I don’t shop for clothes much but what happened to quality?

I hate shopping for clothes, so I don’t do it much if I can avoid it. If I had the money, I would do all my clothes bespoke because nothing fits, or looks good on me.

I know there is childhood trauma behind my dislike of bra shopping and I’ve blogged about that before. I’ve complained about my inability to find jeans that fit but this time around, I’m looking for business clothes.

My new position at work means that I need banker clothes again. Sad thing is that I don’t fit into my old banker clothes. Those classic pieces that are still in style? I’ve put on 12 pounds since I last wore them for work. While I’m working on losing that 12 pounds, I need something to wear. So I’ve been wandering into Kohls, Dress Barn and other stores looking for dress pants, skirts and nice tops.

What happened to dress pants in the last five years? I can’t find a pair without a yoga style or elastic waist. If I tuck in a shirt they look like crap, not to mention the way they keep sliding down my butt. I know my butt is bigger than it used to be but really! What happened to zippers, snaps and belt loops?

Also, can I please have a pair of jeans without Lycra or Spandex? I would like a pair of denim jeans, again with buttons, snaps or zippers. I can live with the low rise jeans but please let me zip or button them closed.

And I would like sleeves in my shirts too. It seems everything I’m finding is tank style or has cuts in the sleeves so they might as well be sleeveless. And the material – I would like to put on a T-shirt and not have everyone see the color of my bra underneath. I’m beginning to see why people still do the 90’s layering thing, it’s so you don’t see their nipples.

For a while I thought it might be the stores I’m shopping in, so I popped into Nordstroms. Guess what? Same crap, higher prices. I’ve come to the conclusion though that I must be shopping in the wrong places so I’m going to start asking people who are wearing the styles I’m looking for where they shop. After all, someone must still have clothes I can wear out there somewhere.

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March Wipocalypse check-in

Question of the Month – What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?

I am not one of those people who cruise Etsy or Google looking for new patterns. I have enough in my stash of the people I discovered around the turn of the century when I started stitching again. My go to designers are Teresa Wentzler, Dragon Dreams, Sue Hillis, Just Nan and Mirabilia/Nora Corbett.

I would say the newest designers I have discovered are Armada Designs – I won her Dragonite at one of the Con volunteer events which led to me joining the Class Schedule Stitch Along. I’ve fallen behind on that one but I did finish January this month.

I did make some modifications but I’ve loved how clear and simple this design is. I’m looking forward to the rest of the design. It kills me how people in the SAL Facebook group make comments that would really hurt me if I were the designer.

I think back to how Nora Corbett has said it really hurts when people say, “well my wallet is safe” when she releases a design. People, think before you say things online. Would you say that to someone’s face if they were standing there? Then maybe you shouldn’t say it online.

Another new to me designer is Clouds Factory – I’ve been working on last year’s Fabulous Women Stitch Along – I’m behind again and finished February but haven’t finished March yet.

I’ve been adding beads to it but I learned that the beads do not work well with the Q-snaps so I didn’t bead Virginia’s necklace. I’m going to bead at the end.

I’m also working on the SAL from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery for this year – Into the Jungle. I’m staying current on this one.

I’m glad that we do have new designers and I love seeing all the new stitchers on Flosstube. I love also seeing the experiments people do with dyeing their own fabric too.

I did buy a tie dye kit to try on some Aida when I get ready to start Bothy Threads Alice in Wonderland. That’s some time off though, I have a lot of things kitted up ready to start and many that need to be finished first.

I’ve found a new job and I’m hoping that gives me more time to stitch since it includes travel time.

Still chasing this squirrel…

So far in March, I haven’t stitched much but I’ve done quite a bit of writing.  I even went to the League of Utah Writers Infinite Monkey’s chapter meeting. The presentation was on writing flash fiction and we rolled the dice – horror, inanimate protagonist, outer space, gritty style, and I forget what the last one was.

Here is my flash fiction:

Today was his birthday.  It was going to be hell.

Normally she didn’t mind doing shifting but this one she dreaded.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if she hadn’t been trapped in that ship for the first 100 decades of her personal memory.  True, she could have washed between her ears like so many of her colleagues but she found the thought of losing her original personality frightening. She wasn’t like the others who put on new personas as often as seasonal fashion.  Of course, not washing meant that she realized the others changed when they didn’t remember.  But this job, luckily, only came up on his birthday and so many years she had missed the short straw.

In some ways it was intriguing, he was classified as the oldest living AI in anyone’s data banks.  She knew the truth of his sentience.

Sentience gave him rights, and she was not above the law.  Only one had returned from his birthday bash in all the records she had reviewed.  The law stated every sentient AI had the right to a day in a shifter’s body.  Hadn’t she escaped the ship by using her day out to capture this body?  Tricking the machine designed to validate the original shifter’s return? She knew her true fear was turnabout as fair play and if he hadn’t been washed, he might remember; remember her.

