next week.

What I've been crafting: I finished 5th side panel and am about 2/3 done with the 6th panel for my Tunisian afghan. However, since I've used multiple brands of yarns (to get the palette I wanted), two of those panels came out rather larger than the others, so I may redo those in a different yarn brand to be more consistent. So I'm really only on panel 4.

Fumbling toward fitness: I've done well on the treadmill since last week, clocking at least 25 minutes a day, often more. In total, 183 minutes for 9.28 miles. Slow but steady.

One Little Victory: Not only did I get caught up with laundry and unpacking, but I also took a carload of items to the thrift store that had been accumulating for a few months.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Monday miscellany - 4Jan16

Here goes, the first (hopefully) weekly update about what I've been up to over the past week. Just keeping it simple.

What I've been reading: Last night I finished Words of Radiance, the second book in Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight series. That was a whopping 1080 pages, so I'm already over 10% closer to my reading goal for the year! And I did read nearly all of it this year, most of it on the plane back from Munich on New Years Day. I'm continuing my Sanderson kick by starting the standalone novel Warbreaker, though I've only read the prologue so far.

What I've been crafting: I'm working on the 5th side panel of Red Heart's Timeless Tunisian crochet afghan, but in periwinkle/blues instead of the pattern colors. I've never done Tunisian crochet before starting this project, so this was a new technique for me. I should be on the 6th and final panel by next week, then I need to put it all together.

Exercising: So far, I've managed at least 20 minutes per day on the treadmill since I've been back, though I've not been on yet tonight. I've also done Lumosity for 3 consecutive days, to exercise my brain as well as my body.

One Little Victory: (I'll use this segment to comment on something positive about the past week.) I've just about finished laundry and unpacking from vacation. It's been a productive day.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

New Year, new rules....

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016!

Somehow I only managed a whopping two posts in all of 2015. Most of my activity was on Facebook, but even there I've kind of been under the radar.

Why? Who knows. 2015 was really a bit of a mixed bag. It had some really great times, like the Rush concert I went to in May, and celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with a wonderful two-week trip to Germany including a week-long river cruise. It also had some not-so-great things, such as DH breaking his leg mid-year, although he's mostly recovered now. Other noteworthy events were DD getting her driver's license, and a job change for me.

Primarily, though, I came to the realization in June that I was losing motivation to work on large stitching projects because I diligently timed them, and that became a bit of a hassle at times. And hobbies are supposed to be fun, not drudgery. So after much thought, I decided that I'm not going to bother with timing my projects anymore, and just stitch or yarncraft what I want, when I want. And I've been much happier. I did finish several small projects - Ink Circles "Metamorphosis" and "Namaste" as well as my 2015 ornament design, and finished the maid section of Teresa Wentzler's "Fantasy Triptych". I'm currently on a crochet project, a Tunisian-technique afghan, and have other yarncraft projects I'd like to do, and there's unfortunately only one instantiation of myself.

Anyway, I'll start by looking at last year's goals.

2015 Goals
  • Read 7500 pages - 8946 pages! Maybe I need to increase my reading goal.
  • Do 10 101List items
    - I did 5, which is actually more than I'd thought.
  • Rauros to Isengard (Merry and Pippin's path) - Finished in August
  • Isengard to Minas Tirith (Merry's path) - Only 112 of 578, but I should arrive this year.
So...on to this year.

2016 Goals
  • Read 10,000 pages
  • Do 10 101List items - I've decided to retain this for now, but I expect my next list may be rather different, as I rework things. I would like to finish the magi panel for Nativity, and Around the World in 80 Stitches as two of these, but we'll see.
  • Isengard to Minas Tirith (Merry's path) - Only 112 of 578, but I should arrive this year.
  • Isengard to Minas Tirith (Gandalf and Pippin's path) - At 517 miles, I don't expect to make much progress unless I get more diligent about exercising. Which admittedly would not be a bad thing.
2016 will see some other changes, or at least that's the plan. DD has expressed a desire to eat dinner together as a family more often than we have been the past year or so, striving for 4 times a week. I think that's a wonderful idea - she'll be heading to college before too much longer, and it might also serve to have all of us eating healthier. I also need to get back to exercising regularly again, though I have yet to specifically quantify what that entails.

