Busy doins', but not stitchin' much

When last we left off, I was stitching like a mad person, adding new projects left and right, and I think I might have stitched myself out for a while. I worked a bit more on Belle of Bonaventure, going from here:


To just a bit further here:


Before switching back to Merida, which I left off here:


And, although I was gung-ho because I think she has the potential to be the fastest finish (probably before the end of the year), I very quickly hit a dead end with stitching altogether and stopped here:


Some of it has been headache related, our weather has been tornadoes one day, freezing temps the next, but some of it has just been burnout. I think I pushed the whole "new starts before Leap Year" thing a bit too far.

But I haven't been just sitting on my rear (well, not only sitting on my rear), I've started spring cleaning for the first time in YEARS and I've also started cataloging my book collection, which turns out, is a lot more of a massive undertaking than I thought it would be. They say you don't really have a book collection unless you have a 1000 books, which I knew I had, but actually cataloging those books isn't as easy as you'd think it would be, even with a nifty app that just scans barcodes and pulls up the info for you. Especially when you're old like me and a lot of your books are older than ISBN numbers (I believe it stands for the International Standard of Book Numbers, but don't quote me on that) and you have nothing to scan. I've had a lot of books where the info is wrong, or I have to add the proper picture, or I've had to just manually enter it altogether. Then there is the issue of removing the books from the shelves, cleaning them, and reorganizing (which needed to be done anyway). I've even managed to find some missing movies, which, for some reason, I had forgotten I had put with their respective books years ago. They are now back happily in their movie locations, leaving more room in the bookshelves (except for special shelves that are movie and TV themed, like Twilight, Firefly, Once Upon A Time, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Outlander, a whole shelf of Harry Potter, etc.)

I've learned I have WAY more books on Scottish History, Art History, Cathedrals, ghosts, witches, vampires, Jane Austen fan-fiction type books, leatherbound classics, and young adult fiction and WAY less on English history, horror, romance, and Classical Literature than I thought I had. Might need to balance that out more (which means I'll probably end up buying more books, not offloading some). I'm in the mid 650's now and I've got the main four bookshelves in the living room done, but I still have a ton more books in the living room to do, at least another 150 or so. Then there is my bedroom (which maybe only live about 100) and the duck room (where all the Disney books are, but it's a MUCH harder get to area and probably at least another 300-400 books). I don't have as much as I thought, but I should hit 1000 easily enough.

But, all in all, every single bone in my body hurts, my wrists are killing me from the carpal tunnel, and I might take tonight off (although I'm scared to do that because I'm not known for finishing things if I don't push through). When all is said and done, if I do finish, it will be SO nice having a catalog of my books. It will at least keep me from buying duplicates in the future! And, if this all works out, I might get a couple other of their apps, like the movie one and the music one. The book app I bought (which was only $4.99) was Book Buddy, and so far, no issues. I can back it up to iCloud and share it between my iPad and my iPhone. Hopefully, after all this work, I don't loose the backup. That would suck.

It's also a trial run for cataloging my Disney collection, which I should have done YEARS ago, but have been putting off for obvious reasons. I bought software to do that years ago as well, but the software is now obsolete (and I never even used it). That was frustrating. It is now a subscription thing, which I literally hate how everything is going to a subscription service where you have to pay per month to use something. Who can afford $5/mo here and $10/mo there for this and that. By the time you add it all up, it's $100's per month for all kinds of things and it's ridiculous! I'd rather just buy software or programs when I need them and upgrade when I need to, not pay per month for something I might use once per year! It's why I don't ever work on my pictures, because I can't bring myself to pay for Lightroom or Photoshop! But I digress.

For the near future, my stitching is on hold, at least until I get these books cataloged and my house cleaned. I'ved scheduled the weekend of the eclipse off, but I'm not sure I'm even going to watch it. I live in the direct path of it, but everyone and their cousin is going to be in our town because of it, so I'd rather just stay in the house. That's four days of good cleaning if I can psych myself up for it. I might go out for a bit, I have the special eclipse glasses, just in case. We'll see. If I do stitch though, you'll be the first to know!

Start frenzy!

