Where I’ve Been

HELLO MY FRIENDS WE MEET UUUUUUGAIN!

I nearly upgraded my site just so I could post that Creed video and you all could judge accordingly, but it’s kind of pricey to upgrade so I’m just going to trust that you all click the link and shake your heads.

So.

How’s it going?

It’s been over three months since I posted and I’ve been missing this little blog.  I’ve been keeping pretty busy, but to keep from boring everyone I will just focus on the highlights.

TEST

After my last post, I succumbed to “obsessively check and wait for results” mode, which was awful. Waiting is the worst!  I finally received results in late May and, like I expected, I did not pass.  It was pretty disappointing.  But the difference between my score and the passing score was in the single digits…so…I am not far.  The next test is October 27th, and I have already started studying. I will pass this time!  I NEED TO PASS THIS TIME.  The next test after the October one is April 2018, which is when I’m getting married, which is a big NOPE.

TRAVEL

Another thing I started focusing on after my test was scrubbing up my admittedly weak Italian.  My family and I had a trip planned in June.  It was probably late May where I realized I wasn’t going to learn 32 years worth of Italian in a month, so I relaxed a little bit.

I will need to do an entire post on Italy but it was a pretty great trip.  We were there for two weeks and I was able to see my family, who I hadn’t seen in so long! My Italian was still bad, but I learned a lot being immersed over there.

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Selfie in Positano

Work

As one of my aunts says, “Lavoro é lavoro” (work is work), but I’ve been enjoying it.  Lots of reports to keep me busy. I really enjoy the projects where I get to dig deeply into the data (because I’m a nerd), but projects involving a lot of data can always be stressful because you want your analysis to be perfection.  I was also in the field for two weeks this month at a couple of my sites.  Guys. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years so I’m used to this heat – or I thought?  But one week was just so bad!  I’m so glad August is crunch time at the office and I have an excuse to be in the AC.

I do have one funny story – a gate wasn’t closed properly at my site, so we arrived the next morning to find a bunch of cows who had decided to make a visit.

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Just a small sampling of the cows at the site.

 

That was a call I wasn’t looking forward to making to my project manager.  He said we needed to herd them off-site.  “I…um…is there a way you recommend herding them?” I asked.  He told us to make lots of noise.  So I started running at the cows wildly, waving my arms and yelling “SHOOOOOO!” while my coworker jumped in his vehicle and started honking at the cows.  We were able to get the cows off-site and back to their proper home in ten minutes, which exceeded my expectations.  I can now add Jenny: Cow Herder to my resume.

CRAFTS

I want to post a couple of pictures of things I’ve either worked on or finished. I finished a couple of other neat pieces, but I want to spend more time on those posts.

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Fun sashiko-inspired piece from Studio MME

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Another Studio MME piece. I finished this one in Italy – this is my aunt’s table, isn’t it beautiful?

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Fun amigurumi piece from Little Box of Crochet

Wedding

We’re actually getting a lot done.  Booked a photographer (NOT the guy who told me, “I’m a hugger, deal with it” and openly admitted to google stalking the both of us – good lord), finding a caterer, and narrowing down on a baker and officiant.  Fiancé has been really helpful and taken the lead on a lot of the vendors.  Go Fiancé!  Planning is making this wedding less of this nebulous event and something real and tangible.  I’m getting really excited!

Alrighty, I need to get ready for work, but I will be back soon! I have been toying around with ideas for this little blog and hopefully we’ll have some fun in the process!

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Pretty Things

Good morning friends!

I can hardly believe it is already Wednesday, which means my test is a little over three weeks away.

::hyperventilates into paper bag::

Apollo has been a dependable study buddy, but as you can see, he’s getting a little tired of it.

Pup pup

As promised, here are some beautiful things I’ve been working on lately or that have been inspiring me.

I received my package from Hawthorn Handmade this week!  This packaging is so lovely!

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I bought this cute set of cacti and succulent journals this weekend at Book People:

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I’ve been working on this pretty floral theme from Studio MME’s Super Stitchers’ Club:

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And also on last month’s Little Box of Crochet…it was designed by Attic24, which means lots of beautiful colors!

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Those colors are so scrumptious!

Speaking of scrumptious, I may or may not have used pay day as an opportunity to purchase the Scheepjes CAL Hygge kit.

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ALLEGEDLY.  ALLEGEDLY I purchased this kit in the Jewel colorway because I’ve been eyeing it for months and I probably won’t finish it until December but. BUT.  All this studying has put me in treat myself mode.

Okay, I need to work! Have a great day!

Maker Crush – Hawthorne Handmade

This post is brought to you by another cup of coffee and a huge lack of motivation.  So while my brain remembers what it’s like to function, let me show you the work of a wonderful artist I recently discovered.