I do want to blog more regularly as well, and maybe I need to do that in the form of weekly updates for what I'm reading and crafting, and how I'm coming along with exercise and other important goals. Holding myself accountable, as it were. Mondays are probably a good time to update, because I will have had the weekend.

So....we'll see how it goes.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tempest fugit...

Have I really failed to blog since the beginning of the year?? Apparently so...

Things have been somewhat crazy here, first with a series of colds sweeping the household. Both DH and I were sick without fully recovering for six weeks or so, which can put quite a damper on getting much accomplished. Then I had a job change, and DD has decided she needs to increase her driving practice. We still haven't unpacked everything from the grand reflooring of December.

Needless to say, I haven't done much in the way of goals accomplishment. I have been stitching some, but had to restart Ink Circles "Metamorphosis" when I discovered that I'd mis-centered the piece and wouldn't be able to fit it all. The restart is going well, and I'm nearly half done again.

I've made almost no progress on Nativity at all. So really, my lack of WIPocalypse updates hasn't missed much. Hopefully I'll be able to jump back into it with the next update on 4 April.

I have been reading, a little. I managed to score an autographed copy of Neil Gaiman's latest book, Trigger Warning, though I've been actually reading it on Kindle. I'm enjoying it so far, when I've taken the time to read.

Ah, time flies when you have too much to do....

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015!

Life has been busy with home remodel tasks, so I missed the December WIPocalypse update. There wasn't much to show, really, other than starting a couple of hours on the Magi panel for Nativity. Pictures will have to wait for the next update.

I'm starting off 2015 with a cold of some sort. Instead of sitting around watching bowl games and stitching, I've slept since coming back from visiting relatives. I should at least turn the games on, I suppose. And at least I can only get healthier from here, right?

As with every year, it's time to review last year's goals and make new ones! Without further ado:

2014 Goals
  • Read 7500 pages - I came in at 7878 this year, so this is probably a reasonable recurring goal to keep.
  • Do 10 101List items - I managed 8, and started a new list!
  • Isengard to Minas Tirith (Aragorn's path) - Arrived in mid-July!
  • Rauros to Isengard (Merry and Pippin's path) I'm at 251 of 355.
  • Complete 12 30-day fitness challenges - Sad to say, this had fallen by the wayside by February. I had thought it would be easy to do/keep up, but it didn't take much to completely trash a 12-month plan.

New year means new goals, though since my goals are pretty standard these are likely to be of surprise to nobody.

2015 Goals
  • Read 7500 pages
  • Do 10 101List items
  • Rauros to Isengard (Merry and Pippin's path) At 251 of 355, I should be there by Easter.
  • Isengard to Minas Tirith (Merry's path) This is 578 miles. Hopefully I can be near the end by year's close.

Generically, I'd like to improve my health this year, both physically and mentally. I do tend to carry more stress than perhaps i should, which I'm sure contributes to physical health. And if I can go down a jean size or two, so much the better.

In any case, bring on the new year!

Monday, November 10, 2014

WIPocalypse redux - November update


It's hard to believe it's November already. This year really has flown by...

Topic of the month: What are your favorite and least favorite materials to use in your stitching?
Wow, an easy question this time! For favorite materials, I really enjoy using silks in my stitching - they come in beautiful colors and feel very nice in my hands as I work. Fabricwise, I prefer evenweaves. Lugana in particular.
Least favorite is Aida, hands down. Almost all of what I have is very stiff, and just not pleasant to stitch on. Before I discovered linens and evenweaves, I used it all the time, but after discovering the better fabrics, I really have a difficult time using it anymore. Now, there may be softer aidas out there, but I've never worked on them. Also in the least-favorite category is Permin linen. I find it very stiff and the weave is too open. To each their own, though.

On to the updates!

Project: Fantasy Triptych
Designer: Teresa Wentzler
Fabric: 32ct Lugana - Silkweaver "Blue Dynasty"
Total hours to date: 48
Progress since last update: An additional 18 hours on the maiden panel. Maiden and unicorn have primary stitching done (except for her face), and greenery started.
Notes: After I decided to wait on the confetti stitching and go to the discrete figures, I started to get into the groove on this piece. So much so that I've continued to work on it into November, and will likely keep working on it until Advent. The greenery isn't so daunting anymore.