Last week my brain was in a migraine cyclone. I didn't feel like stitching at all, although I did get started on Evil Queen, but only worked on her for one night (last Monday to be specific), so I took her from nothing to here (and she's all background right now, so you wouldn't be able to see anything anyway). Oh, and where Captain Hook is all white background, Evil Queen is all black, so I didn't start there, I started where the color was...looks a bit like a dinosaur at a drinking fountain right now though:


There are several colors in there, but you can't tell by the crappy picture. This is a trend that apparently continues throughout the week, almost every picture sucks, but considering how bad my head hurt, I really shouldn't have been doing any of what you are about to see. I received my new grime guards for the two new biggie WIPs, so they definitely changed:

Untitled Untitled

By Wednesday, the 28th, I realized that I wasn't going to make my goal of starting all my new projects in the Leap Year, so I got a wild idea...I started a new WIP frenzy! On Wednesday, I started The Blue Marble Is So Fragile (although, technically I forgot to take the done pic on that night, so the EXIF data shows a different date, but I assure you I stitched it on Wednesday night, when you stitch through that kind of pain, you definitely remember it!):


The Supersized/Max Color Once Upon A Fairytale


And DoNa Stitch's Merida


On Thursday the 29th, I started the last two, Mini Wisdom (and this is the ONLY one with the correct needle minder on it for now other than HP Bookcovers, every other one still needs a proper needle minder...this one came from Kim's Creative Needle Minders:


And Belle of Bonaventure, which is the one I've stuck with since, so I'm now I'm at almost a page finish instead of just a hair beyond blank:


I can now say that all seven new WIPs were started in Leap Year, but after the whole incident settled and my headache finally died down, I realized they call it Leap "Year" for a reason and I literally could have started these at any point this year and been fine, I didn't need to start them in February per se. Dumb me. Oh well. It's done now.

I also replaced my clothes hamper of a storage bin for my projects with two new bins from Target (I did actually buy three, but turns out they fit in two).

Untitled Untitled

Sure, they are plastic, but at $9 a piece, I'm pretty proud of myself for not spending a forture, and with the spare, I have room to grow. Plus, now the scroll rods are no longer flopping around like crazy, so that's a bonus. I was so afraid they were going to break something, either on my Harry Potter shelf, or one of my framed stitches (well, one that is not already broken, like Mickey, Goofy & Donald, which I still haven't gotten reframed, it's just being held together with tape).

On the Etsy front, I obviously got the two grime guards (and SUPER fast), the needle minders replaced from Mad from Minders are out for delivery today (they were originally tried on Saturday, but I have EVERYTHING shipped to work, and we're closed on Saturday), and funnily enough, the claim process from Etsy for the other order was VERY easy and my refund with instantaneous, although it was full of warnings that they were basically now "watching me" and I couldn't have a lot of claims. Fair, but if it's not my fault, it's not my fault. I did NOT reorder from Caffeinated Cat Crafts (I'm not going to link to her store, but I'm sure you can find it if you're interested). I'm also not going to recommend her based on my experience, although someone else's experience might be different, she is a 5 star seller after all, I may be the exception to the rule (which wouldn't be the first time). I've also decided to NOT leave feedback. The items were lost in shipping (not her fault), I didn't like her response (matter of opinion, not fact), so it does no good to either of us for me to leave negative feedback. My opinion is just that. I will just leave it at "I will never buy from again" on this blog and that is that.

Mad For Minders actually does custom needle minders! I'm having trouble deciding what designs to do (plus, I do need to wait until another payday first), but I am looking for designs for the above projects that need them, specifically, Evil Queen (who's minder will go to Once Upon A Fairytale, unless I find something better for that), Blue Marble, and Merida. The shipment due in today has Belle of Bonaventure's in it.

With our weather changing so much on a daily basis, it's just headache season as well as the beginning of tornado season. I have the feeling my stitching will be sparse in the next couple of months. We'll see. I have also decided I will have three new starts on my birthday in September, but I think I can have at least two finishes by then (big talk, right?). We'll see. The way Belle of Bonaventure is going, I might be able to finish her before I can Alice and the B's! It's amazing how fast it's moving! And, ironically, there is absolutely no black in the project whatsoever! Just as a reminder:

belle of bonaventure

Since I've managed almost a page finish in three days (I slept through Saturday again, or I would have definitely had a page finish), she is definitely going to move fast and she's not too large, a little over 14x10 finished size and no dithering, so lots of block color.

