Absent

Don’t you hate it when a blogger logs in only to tell you how busy she’s been? Yeah, me too. Instead, here’s a silly thing I made, the perfect thing to quickly show you since there’s really not much to say about it. It was an impulse purchase from Jo-Ann. I made it up over a couple evenings and offered it to MJ who didn’t much care. Fair enough, kid, fair enough. I’ll claim it for my own, then.

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Blue Steel

Chuffy snuck (spellcheck, why do you not like “snuck?” Is this an example of me making up an irregular past tense of a verb or is it an example of me using an antiquated version of one? Leapt 4lyfe!) his Mr. Fox into daycare, one of the unanticipated temptations of having a pocket-sized buddy. Mr. Fox was well received and his friend asked me for a pocket-sized buddy of his own. I took his order, promised to work on it every day (which I did, only some days just a tiny bit), and after what felt like a long time to both the recipient, who had to wait, and myself, who had to do quite a lot of stitching, here it is:

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Kiriki Press Wolf Embroidery Kit

This was the first time I’ve used long and short stitch. A while back I looked up a satin stitch tutorial which, I’m paraphrasing here, included instructions to put your work down and not look at it again until the next day because all the imperfections you see while you’re stitching will not be obvious or even noticeable when you’re not staring at and over-analyzing the piece. Good advice! I knew I wouldn’t think my long and short stitch was up to snuff, but I set what perfectionist streak I have aside and told myself done was good enough and that while my long and short stitch would improve with practice it could not improve without.

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When I was all finished I unveiled it with a proud flourish to my son who said, “Where’s Noah’s tiger?”

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a hard one for me, and because it’s hard for me I’m sensitive to all the possible ways that it might be hard for others. Maybe you’re not a mother, but you want to be. Maybe you’ve lost a pregnancy. Maybe you’ve lost your child or your mother or your child’s mother. Maybe you’re estranged from your mother or your children. Maybe you’re child free by choice. Maybe you’re child free not by choice. Holidays have a way of pointing out to us where our lives and persons feel deficient. I don’t want to yuck anybody’s yum. I just try to get through the day with as little attention as possible, and if you do, too, know you’re not alone.

I had almost finished my 2nd Cozyblue Handmade stitch club package before I realized it would make an excellent Mother’s Day gift.

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My new-to-me stitch this time was the bullion knot. 
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The back. Not very neat, but I will not be ashamed!

I love my mom. I told her once that she’s hard to shop for, to her great indignation. She seems to have everything she needs and wants and no trifle can acknowledge all the lengths she’s gone through for me or the things I’ve put her through. I was overthinking it; it really is the thought that counts. It doesn’t have to be the right thing if it is given with love in good faith.

Like I Need More Hobbies

Confession: I joined the Cozy Blue Stitch Club.

I have no regrets. Christmas is going to take are of itself this year, she says optimistically overlooking bags and baskets of abandoned projects as if her crafting weren’t subject to unforeseeable vagary and whim and also ignoring the fact that while the stitching is done, this project is not.

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I decided I would learn and practice at least one new stitch with each club shipment: this is the first time I’ve used raised fishbone stitch.

I’m unsure how to finish this because the curve of the moon matches the curve of the embroidery hoop and the moon gets a little lost. I decided I’d try removing a hoop’s hardware and painting it red, but I haven’t remembered to buy supplies or look for hoop alternatives. Wait for it, I’ll be frantically blowing paint dry on a hoop on December 20th to get it in the mail in time for Christmas.

Embroidery is so satisfying and quick (I’m comparing, here, to the plodding pace of my first craft: interminable cross-stitch). It can be as fussy or simple as you like. I love that Liz can send out a design and every stitcher will come up with something different. I love that even as just a novice I can make something that is legitimately good, desirable, and worth having. I’m so pleased.

Y un forno che non va

The first time I studied abroad was to Rome where I stayed with a host family. I was self-conscious and shy and spent a lot of time that my host family thought I should be going out and dancing staying in and reading. I learned that no matter where you go in the world you go you take yourself with you and that my host family preferred Texans.

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Little Italy by Satsuma Street

I also got lost every day, discovered Belgium beer, skinny-dipped in the Adriatic, told everyone who would listen that I was going to marry my boyfriend of 9 months (I did), formed fast, intense friendships that flamed out as quickly as they began, met one friend who would be a soulmate, and declared to my parents on the drive home from the airport that they didn’t have to worry about me going back there for an academic year. Which I did.

Cross-stitch is slow. Contemplative. Events created a break in my life and my sense of self and I am surprised by how therapeutic it felt to make this and think about that long past time in my life, like maybe I might find a way to reconcile and synthesize the me before with the me after. Cross-stitch was my first and only craft obsession for a long time. I took my cross-stitch with me me to Italy. It was what I turned to to fill my evenings when I couldn’t knit or do much else. It’s surprising how much slowly pushing a needle through aida fabric can dredge up.

All Quiet on the Midwestern Front

So quiet around here. I’m working on projects, but they are slow-going and unfinished. I’m finally working on my final dress at a deliberate pace and when I get too tired for that I watch a program and work on Little Italy. I have no finished projects to show you. This week it’s all about the process. IMG_6587.jpgThese are two projects that demand time and so I’m giving it to them patient and unhurried, going with the flow like a lazy gondolier.

Milling About

Windmills have been a Thing for me since visiting Kinderdijk a couple years ago. So cool! Holland was a stop on our family’s Viking River Cruise (SO FUN – thank you ever and always to Auntie Em and Uncle Popcorn). Those tours are seriously fast-paced. Shopping is a trade-off to sightseeing and I would always rather see sights than shop so I came home with only a few souvenirs for the kiddo and nothing for myself except for an extra 5 pounds around my middle. Maybe I should have spent more time shopping than I did eating and drinking.

Nah.

This little project serves as a memento of that trip.

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I made it from a lovely Cozy Blue kit that my mom gave me for Christmas. I could make every design Cozy Blue puts out.

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I get a little thrill whenever I have a glue-gun sanctioned project. THIS is why I keep them around I triumphantly think to myself in an attempt to assuage the guilt of having so. much. STUFF that I hardly ever use. Especially when I have to dig it out from the back of the mess of other stuff I hardly ever use in the attic closet.

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We’ve got some backstitch, brick stitch, satin stitch, and split stitch in there. Weave stitch would have been awesome for the windmill blades, but I didn’t learn about it until after I’d already backstitched one and a half of them. I was tempted to tear out what I’d done, but those stitches are teeny and I worried I’d do damage to the piece.

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No matter, it’s done and I love it. I added it to my hodgepodge of keepsakes and mementos and lost no time picking out a new project to fill another hole on my wall of places that are meaningful to me: Satsuma Street’s Pretty Little Italy. I’ve been spending my evenings revisiting the plodding pace of cross-stitch, my first craft obsession.