Fantasy Triptych at 48 hours
(Click for larger image)

Project: Metamorphosis
Designer: Ink Circles
Fabric: 36ct Birds of a Feather "Barn Owl" linen
Total hours to date: not tracked
Progress since last update: Finished second motif and started third.
Notes: This is my gaming and waiting project. I've done much of this while waiting to pick my daughter up from school in the afternoon - a few stitches here and there add up quickly.

(Click for larger image)

In non-stitching news, I started a new 101Things list at the beginning of this month. This is Round 4. There are a few items that have been there since the first list that keep getting carried over that I likely won't get to because of time and/or space constraints, but I leave them there so they don't get entirely forgotten.

We're also about to start another home renovation project. Several areas of the house (the living room, dining room, and two of the bedrooms) will be refloored. We'll replace the 20-year-old carpet with wood-look porcelain tile. I'm looking forward to the new floor, but perhaps less so to having to box up 4 rooms in the next few weeks. But, I do seem to be motivated by deadlines, and much of this is way overdue. It's also #1 on my new 101Things list.

A few months ago, I signed up for a challenge at Curves to do 30 workouts in 60 days. Another one has just started, and since I did so well at the previous challenge, I decided to do it again.

Just remember - no matter how bad your November may get, at least you're not a turkey!

Monday, October 13, 2014

WIPocalypse redux - October update


Belated again...the WIPocalypse of the procrastinators strikes again. I can blame the kitchen remodel, or the head cold that ambushed me last week, or any number of things, but I'm still late. Ah well. I missed the lunar eclipse last week, but not due to procrastination - it was too cloudy here for me to see, alas. But I digress.

Topic of the month: Are you a Halloween or Christmas stitcher?
I do tend to stitch seasonally, but I've only ever done one Halloween thing (I designed a little customizable Jack-o-lantern a few years back). Nothing against Halloween - I enjoy it, and there are some wonderful Halloween designs, but there's only one of me and I don't have oodles of stitching time.

I do try to design a Christmas ornament every year, and I have stitched on something Christmas or winter probably the past 8 years or so. I don't usually start my Christmas stitching until Advent, though, which starts 30 November this year. So, expect the next part of Nativity to begin then.

I have another finish this month!!

Project: Stars for a New Millennium
Designer: Tony Minieri
Fabric: 18ct pewter mono canvas
Total hours to date: not tracked
Progress since last update: DONE as of 25 September!
Notes: It's done! I mostly enjoyed stitching this, and I love how it turned out, but whatever canvaswork I do next will be a bit less complex.

Stars for a New Millennium, finished
(Click for larger image)

Project: Around the World in 80 Stitches
Designer: Papillon Creations
Fabric: 32ct cream Lugana
Total hours to date: not counting
Progress since last update: Finished part 6
Notes: All of the parts are finally out, so this will be my next focus piece. It may not see much attention during October, though

80 Stitches, through part 6
(Click for larger image)

Project: Fantasy Triptych
Designer: Teresa Wentzler
Fabric: 32ct Lugana - Silkweaver "Blue Dynasty"
Total hours to date: 30
Progress since last update: Started on the maiden panel, but only 2 hours so far.
Notes: It's October, the time when many of my fellow stitchers work on Teresa's designs (not sure how that got started, but I join in TWOctober), so this will be my focus this month. Having gotten sick, though, has limited my energy and motivation for working a piece of this complexity. Lethargy and confetti stitching don't mix well. I'd like to complete the unicorn by the end of the month, at least - I doubt finishing the entire panel is anywhere close to a realistic goal.

Fantasy Triptych
(Click for larger image)

And a new start!

Project: Metamorphosis
Designer: Ink Circles
Fabric: 36ct Birds of a Feather "Barn Owl" linen
Total hours to date: not tracked
Progress since last update: New start!
Notes: This is my gaming and waiting project. I've done much of this while waiting to pick my daughter up from school in the afternoon - a few stitches here and there add up quickly.

(Click for larger image)

In non-stitching news, my kitchen remodel is just about finished, so I get to spend tonight starting to repopulate all the cabinets. But it's also Monday and football season, so there may be stitching. Not that I care about the 49ers or Rams, but any excuse to take a load off and stitch....

My current 101 List expires in a couple weeks, so I need to get to work on a new one.