Oh, and I got my WIP Page updated with all the new projects and their Flickr page links, so everything is up to date! I'm still bad at keeping Instagram updated, but I'll try harder to keep that updated as well. There is a part of me that thinks I should just switch to Instagram instead of Blogger, but I'm just too verbose for that. If I didn't have such a cluttered, junky house, I would do my own FlossTube. One of these days when I get a "real house"....

Moving along slowly and Etsy seller issues

I haven't been in a stitching mood lately. In the past week, I've only stitched two days on Harry Potter Bookshelf. I slept through most of Saturday, and when I did finally get up, I ended up putting together a 3-D puzzle. Anyone guess what it is?


I did stitch almost a full day on Sunday, but I did have a lot of distractions. I left off on HP here last time:


I fully finished page 1 along with most of page 2 (and technically book 2 cover). Per Markup XP, it's 5.5% of work total, 6723 stitches out of 121,975 and I've got 29.9 hrs total involved in this project (and I don't use Markup XP for time, I use an app called Hours Tracker and have for YEARS), so not a lot for two weeks. Here is where I'm leaving off:


Before I quit entirely Sunday night, I got Evil Queen is all ready to go as my next start:


If you remember, I mentioned back at the end of January that I bought a bunch of new needle minders. One bunch from Mad For Minders, which I have bought from numerous times before, and another bunch from another creator that I've never bought from before. Both were bought on the same day, both were shipped out the same day, but each were shipped from opposite sides of the country. As of now, neither have arrived. The tracking information from Mad For Minders show it never left Cali with an estimated delivery date of Feb 7th (today is the 26th). The tracking information for the new seller said it made it all the way from NY to Memphis (which the last stop to here, and an hour away), but it's been sitting there since Feburary 6th, the estimated delivery date, and it now just says "delayed, estimated delivery date Feb 6th", same as the original.

This weekend, I reached out to both sellers and got two VERY different responses. I reached out to the new seller first (we'll call her seller #1 for now), and since I used Etsy to do it, I had to either choose "refund" or "replace". I chose "replace" because I still wanted the minders, but I added a comment with the caveat that I wasn't requesting official replacement, I just wondered if she could see something on her end that I couldn't see that maybe could explain why I hadn't received the items because I did actually still want them and was worried because I hadn't received them. Sometimes, I've had sellers not actually ship things to me even though there is tracking information. Or, at the very least, she could check the shipping information on her end since the seller has more "rights" than the receiver. It's not the postal service of old and they make a lot of mistakes these days. This seller told me, short and pointed, that I needed to file a claim with Etsy and I could just reorder the items and she would expedite the shipping on the new ones. This may be the response a store is supposed to give, but it's not a response I've ever gotten before. It struck me as odd, but not strange until she started sending me messages about reordering the items, along with discounts on shipping and coupons, one after the other. So I just answered back with a "well, I've never had to file a claim before, so", kind of answer, because I really didn't know what to say about the pressure of reordering (and I definitely felt pressured). Then, when I tried to file the stupid claim, Etsy told me I had to wait 48 hours from when I started messaging her, so more delays, and it just made me madder. I messaged her back about the delay, but she just responded she could do nothing about that. We're leaving it at dead air for now. At that point, I didn't mention reorder and neither did she. I think, had she asked again, I would have lost it.

She wasn't rude per se, but there was definitely no "sorry" in any part of her messages. Maybe she was pushing for a reorder because I had initially stated that I still wanted the items, although I did make it clear I wasn't requesting a replacement, but if I have to file the claim myself, I don't have a fountain of money in my living room, it has to come from somewhere, so I would need the refund first before reorder, right? It just made me uber paranoid (like I need any help), all the pressure to reorder the items before I even got approved for a refund. I read on Etsy's website that the seller isn't punished if a claim is made, so does that mean she would get double money if I ordered them again? If they genuinely got lost in shipping, then she should get paid for her work, and if Etsy is willing to eat that than the US Postal Service, then that is between them. But, because of the pressure, I'm questioning if they were genuinely initally shipped at all. I ordered like 6 or 7 and they were only $30, which is REALLY cheap, maybe she couldn't take the hit? If I reordered them now, they would cost more, even with the discounts she sent. And, I probably wouldn't order them all again, so I wouldn't meet the minimum for free shipping (although that also might have been a coupon she sent), so I may have to take another punch on that as well. All of that hypothethical stuff doesn't matter, I'm NOT reordering them, but still, my mind is spinning with thoughts, none of them good.