She stood before the airlock, and steeling herself, pressed the opener.

“Welcome, Ophelia, Shall we trade places again?”

January Wipocalypse CheckIn

Check in Page on Facebook.

So I’m late checking in this month. It’s been a busy start to the new year. I’m writing as much as I’m stitching and have some fun things going. First the questions

What SALs are you participating in this year?

I have 3 SALs that I’m planning on for this year – Last year’s Clouds Factory Fabulous Women which I didn’t keep current with and am working on the monthly blocks this year. Here is January.

Next I’m working on the Harry Potter Class Schedule from Armada Designs. I ordered some gold and yellow silk from Silks4U for the borders and the class schedule banner. I did get that started in January.

The final SAL that I’m participating in this year is the Frosted Pumpkin Into the Jungle SAL. I completed my January block there too.

As for my other stitching goals. I did get a row finished in Anniversary Roses but I can’t show those pictures online because of the agreement with the designer. And I got one block finished on Stars for a New Millennium.

I also finished the tortoise on Ecology which was a freebie from either the Hoffman or Herschner’s site

So not as much as I hoped to stitch but I’ve been focused on job hunting and writing.

What are you stitching Olympics plans? Which event?

I am planning on the rotation relay – a new piece each day unless I finish the section goal in which case, I can either work on a piece from an earlier day or move on to the next day.

Day – Project – Goal

Friday, Opening ceremonies – Class Schedule – Get current

Saturday, Day 1 – Stars for a New Millennium – 2 Stars

Sunday, Day 2 – Fabulous Women – February

Monday, Day 3 – New Year Fairy – 200 stitches – (There may be no stitching this day as my son comes home from his mission to St. Louis)

Tuesday, Day 4 – Frosted Pumpkin Into the Jungle – February Block (Toucans)

Wednesday, Day 5 – Anniversary Roses – Wild Rose/Celtic Vines Row

Thursday, Day 6 – EGA Name Tag

Friday, Day 7 – Dr. Who Quilt – Finish signatures

Saturday, Day 8 – Ecology – Finish it

Sunday, Day 9 – Summer Carousel Horse – 200 stitches (Catch up on other pieces)

Monday, Day 10 – Fall Carousel Horse – 200 stitches

Tuesday, Day 11 – Spring Carousel Horse – 200 stitches

Wednesday, Day 12 – Needlepoint Purse Kit – 2 inches of Basketweave

Thursday, Day 13 – Tempest – 200 stitches

Friday, Day 14 – Ristipisto Kit – 300 stitches

Saturday, Day 15 -Rose Fairy, Joan Elliott – 300 stitches

Sunday, Closing Ceremonies – Dragon Ride – 300 stitches

17 projects with some progress? We’ll see how it goes.

Squirrel Weekend?

I’ve spent my life chasing multitasking squirrels. In school my oldest and youngest children were referred for ADHD testing. I looked at the teachers and explained, the kids had tested negative, it is Mom who has issues. This means I have a tendency to jump from idea to idea and project to project with no rhyme or reason. Oh, hey, look it’s shiny….

In the last year, I completed coaching certification. I completed my Competent Communicator award from Toastmasters International (and competed in a speech competition). I took my dream vacation and rode the Carson County Carousel. And I got the offer to move to Georgia or find a new job. In April, my employment ends (with a possible extension to July). Squirrel?

This weekend I attended my very first writing conference. I learned a lot about the business of writing, didn’t ask “tell me more” from other attendees as often as I should have, dug out the 3 files of stories that I have stored in the cloud and realized there is only 1 page on each of them. I loved being at the conference even though I spent the weekend wondering what I was doing there and how it applied to me. The high point was meeting Richard Paul Evans and hearing about his writing process and his marketing process before Christmas Box became a best seller. I also got a great idea for a short, twisted, speculative fiction story from Stephanie Mabey (okay not from her but from one of her songs). But for some reason, I feel this entire weekend was chasing a shiny squirrel.

If I catch the squirrel, will it all make sense and come to a sensible conclusion? Even if it doesn’t, it has started some great conversations with my middle son (who loaned me a copy of his Neil Gaiman short story book) and I have an appointment with my oldest to attend the League of Utah Writers in February. I wonder if I will catch the squirrel there.

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Working from a Backlog for Rotation.

Instead of setting up an hourly rotation this year, I set up my rotation slots based on accomplishing sections of the WIPs I’m working on completing.

We’re two weeks into the year and I’ve completed three stories and I’m working on the fourth. I’ve completed Cary Grant and Vivian Leigh in Stars for a new Millennium

Vivian Leigh

Cary Grant

January Fabulous Women

and I should finish the Into the Jungle January square this weekend so this month is really moving well and I like using the story method for determining when it’s time to rotate.

