Wednesday, August 27

August TUSAL

It's TUSAL time.  TUSAL (totally useless stitch a long) seems really fun, so I thought I would join in.  You just collect your orts in some sort of container and post a picture of it sometime around the new moonish (which puts it at a nice interval with the WiPocalyse, which is posted every full moonish).   I used to keep  an ort container, but then just used the edge of the couch and periodically trashed what I had collected.

Back in the day, if I was stitching a project for someone, I would keep the orts from that project and put them in a clear Christmas ornament and give that as part of the gift.   Most of the time, projects were made with a variety of colors and threads (metallics!) and I thought the ornament rather pretty.


I'd cleaned a glass jar to use, but I think it made its way into the recycle bin, so I used one of my spare Ikea spice jars (I make brisket rub and taco seasoning in batches and keep them in these jars - this one had never been used).




It's pretty boring this month.  I've been working on the outlines in Ferret Knot, so that's just a whole lot of DMC 310


There probably won't be much in the stitching way for the next couple of weeks - I've got some major reno/update/whatever work going on in the kitchen, and I've got a gaming convention coming up, so things will probably be pretty tight/busy.  Whoohoo?

Tuesday, August 26

Storage

As the last part of cleaning/organizing, I decided to work on my storage for finished pieces.

Most of this came around because I had grabbed some stuff to frame, and thanks to the chaos that is my finished pieces bin, I had to do a bit of pressing just to get the piece unwrinkled enough to take them on the trip to the framers.    Then there's the whole "oh dear god, that is a lot of dog/ferret hair in there" and it just seemed like something I should do.

Most of the large pieces are wadded/folded up (I did an initial press and tried to keep things tidy but failed) in a small-ish bin (again, mostly a product of having moved several times and trying to consolidate space).   I know there are those really large under-the-bed rolly bins that would probably fit the pieces better, but I don't have a good space to put them (oddly, under the bed space is at a premium).

I went to Target, bought a bin, hauled the iron/ironing board upstairs, put on an audio book and went to work.

And then I discovered that one of the pieces was not color-fast and I have a right mess on my hands.  I'm currently soaking the piece in cold water/Orvus and changing out the water every few hours.  Hopefully I'll be able to rescue it, as I've always quite liked that piece (hazard of having pieces so old you can't remember if the threads are delicate and not keeping them nicely stored).  The fibre used was a Needle Necessities that was variegated with dark green/dark red and the red ran.  Everywhere.

But this is what I started out with:



Monday, August 25

Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon

Originally published on Booklikes 
Here's the link to the Goodreads post.



★★★★☆

This is one of those books that I really wish I had read as a kid/teenager.

It's a very "old skool" military fantasy, with the exception that the bad-ass warrior hero happens to be a heroine.   The narration starts sometime in the future and tells the story of Paksennarion, a headstrong girl who joined a mercenary outfit to escape an arranged marriage.   Along the way we get a lot of training, details of camp and marching life, pretty good descriptions of war and pillaging, and discover that Paks has some sort of magical talent or ability.   We're not sure how the magic system works, because Paks herself isn't sure of what's going on, but as this is the first part of a three part story, we might learn more later.   

The characterizations weren't really strong, but it's not a character driven novel, in my opinion.   The world building is solid, the plot was good, although it did get a little bit dry/slower with the training (and other) narratives.   To be honest, I thought it was interesting and did not make me feel like I was slogging through it.  
I think the biggest weakness is Paks, herself, which while being headstrong, is painfully naive and is a passive character much of the time and could be classified (pretty solidly) as a Mary Sue.
It is refreshing to have a non-heteronormative character (she's asexual) who is also breaking gender norms, and that there is a little bit regarding gender norms in the novel itself (this mercenary company, or at least the land where it is located does not consider women mercenaries to be noteworthy, whereas later they do do go to another land where it is unusual).
I can see why many people didn't love this book, but I really liked it, and will probably get around to reading/listening to the rest of the books in this... book.

Thursday, August 21

Organization..... of the future!

Once upon a time, I was super-heavily involved with cross stitch, luckily just as it was on it's biggest upswing and all the way through what seems to be its height of popularity.   I spent time on several very active bulletin boards (I still float around, but mostly lurk and their activity is much diminished), I had a blogroll of probably hundreds of blogs, I followed trade show news like I was breathing air, and I went to shows, retreats, shops everywhere I could, and had quite an extensive collection.    I had tons and tons of charts.  Luckily, I was into collecting charts, and not fibres or fabrics, so while I had a sizable craft collection, it wasn't too crazy.

And, once upon a time, I was dating an IT guy.  He made me a database (way back in the day - think mid 90s) with Access where I could keep information, including pictures, of all of my patterns.   I ended up using excel spreadsheets for a few years after that, but I've always been bad at maintaining them - who wants to have to print out a huge spreadsheet before going to a show or shop?

I move to the Triangle area more than 5 years ago, hauling what possessions I could in a small Uhaul after substantially de-stashing.    I then de-stashed a couple of times while living here (selling/giving away everything I was no longer interested in).  I even went to a couple of small/personal GTGs where I again brought stash I had identified as expendable and donated everything left over to women's shelters.

Basically - I lost/got rid of a lot of my shit.

Friday, August 15

Quickie BoInk update

Part of my "loose" rotation was that I thought it would be fun to do multiple BoInk pages... and then after doing the math I realized if I did four pages at at time, I could finish about the same time as Deco Spirits (or at least in as many turns).  And since the first page was much more involved than the following, I thought it was a grand idea.

Until last night when I realized I had reached the end of my enjoyment for that piece... so I finished the page and I'll be moving along now.   It was fun, and I'm sure it'll be as fun again.

Still debating metallics in it.   I'm not sure if it would bring the appropriate "POW" to the piece I'm looking for, or if I should enjoy the contrast with the gold border (the critter pages WILL be getting some shine).

So here's Page 3, finished last night:


I'm home sick today, so maybe I'll make good progress on DecoSpirits and get back to working on a Mirabilia fairy ;)

Thursday, August 14

Framed Storyteller By Teresa Wentzler

I completely forgot to post this picture!   When I got the rest of my pieces framed at Nick's, I also got Storyteller framed.  Unfortunately, I was not clear on my desire for spacers, so I think there was a bit of a mix up.  I took ST to a local framer I really like (who I just don't use because while he's very good, he's also expensive!) and had him add in spacers.

I got ST back a bit ago, and now I just need to find a place to hang it.  I'm running out of wall space!  (or I need more walls?  Haha!)

Here is the whole thing framed, I just adore that frame.
I stitched Storyteller from 6/29/2001 through 3/17/2002


Wednesday, August 13

Bathroom is all done!

So I had posted previously about the new bathroom reno.   Other than the mirror (which I'd like to replace eventually for something framed and not in the way of the lights), the only thing I had left to do was the new towel & paper holders and the faucet.  

I love the look of oil rubbed bronze (brushed nickel would be in second place), so that's what I got to match.

Replacing towel bars/rings and toilet paper holders doesn't phase me, it's the faucet I was terrified of working on. yet it was so freakin' easy, it was ridiculous.   Well, not easy per se, since the contractors who installed it cross threaded the nut on the bottom and I ended up breaking nails and rubbing my hand raw holding the pipe to loosen it (in the end, I ended up cutting the nut off, believe it or not).

But here are my glorious results!  I'm absurdly proud of myself for doing it!