When I reached out to Mad For Minders, the second seller, I made sure I messaged her privately first since we've been in contact before and she has always been amazing in the past. She immediately processed a new order for reshipment without any issue or even mentioning an Etsy claim. I did explain what the other seller did and asked if I needed to do that for her, but Mad for Minders said, "no problem, I'm SO sorry about all of that, new order already processed on my end!". I've had a few Etsy orders go missing over the years, and this response has ALWAYS been the typical response I'm used to from all my sellers. Never, have I ever been required to file a claim. This seller has gone above and beyond to solve the problem. If, by some miracle I do receive the original order, I'll just pay her again (and, in all of history, that has only ever happened to me once, months after the resend, and I did just that).

Then there is the whole rating thing. I can't give seller #1 a good rating because I never received the items. I'm not really happy with her response either, because she didn't respond to the problem, she just sent me a link to deal with the problem myself and then started pitching for more business (that might be a bit harsh, but I'm not a happy camper right now). Even if she was only following protocol, I'm the one doing all the legwork to get my money back (that I'm not guaranteed to get) and she expects me to just repurchase from her again with no guarantee it will arrive a second time, she's got another thing coming. If they do magically appear in the mail this week, I wouldn't recommend her to anyone else, nor would I purchase from her again, so that's another ding in the rating. At minimum, 1 star, and that's not very helpful for her business. Better to not leave one at all.

I HATE giving negative ratings. A lot of the time, I just don't rate them to keep from it, which isn't good for other people who might buy from that seller in the future, but I hate dealing with the confrontation (maybe it's from the old eBay days when the sellers could rate you back and, if you gave a negative rating, you could guarantee you would get one back, deserved or not, usually not). Even now, you'll notice I haven't used seller #1's store name in this post. I'm still holding out hope the package will eventually arrive (I haven't filed the claim even though the 48 hours is up) and I can just forget she exists. Part of me is even debating letting it go and take the financial hit (these were the minders for Evil Queen, Blue Marble, OUAT Bookshelf and several upcoming future projects, but it was only about $30, like I said, not terrible, but still, money).

Seller #2, Mad For Minders, on the other hand, I have mentioned several times in this blog and would recommend highly. She has always gotten 5 stars and will get 5 stars this time as well, even with the issue, because she handled it well and I will most certainly buy from her again.

On the Etsy plus side though this week, I did decide to get grime guards for both OUAT Bookshelf and Blue Marble since they are in their own q-snaps and not sharing like I initially planned (and I ended up also getting extenders, so now both are 11x20, which feels more like scroll rods and left less hanging fabric). I tried those magnet hoop things to hold the fabric, but I don't like them and I need something to hold the fabric in better and protect it more. I have one grime guard, but it's 11x17 and doesn't fit. The issue I had was that no one carried grime guards for 11x20 q-snaps. So, I reached out to a seller that I've again never dealt with before on Friday night (I try not to buy from new sellers, because of problems like the above, but I have only ever bought the one grime guard in my life, so I had to make an exception), Susebiees, and, since she had a question box for custom orders, I took a chance and point-blank asked her if she could make an 11x20 grime guard. She was very nice and instantly agreed to give it a shot. She didn't have the fabric choices I picked out, but she was savy enough to notice that they were both in the purple family and immediately gave me three other purple choices, two of which were easily just as pleasing (I really liked that she noticed that). She walked me through every step, she put her q-snap together with extenders to figure out sizing, made them over the weekend and poof, instant grime guards with a MORE than fair price! She even shipped them out first this morning!

Now, I actually haven't received these yet obviously (so I may be getting excited too soon), and I explained to her why I'm a bit leery of Etsy right now, but she assured me she has never had issues with shipping, although she did just have a project bag take 3 weeks to get to its destination (hence my williness to give more time before I file the Etsy claim on the first group of needle minders). Time will tell when or if I get these, but she is a really great seller if anyone is looking for grime guards. Like I said, she also makes project bags, but I have no need of those. As a matter of fact, those cheap ones I bought on Amazon have no use now, unless I end up using them for something else in the house. They are just cluttering up my kitchen table now.