Hawthorn Handmade is an adorable Etsy shop out of the UK that makes the most wonderful little craft kits.  Seriously, take a look:

Barn Owl Needle Felting

Barn Owl Needle Felting Kit

Bear Embroidery Kit

Bear Embroidery Kit

Gray Hare Crochet Kit

Grey Hare Amigurimi Crochet Kit

Owl Amigurimi Kit

Little Owl Amigurimi Crochet Kit

The designs are so adorable.  I may or may not have purchased the bear embroidery kit and owl crochet kit with an Etsy gift card I received for my birthday last year.  These kits just looked too good to pass up!

Weekend Makes – Mollie Makes Scandi Floral Hoop Kit

Happy Monday!  U.S. readers, are you adjusting to Daylight Savings Time?  I tried to keep a normal schedule yesterday, so I was able to wake up this morning without hating my life.

This weekend was great! It was a very cozy, rainy weekend that allowed me to get caught up on household chores but most importantly, making! I worked on the Scandi Floral Hoop Kit from Mollie Makes issue 76.

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This beautiful kit was designed by Zeena Shah, who makes beautiful Scandinavian-inspired designs. I have to say, I was very pleased with how this kit turned out.  Lately when I’ve worked on embroidering a piece, I feel the need to color in every part of a design with a stitch.  But it’s totally okay to leave some open spaces here and there, and with this piece, I think that approach worked out much better.  It really adds a whimsical feel.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m also really happy with how the French knots turned out!

IMG_0290.JPG It took me a couple of years to learn French knots, and they still give me problems.  But these turned out quite well!

I also started getting caught up on Little Box of Crochet projects.  This one I’m working on is a beautiful peacock feather pincushion. I’ve only worked up a couple of the feathers so far (and haven’t weaved in the ends yet), but am loving the vibrant colors of this project.

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This project uses Scheepjes Catona yarn.  I have to say, I’m geeking out a bit over the yarn selection because Scheepjes isn’t sold in the states. I’ve read about this yarn so much in my imported craft magazines and I’m really excited to be able to work with it.

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Look at these colors!

I hope you had a great weekend! Please share what you made with me!

 

GUYS I RAN OUT OF YARN

The other day I was thinking that I hadn’t posted my February makes.  I looked through my pictures and…realized I had only completed these:

Now to be fair, I had been in the field for two weeks last month…but still! This is hardly anything.  It was a good reminder to me that staying focused on projects is important.  It’s completely normal to feel burned out by a project – and when that happens, I think it’s necessary to move on to a little side project to take a mental break.  But my problem last month was trying to start too many new projects at once.  It doesn’t give me the chance to sit down and focus on completing a project.

I have a frustrating update to my Calvin Top project. I focused on this project ALL WEEK and didn’t work on any other projects.  I am so close to being finished with the second body piece! But, as I feared, I ran out of yarn.  Hence the overly dramatic post title.

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I actually did the tension swatch prior to starting the project, and remember thinking that my stitches were too dense. But I decided to plow ahead with the project anyway.  Lesson learned!  I ordered another skein from Wool and the Gang.  And since it is pay day, I ordered this project too:

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Brooding model not included.

I’ve been interested in making and wearing my own clothes lately, and this seems like a fun project to try my hand with.  It says EASY and it looks like it’s all just stockinette stitch?  Which I can do.  Knit, purl, knit, purl. I got this.  But the Calvin Top was supposed to be easy too, and I suppose it was, but it’s still going to look like a circus tent when I’m done with it.  In my humble opinion.

I also ordered this from Sublime Stitching because pay day, I have no children so my disposable income is all mine, life is short, etc etc.

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The saying on the pillow is “Vita Brevis Est” which translates to “Life is brief.” It’s so morbid. I love it.

What else is going on?  I’m keeping busy at work, which makes me happy.  Consulting is so stressful when there aren’t any projects to work on. I have a lot of projects right now so I feel like I have a purpose yay.  OR SOMETHING.  I had a very quick trip to Houston this week to sample one well, which was fun. I wish all my sites just required sampling one well.  My test is in six weeks and I’m freaking out.

I also enrolled in a garment making class. I mentioned I’m interested in making my own clothes, but it’s been hard to find the motivation to teach myself.  Fiancé has band practice on Saturdays so I thought it would be good to find a class during that time.  Every once in awhile I need to get myself out of my default reclusive loner introvert mode and actually socialize with people.  And learn to make something. I am taking a class in April where we are learning how to make Grainline Studio Willow tanks!

I’ve been following Grainline Studio for while on Instagram, so I’m excited to try my hand at sewing one of their patterns! Again, it’s supposed to be a beginner’s level class, but we’ll see.

Okay. I need to go be a productive member of society and show up to work and stuff. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  If you are stitching up something crafty this weekend, I’d love to hear about it!

