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.


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.


OR Rainbow Unicorn started in 1983


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


If I sort by Percentage complete, I’m looking at the Dr. Who Quilt

Or The French purse kit I inherited from my Grandma

If I go with projects with the fewest remaining stitches. Those would be Tempest and Ecology


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)

It’s a good thing that I have an evening to decide what to work on next.

However, suggestions are appreciated.

What’s wrong with this picture? 

When I was 13, I wanted brand new skis for Christmas.  I discovered freestyle ballet the year before and wanted shorter skis.  My brother discovered moguls and wanted skis for that.  We both got new skis.  The day after Christmas the family went sledding.  We had steel runner sleds on a closed road.  There was an S curve in the road following the steepest hill. I made the first curve and hit a tree when I didn’t make the second turn.  The tree was actually a good thing since it kept me from going over a precipice into a creek.  I ended up with a fractured tibia, fibula, displaced kneecap, and spiral fracture of the femur.  The femur fracture resulted in the placement of 3 screws (with washers).  I never did use the new skis.  My brother became an alternate for the US Olympic Freestyle team going to Calgary when freestyle was an exhibition sport.

Fast forward 7 years, and I’ve got a lump in my knee that really hurts when it gets bumped.  Turns out one of the screws is working its way out of the bone.  I schedule surgery between Spring and Summer semesters.  They remove the screws but leave the washers. It’s supposed to be an outpatient surgery on Thursday.  Friday afternoon when I finally wake up in the hospital, the anesthesiologist tells me to warn future anesthesiologists that I’m a redhead.  As for recovery, Sunday after surgery I drove 45 minutes from Holladay to Provo so I could start classes on Monday.  I vaguely remember being on crutches for 3 weeks and I don’t remember any physical therapy.

So here we are many years later and one of the washers has broken loose and has moved to where it jammed my knee open at least twice.  Tomorrow I go in for surgery to remove all three washers (maybe) depending on how deep in the bone they are buried.

This leads me to some side behaviors that have come to light because of this event.  When I was given the choice of surgery dates I took the day before Thanksgiving since it was the least disruptive. However, this meant I was not going to be able to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  I asked my husband to cook Thanksgiving.  He’s a chef.  I was thinking something really cool would be on the menu, instead he started talking about open face turkey sandwiches and I unconsciously started wanting to do things my way.  Without thinking, I kept making remarks which showed I wanted control of dinner.  As many times as I preach delegation without micromanagement to my coaching clients, I was failing miserably.  I apologized to my husband and I have stepped back.

The other thing was a challenge I gave another coaching client.  She has so much going on and I challenged her to say yes to the next three people who offered her help.  My sister called tonight and asked if she could help me with anything post surgery.  My first inclination was to say no, but then I remembered the challenge I gave.  I accepted not only dinner but asked if she could find the water chestnuts that seem to be sold out at the stores around me.

It was fun to have what I share with others apply to me. I’m glad I recognized it though.

Saving things for later is another form of procrastination

For Mothers Day my husband gave me a gift basket which included a bath bomb.  I had never had a bath bomb before but it looked like a larger version of the bath cubes I used to have which took forever to dissolve.  In my mind, I planned to save it for later.  Save it for a time when I would take a really long soak.  

Today I finished a fantastic leadership/public speaking course called leadership from the heart.  My feet were sore, my voice was shot, I was physically drained and still on an emotional high.  I realized this would be the perfect time for that long soak in the tub.  I turned on the water and dropped the bath bomb in.

It was a bomb, alright! There was a plop and a POP!  The bath bomb exploded and the scent of wildflowers filled the room. 

I realized that I had mistaken what the gift really was.  I had preconceived notions which limited my desire to use it.  I thought it was going to fizz and take a long time to dissolve.  Instead, it was quick and because I was not mindful in the moment of it’s use, I missed seeing it explode, I heard it and saw/smelled the result. 

Since I was still in that coachable mindset, I saw the parallels.  How many times have I procrastinated things thinking that they would be long, arduous processes?  What if that was incorrect thinking?  What if things things I’ve been thinking are big hairy monsters are actually cute little puppies run through my scary filter? How many times have I missed things because I was not fully present in the moment? 

Even worse, how many times have I judged people from things in my past experience instead of who they are really?  How many times have I stopped seeking to understand based on something they said or did that triggered me?  And turning that around, how many times have others stopped listening to me because they judged me?  

To end on a lighter note, I will definitely be getting more bath bombs and using them frequently.