Am I being too harsh about the first needle minder seller? Should I just file the claim and be done with it or should I give it more time? Etsy says I have until May to file it. I'm probably not going to order replacements from one of my usual sellers unless I find something special to go with those projects...I'll just use something I already have. And I'm definitely not leaving any feedback of any kind until I calm down a bit (if I ever do for seller 1). Whatever I decide in the end, I will eventually give you her store name and tell you the outcome so you can decide whether or not she's worth buying from. My experience may not be yours, but it won't be a recommendation from me. Mad For Minders is the exception, not the rule, I'm aware, but it's kind of the rule I'm used to from my sellers and it's why I use the sellers I do and why they are the only sellers I would recommend to you guys. Because Susebiees was already so amazing, even though I haven't gotten the grime guards yet, I already feel comfortable recommending her.

There are several "rules" with ordering from Etsy I try to follow:

*Don't order from new sellers (per the reasons from seller #1, but there are rare exceptions, as in Susebiees)

*I personally can't order anything from Canada or Australia because I'll never get it. They ALWAYS get stuck in customs and never get released for me. Not sure why. This rule also applies for eBay.

*Never order t-shirts outside of the USA because of sizing issues.

*Always pay with PayPal or ApplePay or any third party payer. Never pay directly and never agree to pay outside of Etsy (this rule came about because of eBay).

All in all though, I think I'm burned out on Etsy for a while, which is a REALLY good thing!

It has begun!

Last week I tried to continue on with Night Wish and I started strong on Monday with progress, but then I didn't stitch for the rest of the week. Let's get the progress out of the way, and then I'll explain. I left off here last time:


Even though it doesn't look like much, it was all the Petit Treasure Braid on this one side, as well as the rest of the final touches around her face. It was definitely a lot of work for one night, even if it doesn't look it:


I don't really even have a good excuse. Although I finished watching Castle and it was OK (I can at least say I've seen it), I was not oblivious to the number of Firefly references throughout that show, it became like my Hidden Mickey game in Once Upon A Time. But it also meant that it put in me in a Firefly mood, and Firefly, well, let's just say that Firefly is one of my obsession shows that takes over for quite some time and it's a hard pit to dig myself out of once I'm in it. Like any other of these obsession fits of mine, I will just have to let it run its course, but it may be a long one, so I've just accepted it and am dealing the best I can. Hey, it could be worse, it could be Twilight, right? I might not want to give myself any ideas, so I'm going to change the subject now.

By Friday, I was able to scroll rod up the fabric for the new projects (at least some of them, still waiting on some supplies to come in), and by Saturday morning, I started my first project! I went for the US version of the Harry Potter Bookcovers (in case you don't remember, it looks like this:


So I started with a blank slate (and more on the fabric and the gridding on the gridded fabric in a minute):


I had a little trouble focusing on Saturday, because I had to catch up on some of my YouTube stuff, I'm more than a bit behind on all the channels I watch (and I was still going back and forth between that and Firefly, god help me when I start watching reactors reacting to Firefly), so I only stitched about 6 hours (not great for a weekend):


but I got in a good solid 8 hours of stitching on Sunday, so I almost finished the first page (but that's not saying much and I'll explain more on that, again, in a minute):


First up, the magic guide fabric. You will notice that I did add grid lines myself. Until I get used to the magic guide, I thought it was for the best. Up close, the magic guide covers a row of stitches and, as long as you plan it out, you can work out in your brain where to start and where your block is, but until my brain figures that out on it's own, I needed a bit of help.

Magic guide

It's way easier than griding yourself beccause there was no counting involved and now I feel a bit spoiled (I spent several hours Friday night griding up the first row of both Evil Queen and Merida because they were on non-grided fabric, so I had to count it out and count it twice, the joys of OCD). If the fabric itself works out nice, I can see myself using this for all future projects! I decided to go with top and far left for my grids on this, and it's working out well. I initially only gridded the first page of HP, but I went ahead and moved into the second because it's pretty easy and I'm not ready to do it myself yet.


The other snag is the pattern itself. I don't know about most people, but I tend to stitch like I read, left to right, top to bottom. There are some notable exceptions, but as a general rule, that works best for me. This pattern, the top row of pages is technically the last row of pages. Here is the page chart map:


So even though it looks like I'm breezing through the first row, it's not even a full row because it's the partial bottom row. It's SUPER weird. And, of all my new WIPs, it's not the only one to be arranged in a non-standardized (left to right, top to bottom) pattern arrangement. There are more than a couple, each with a different arrangement. I don't get the logic in it, and I'm not a fan, but oh well, it is what it is.