WIPocalypse Kickoff 2018

Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

Introduce Yourself

I’m Stasha and I am beyond SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. It’s the first question in a job interview. I have been a product manager for a software company for 4.5 years. They are closing my office and I chose not to relocate. That means I need a new job. But what you care about is who am I not what I do. I am a fiber artist: cross-stitch, needlepoint, beadwork, quilting, crochet, but I do not knit. I am the mother to three children who are adults and to round out the pack, we have 2 beagles. The snake, birds and lizard moved with my daughter. I’m very data driven and a firm believer in continual improvement.

Show us your WIPs

My WIP parade video

What are your plans for 2018

For years I’ve done my planning on an Excel spreadsheet. This year I moved to Sheets on Google because I’ve been having issues with Microsoft wanting me to subscribe to an office account in order to access my documents. I find this somewhat ridiculous because I bought the software, it wasn’t free, and I have plenty of storage space on devices with cloud backup. Therefore the move to Sheets. I lost some of the auto-formatting and color options because I haven’t learned how Sheets does them. You can see my plans for the year, HERE.

I’ve tried to include capacity planning this year but I still may have over committed. Last year I completed around 123,000 stitches and this year I’m looking at 236,366 stitches if I complete all three SALs (Class Schedule, Into the Jungle, and Fabulous Women), Stars for a New Millennium, 12 Rows on Anniversary Roses, Ecology, Dragon Ride, Summer Carousel Horse and Tempest.

If I get tired of TW since I have 3 of them in the latter part of my rotation, I will bring in Noah’s Sub or Tiger Lily and work on those. The plan is that the only new starts I will have will be the 2 new SALs from Armada Designs and Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. We’ll see how well that works since I have 40 kitted projects that call to me from time to time. The ultimate goal for this year is to have fewer WIPs at the end of the year than I had at the beginning.

The only plan I really had for how to rotate was to break the segments needed to finish each projects into smaller segments (called stories) and organize them by priority. It’s the 2nd page of my Sheets book titled- Backlog. Right now it’s looking like I work on SAL’s or cross-stitch during the week and then Stars on the weekend but it’s only the 2nd weekend of 2018 so we’ll see how that lasts.

I’m open to suggestions and thoughts. See you all next month.

Looks can be deceiving

I’m getting started on my annual inventory.  I decided to start with cataloguing my Works in Progress (WIP). When I looked at the shelf, it seems pretty daunting; six cubicles, 4 crammed full.  Yet as I started really looking at what was there, most of them are kitted but not started yet.  Only 15 of the cross-stitch projects in the full shelf have been worked on by me. 

Several of the WIPs are ones I inherited and have not put in any stitches. I’m counting them as fully kitted and ready to start.  By the way, that count for cross-stitch is forty projects (Bewitching Pixies and Flower Pixies were grouped as 2 instead of actual numbers). 

There are only three embroidery projects started and 10 quilt tops. Five needlepoint canvases are going although 3 more reside on the shelves. I did find the silk for Tiger Lily’s skin, in with Raven Queen. So many beautiful things waiting for me to work on them.

So why am I looking at 3 mystery stitch a longs and trying to figure out how to fund them and stay within budget?

Thoughts on Voyeur…

The other night DH and I watched the Netflix documentary Voyeur about the publication of the Voyeur Hotel book.  The thing that really struck me was how shocked the Voyeur was about people hating what he did.  The author reminded the Voyeur that he came to the author to tell his story and be a pioneer, a hero, someone who was brave enough to fight the social norms.  As I watched it, it hit me.  This guy thought everyone secretly wanted to spy on people having sex but weren’t as smart as he was since he did it.  He thought people would admire his willingness to act on the desire he knew they all had.  It never occured to him that other people found his desires repulsive, he saw his desires as normal.

Usually when I write a blog, I have a point in mind when I start.  I think in this case, it’s trying to purge an image from my head. I remember watching Voyeur and seeing an expression.  Just a flash where it hits him, what I did may not be everyone’s secret desire.  Many time in coaching, we help others see that they aren’t alone, there are others who feel what you do.  In this case, it’s the opposite. What you are feeling is not what everyone else is feeling. 

Choices for the next WIP to work on…

I am hours away from finishing Fruit Bell Pull by Teresa Wentzler.  I probably won’t finish it tonight but it will be finished tomorrow.  I have only a little backstitching and the border on the last block left.  That means it’s time to pick the next project or decide to move to an active rotation.

Being the data geek that I am I have multiple options when I sort my spreadsheet. If I go with the oldest projects I’m looking at Pegasus started in 1982.

pegasus

OR Rainbow Unicorn started in 1983

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or if I stick with Cross-stitch Dragon Ride from 2000

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If I sort by Percentage complete, I’m looking at the Dr. Who Quilt
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Or The French purse kit I inherited from my Grandma
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If I go with projects with the fewest remaining stitches. Those would be Tempest and Ecology
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Or I go with the Carousel Horses which are on the highest count fabric and my eyesight is going. (Summer is the closest to complete)
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It’s a good thing that I have an evening to decide what to work on next.

However, suggestions are appreciated.