Monday, May 4, 2015

April A to Z Challenge Reflections Post

As a forward, this piece was written before the events of this weekend. I can't proof-read over this because I just can't handle the happiness I felt when I wrote this, so forgive any glaring errors in writing, grammar, etc. Sticking a warning at the top of the piece is about all I can do right now.

Before we get in the thick of things, let's first get a bit of admin done, i.e. the finished pieces in their entirety (with grid lines removed).

Project #1: Once Upon A Time which took 94.2 hrs to complete:

Project #2: Veronica Mars which only took 21.88 hrs to complete:
Luckily, the Once chart turned out to be a "normal" frame size, so I will framing it myself. Not so luckily, VM is an odd size which means I will have to pay to get it framed which probably means it will be a LONG time before that's done. I still haven't gotten my Princess and the Pea stitch framed yet and I've had it finished since the end of last year. Framing is an expense I typically can't justify. I've never understood why it costs so much to get something framed anyway, it's not like the supplies cost a lot and I mount them myself, so they are not doing anything in particular with the actual stitch work. But that's an argument for another day.

Stitch-wise, I got lazy toward the end and skimped a bit, especially with the backstitching on Once (I often skip over one or two blocks instead of stitching every single block). I've been known to do that with backstitching before, so I don't feel too bad about it. I didn't expect work to be such a pain this month, so I tended to get behind (a lot) and needed a short cut or two. I also debated stitching "April A to Z Challenge 2015" at the bottom of both pieces, but poo-poo'ed that idea due to exhaustion. There were some nights I had to stay up until 3 or 4 am to finish but, in my world, failure is not an option, so I had no other choice. And ironing off the grid lines totally screwed up my French knots (which were crappy at best anyway). By framing time, I'll have to either redo them all or just replace them with beads (at least I have time to work that out).

On to the reflections! I must say a big huge thanks to the moderators this year. This was no pressuring to "pimp your blog" as there has been in previous years (a HUGE pet peeve of mine). I think not being pushed to pimp took quite a bit of pressure off of me (I do recognize it's a self-imposed pressure, but there is really nothing I can do to change my perceptions...I was born an Aspie and I'll die as one, so I readily accept the things I cannot change). I was also surprised at the number of moderators that did the rounds and visited my little neck of the woods. That hasn't happened before. Likewise, some of my favorite challenge posts were done by the moderators, so well done mods!

Speaking of favorite challenge posts, I did have quite a few favorites this year. Stitching and Disney were big and I loved it! But I must give major props to Fangirl Stitches, who not only created the two charts I stitched this year, but also did two of her own for the challenge! Congrats to my "Once Stitching Sister" Katy over at Just A Little Stitchin' for also completing the Once chart. Linda over at Stitching with My Furbabies did two projects as well and made it out the other side...good goin! Tama over at Stitching Daze likewise did a Fangirl Stitch...she went with the Whedon's Alphabet. Kate at Stitches, Scraps, and Sparkles in the Sun stitched like mad all month making progress on 26 separate projects (the thought of that many WIPs makes me shake!). Alyssa at Brownie's Chair did stitching with her stash and her wishlist...girl better have four lifetimes to finish all that! Then there was Fireflies & Cats in the Garden, and I can't forget Caitlin's Naughts and Cross Stitches general craft A to Z.

On the Disney front, Morgan at Writer's Block did a character retrospective which I loved. Connie at Bookwormia had a bit of a smorgasbord, but Disney popped up a time or two! And the wonder that is Jeremy over at Hollywood Nuts covered Disney movies and even one I'd never heard of before (did anyone think THAT was possible?).

Other notable favorites: Stephen Tremp did an amazing series about the supernatural and got me to leave the longest comment I think I ever have on a challenge post...dude has mad skills! Anabel's Travel Blog had a beautiful tour around Glasgow including some stunning photos, whereas my friend EvalinaMaria over at This and That did her heroes (and it's a variety, I tell ya!). I really liked The Adventures of Nagzilla's Nerdgasm because it covered a wide range of nerd-tastic subjects. Charity's Writing Journey covered movies of the 80's...brought back a TON of memories! And speaking of movies, Pensuasion had a face off between two movies per letter which also tickled my cerebrum a bit!

There were also quite a few educational posts which I adored: Senk Photography showed me quite a few tips about photography (my current obsession). Falling Toward Mythopoesis covered mythologies from various places and times. Family History Fun taught me how to delve into genealogy. Last, but definitely not least, Magical World helped me a bit on my crappy grammar skills (although obviously not a lot of it sunk in).

I hope I didn't forget anyone. I followed so many blogs this year (more than previous years), it was hard to keep up! There was another absolute favorite of mine, Zen and Pi, who covered my other current obsession, Astronomy, but life kind of kicked her in the butt a bit this month and she was unable to finish. I understood, but I hated to see her go.

I did learn a major lesson from this year's challenge...pushing to out-do last year is just stupid. There were times this month were I didn't enjoy myself at all and considering I spend all my home time stitching, that is saying something. I think that I will back off a bit next year and try another area (but I can assure you there will be some Disney in there, I can't focus in any other direction). Besides, this makes the completion of challenge #4 for me, so I proud enough of that. I will definitely need to take my "outside life" more into consideration next time, especially work, because I can't count on it to be as settled as my "real life" (what I call my home time where I don't have to pretend to be "normal"). The powers that be didn't grace me with financial independence (well, or even financial stability for that matter), so sitting at home all day and cross stitching will never be in my cards although I'll never give up the dream! Never leaving the house (except maybe to go to Disney every once and while) and not having any social interaction is an Asper's wet dream, right? Well, at least it is for me!

Congrats to everyone for finishing (or, for the ones who didn't finish, for trying) and here's hoping for an even better one next year!


Caitlin @ Naughts Cross Stitches said...

Your pieces look awesome! Thanks for the shout out. I will have to go through all the blogs you've just mentioned. I had a hard time keeping up with my reading.

Katy said...

Your finished pieces look wonderful, and thank you so much for the shout out! I know you're going through a rough time right now, but I am very grateful I got to know you and found your blog through this journey. You're in my thoughts! *hugs*

Tiffany Pincombe said...

Huge congratulations on finishing the 2 pieces again. I hope you enjoy next year's challenge more and thank you for the links to other great blogs. Thinking about what you're going through and I hope the pain is less acute.

Nagzilla said...

Yay! Awesome job, and thanks for the shout out!

Linda said...

Your finished pieces are gorgeous Keiley. Thanks for mentioning me in your post and for visiting my blog during the challenge.


Roslyn Core said...

Your finished pieces look amazing! I am so impressed that you managed to get them both finished in the month. I've fallen a bit behind in my blog reading (okay, very behind!) but will have to check out some of the blogs you mentioned.

Mary Burris said...

Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to next year! See you on the Road Trip!


Entrepreneurial Goddess said...

Hello there.
Congratulations on completing the challenge! I actually got to visit your blog during the crazy month of April. I'm popping over again today from the Road Trip/Reflections linky. Your stitchwork is very are incredibly creative!

Entrepreneurial Goddess