I wanted to start all these new WIPs in the month of February for Leap Year, but I don't think that's going to be possible since it's already almost the end of the month, unless I start switching them daily. I'm really enjoying Harry Potter, and I want to keep working on it for now. To be honest, I thought this one was going to be WAY more difficult than it is. When I first saw this, it was somewhere on a Reddit post (I don't have a Reddit account, but it was just something I came across while looking for HP patterns) and I remember the poster saying it was the hardest pattern she had ever done and had taken her years, even though she was an experienced stitcher. I'm pretty sure I got the same version as her, the super-sized version, and I used her post to find the pattern in the first place from Fox and Teacup Designs. I know I'm using a smaller fabric ct (I'm using 28ct and I think she was using like 12 or 14ct), but that's the only difference I know of, and that usually doesn't make something more difficult if it's what you're used to (12 or 14 would make it more difficult for me, but for someone else, 28ct might be harder). If I focused steadily on this, I think I could finish it in a couple of months (but obviously I'm not going to do that) and the chart is VERY easy to follow. I'm a bit confused now on what the difficulty was. I'm starting to wonder if I got the wrong pattern or something. Oh well, again, I'm not going to complain about it. It was an older Reddit post and since I don't have an account, I could only follow the string so far down before it blocked me anyway.

The other issue, one you can't see, is that in the actual pattern I printed off, J.K. Rowling's name is at the bottom of the books and looks like this (not the image you see above):


I got two patterns when I bought it and I didn't understand that one of them had her name at the bottom and one didn't (although the "unnamed" version should have been my first clue...I just figured it out when typing up this post, I can be pretty thick sometimes). I just printed one at random (which happened to be the one with her name). I've been trying to figure out how to stitch her name out this entire time and whether or not I should. Now, considering it's just one row of pages, it's an easy fix because I just need to print off that row instead of a whole new pattern. Easy fix or not, it's still a question of "should I?" because, despite the obvious reasons of her personal views (which I do NOT agree with), she is still the author of the books and these are her bookcovers, US versions or not and I like true representations of things. Like a lot of HP fans, I've chosen to give up on her and not the franchise, but I think this is kind of a special case. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with her name at the bottom of my project to be honest, true representation or not. So I'm at a weird cross roads. At least I have a choice now, so I think I might print the extra row and make the decision when I get there. Maybe things could change by then.

Next week will see if I've moved on to another or if I'm still in Harry Potter world (although technically, I do have two new HP projects in my new WIPs, so we'll see), so have a good week everyone and aim to misbehave!

Best laid plans...

I barely stitched this week. Partly, because I wasn't in the mood, and partly because I was working on building my new scroll rods, a process I did NOT enjoy. I didn't plan the process out very well. I got the right amount of dowels (which was more of a case of not knowing which circumference to get, so I got a lot to try), but I didn't get enough of the side 1x2 boards (I only bought two), which ended up making five sets (not nearly enough for the number of dowel sets I had, but I also kept changing their length, hence the abnormal number), and the hanger bolts recommended in the video seemed really big to me, especially compared to the bolts in the scroll rods I usually buy that are built similarly (those are way smaller in diameter), but I don't know enough about measurements to figure out how to get a smaller size. She mentioned in the video that sometimes they split. I can see why (and I almost split one). I also didn't even come close to getting enough hanger bolts because I didn't account that I'd need two packs (there were two per pack) for each scroll rod frame (two for each dowel, two dowels per scroll rod frame). That meant that I also didn't have enough twisty knobs for the was an overall mess.

By Saturday, I had already built another Lowe's cart that was reaching up to the $100 mark for more supplies to finish the other rods. But then, I decided I needed to do a test first before I spent anymore money, so I took the scroll frame I made for Bookshelf, since it was the biggest, (only one of three that I had actually finished), put the fabric on it, and got the shock of my wouldn't stay stable! The knobs wouldn't tighten, they just kept spinning (which washers might fix, but that meant yet another purchase that may, or may not, work), the fabric was super loose, and it was a wobbly mess! To say my frustration level was on high, is an understatement. I still don't know how the lady in the video made hers work, but here's mine. I took a picture of it on Sunday night after I calmed down a bit (and it's only part of it, the whole thing is 4' tall and I didn't feel like framing a photo properly by this point):