Stumbling into the Weekend

Happy Friday!  I am writing to you a little later than normal.  This week was definitely an “off” one for me…feeling really tired, anxious, and antisocial the entire week.  This week was full of meetings and training classes, so I could not be the hermit that I wanted to be. AND to add insult to injury, I got home just now, and Apollo was being really possessive of his treat ball and was growling and barking angrily at me 😦  He’s usually so sweet and loving with me, so I hate when he gets possessive like this! I wasn’t even trying to take his dumb treat ball away from him, I’d been trying to hand him EXTRA TREATS that had fallen out of his treat ball.  Silly dog! ALL I DO IS FEED AND LOVE YOU. It bums me out when he acts like that.

ANYWAY.

Here is a one step forward, two steps backward kind of situation.  I canceled one of my subscription boxes today. I really enjoy Knit-Wise but I want to start saving up for the wedding. I felt really responsible when I did that.

Then I went to Barnes and Noble and bought ALL THE CRAFT MAGAZINES.

Well, not all. Just two. But lookit.

This is the kit that came with Issue 54 of Simply Crochet. Isn’t it adorable?

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I’ve been waiting for this issue of Mollie Makes.I love the embroidery kit!

As for my Wool and the Gang Calvin top, I’m about done with the first body piece. I had to frog it this morning (yes, I did a little crochet before work this morning…shhhh) since the mesh section was uneven and looked crappy. It looks better now and I think I can be done with it this weekend.

Hopefully by relaxing with these projects this weekend, I’ll be able to unwind and be back on track for Monday. Here’s hoping! Have a great weekend!

Making Mistakes to Grow

One of my roles at work is being a safety rep.  For the next several months, I’m giving focus topic meetings on different aspects of being a safety rep since we have a lot of new safety reps in the area.  For my first focus topic yesterday, I decided to discuss the aspects I’d found most daunting about being a safety rep when I first started – like dealing with difficult project managers and people assuming that I was suddenly an OSHA expert and asking really detailed safety questions.  My area safety manager told the group that it was okay to make mistakes and encouraged people to get out there and try, even if they failed.

This maxim, that it’s okay to make mistakes, is one I constantly remind myself.  I made one that my team member gently reminded me of via email.  I was so frustrated!  I should have known better! I went home and felt better after eating my feelings and walking my dog.  But making mistakes just helps us grow, and part of working on a team is having other people holding you accountable and ground-truthing your work.

Last night, I started thinking about making mistakes in my own creative work.  I still consider myself a beginner with crafting which holds me back, because naturally, I don’t want to make mistakes. I just want to make a perfectly Instagrammable piece of art. But that inclination keeps me from trying riskier stitches because it will “look bad.”  Staying inside the box all the time can really hinder creativity, and I’ve definitely always been a rule follower. I can’t even purchase any of Keri Smith’s books, like This is Not a Book, because the idea of tearing pages from the book or destroying a page by pouring milk on it (or whatever the creative prompt actually is), is just so foreign to me. (I know! That’s supposed to be the point! BUT I CAN’T, YOU GUYS).

I’ve been working on a Studio MME Super Stitcher’s Club piece.  What I love about Megan Eckman’s work is you can stitch the piece as simply or as elaborated as you’d like.  It’s designed for stitchers who don’t like the crazy fancy stitches like French knots, but allows enough room for improvisation in case you decide to go crazy and plop a couple on there.  I’ve decided to go outside the box and play around with some extra stitches on the piece.  It’s made me uncomfortable, if I’m being honest.

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My brain is like, “STOP IT. YOUR STITCHES ARE UGLY.” But I know that I need to at least try this idea and see where it takes me.  Maybe my stitches will continue being ugly.  Or maybe I will end up with a piece I’m really proud of.  I’ll never know if I don’t try, or if I just continue doing the same back and running stitches and nothing else.

Making mistakes is a sign that you are growing and if you stumble a little, it means your path will be smoother in the future.  I proposed a risky little strategy at work several days ago and to my shock, the team decided to accept it!  There’s no way I would have had the gumption to propose it without the stumbling blocks I’ve had over the past year in this role.  And I know if I continue pushing myself with my creative projects -instead of restricting myself to the ones I already know I can do – I know I’ll continue growing in that aspect, too.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’ll be indulging in a lot of crafty time while Fiancé is at band practice.  Need to buy some flowers and plants since the one hard freeze we had this year killed all my succulents.  The house needs to be cleaned because it’s looking cluttered and I feel stressed when it’s cluttered.  I’ll need to do some yoga and maybe a run, because I haven’t run since the half-marathon and now I feel that pent-up crazy lady feeling when I haven’t been able to run in several days.  Maybe watch more of The People v. O.J. Simpson (not sure how I feel about it yet – and those fake Kardashian kids take me out of it every. single. time) and listening to a lot of this song, which is a current obsession.  See you Monday!