Sleepy Hollow Mural is also long, but its frame is store bought has a stablizer bar at the top which keeps it from being wobbly (which it is without that stablizer bar, a fact I had actually forgotten). I do typically prefer the bought scroll rods that are built with bolts in the ends with knobs to tighten them to the side bars. I don't like the split rail things, although I do have some of those too. The bolted kind are a bit more expensive, but not like those Millennium frames or Omanik or any of those other fancy things that cost more than my entire stand (which is the most expensive cross stitch thing I have ever bought). Here it is, the extra bar screwed at the top (and a split rail behind it):


So I added more things to the Lowe's cart to built a stablizer bar for the longer projects, more hanger bolts, washers, more knobs and nuts, more 1x2's for more side bars, and then I realized that I basically almost had the same amount it would cost me for "real" scroll rods for all but the big two projects and I could just use my much dreaded Q-snaps for the two biggies. It's not ideal, but why spend more money to build more stuff (which I hated the entire process of) and there was still a chance it didn't work and I would end up buying the scroll rods anyway. It was the lesser of two evils and I had really had enough by that point. Like I've said, a woodworker I am NOT. So, off to Amazon I went, and bought everything I needed. Yes, I did spend more, but it was well worth it for the lack of trouble.

It's not better than those super-expensive frames that are strong enough to be 48" long and hold everything taunt, but it will do. Now, here comes another rant...when it comes to cross stitch accoutrements, needle minders are a big yes (I kind of think of them like Disney pins, collectible, but usually not that expensive, so it's something I can justify, especially since I can make them myself), but all the other stuff...expensive stands, francy frames, scissor fobs, and especially fancy project bags, nothing but decorator swag and all I can do without. If someone can sew and make their own project bags, then cool, but I can't sew. I'm a bobbin person, so I keep each project in their own bobbin box. I use paper patterns (along with apps), so bobbin boxes and paper also aren't that conducive to project bags. I also don't stitch on the go, or have a craft room to store everything in. I keep all my WIPs on a bookshelf behind my chair (a piece of which you can see above). The scroll-rodded projects in a clothes hamper on top, the bobbin boxes with the row of sheets I'm working on stack neatly on the next shelf, the shelf below that is the three-ringed bingers that hold each printed project in their entirety lined up (or, for the smaller ones, the zip plastic envelopes), and the bottom shelf is old lapstands (probably, soon to be the new WIPs). It's all tight and confined, but definitely no room for another container for project bags.

And just to add to that, same with those new chip system thread keepers, both the hanger kinds and the bobbin kinds...a whole set of those is about $250...I mean, seriously? I can buy 500 bobbins and five thread box for under $20 (and Michael's thread boxes come with 100 bobbins in each box, so that's 1000 bobbins). Then, you have to buy these foam inserts for those chip things to go into either an Ikea or another storage system (both of which ain't cheap either)...I live in a trailer. I ain't that rich and I don't have the room. I think, even if I won the lottery, I wouldn't own those things. It's a waste of space having the bobbins spread out like that like rings in a ring box. But to each his own, I guess and if you have the money, I guess you can spend it on whatever you want.

I also think my issue with project bags is tied to my OCD...I like bobbin boxes because I have the entire project's thread in one area, all together, neat and clean. The thought of throwing a few bobbins in a bag separate from the set drives me insane. I wouldn't be able to do it. Plus, I just don't work that way. I won't know which direction I'm working in until I get there, and if I don't have the next color, I would go into panic mode. It's why I carry a 400lb purse around. I carry it all because you never know when you need it all. Irrational? Maybe. But it's how I'm built.

Now, having said all that, I did buy those cheap Amazon project bags so I have something to keep the larger Q-snap projects in. Hopefully, I don't end up with the issues I had with Sleepy Hollow because I left it in the Q-snaps all the time. I'm only going to be using them for Blue Marble and Bookshelf and neither one of their bobbin boxes is going to fit in the project bag since they are supersize bobbin boxes, but it is what it is. It's really just to keep the fabric safe. I also expect that the process of putting the projects in and out of the snaps is going to make me dread working on them. We'll see. I only have one grime guard (it's the purple thing hanging off my hamper above and yet another one of those luxury stitching items I don't see having dozens of), and I don't intend on buying another one, so it will have to be shared between the two.

Enough ranting, let me show you what little stitching I've done...oh yeah, but first, here is the coverage of 28ct Lugana that I meant to show you's good coverage, but you can still see material underneath. Thanks again to Leonore and Sleepy Hollow for making me feel better about not switching Bookshelf to 25ct. Plus, after putting the 28ct Lugana magic count on the scroll rods to test it, it's awfully thin, so now I'm worried about it because this Lugana is way thicker. But here's Sleepy Hollow's coverage:


Here is where I left off last time:


And I may regret it, but I stopped taking pictures all the way across, just to where I am, so that way the picture isn't so long and maybe you could see it a bit better, but it's still only two days of stitching since last time, so not much progress:


In the middle of Sunday, I also decided I was ready to move on from Sleepy Hollow, since I couldn't start one of the new ones (which was the plan and why I started building the new frames...I'm getting heated just writing this), so I went back to Night Wish since I barely got to work on her last time because of lapstand issues. I left off on her here back in November:


And again, since this was barely a third of a day stitching, not much progress, plus, as irony would have it, I ended up back in the Petit Treasure Braid! I mean, seriously?


For some reason, everything I ordered from Amazon is not going to be here until next week some time, so I'll be lucky to get every new project started by the end of the month. I can probably start on Bookshelf and Blue Marble, since I have the Q-Snap now, but as it stands, the very thought of Q-Snaps makes me cringe. I would rather wait and start the others first. HUGE props to everyone who uses Q-Snaps and loves them!

I can say though, one good thing did come out of this whole disaster...the side bars I made for my scroll frames can be used with the dowels from my bought ones. For some reason, I have a TON of the dowels, but not enough sides. Now, that issue is fixed. And wingnuts (which I also bought some of because I didn't know which I would want, the knobs or nuts), will work just fine with the store bought dowels. I'm not sure about the knobs yet, but I kept them just in case. I haven't thrown anything else out yet (because I'm a pack-rat), but I probably should. I doubt I will have use for those dowel rods anymore, especially the ones with hanger bolts hanging out the ends.

Not much luck on the stitching front

Turning Hook upside down actually worked pretty well...eventually. I learned (almost the hard way) that the direction in which you stitch is the same upside down. I made it across an entire row before I started to panic and question whether I needed to frog it all. My bottom stitches go ///// and my tops go \\\\\ (and I'm not too picky about which I go in first, top holes or bottom holes), but turns out, even upside down, they end up in the same direction! But what I did discover about three rows in was that I was one column short, and it was causing complications since I was working left to right (like I always do), but it's technically right to left upside down, so I was going from the far right edge to the area I had already worked, and I was meeting an area I was already up to and coming up short. It took me the three rows to figure it out. If I would have continued right side up, I'm not sure I would have figured it out if that final column stayed white all the way down. It was all pretty tedious work and I had trouble stitching last week because of a headache anyway, so I only went from here:


to here (with the extra column added) and I marked the page breaks to make it easier for me to figure out where to stop:


I can continue the white upside down, but I can't stitch the entire thing that way, it's too hard for me to figure out symbols, which was what I was afraid of. My brain doesn't work that way. And I had decided I'd better switch projects again because I was losing interest, so the only real project left in my WIPs (at least now) is HAED's Sleepy Hollow Mural by Lewis T. Johnson. I believe it's a retired pattern (which I guess means I have two retired HAED's in my WIPs). In case you don't remember it:

Sleepy Hollow Mural

It was the first project I ever tried on Q-Snaps since it was so long, but I had a horrible time with them, so I put them on the longest scroll rods I had (the fabric is still folded at both ends because the rods aren't long enough...if I have enough dowels left, I may make a new set for this one too). I left off here back in May of 2020:


And again, it was a headache week, so I only managed two measly stitch days on it, although I did spend one night alone just reattaching it to the scroll rods because it was another one that had come loose (plus, I tried to straighten it up a bit, it is stretched crooked because of the Q-Snaps, so it's taped to the rods in a really weird way). It' also Lugana, so that may have been why the fabric couldn't hold up well against the Q-Snaps. I also replaced my Mad For Minders Sleepy Stitch needle minder for one I made myself from a magnet I got from Plymouth, Mass:


Two things about this one have been an eye-opener. I know it's Lugana and even though it's 28ct, I can see the fabric through the thread, so it squashes the idea of 25ct for good. I thought I had already killed the idea thanks to you guys (especially Leonore, thanks girl!), but it must have still had a breath or two left because I was finally able to nail the coffin lid closed. 25ct Lugana is NOT for me, it's official. If I can see the fabric on this, then 25ct would be even worse!

Secondly, it's not nearly as long as my new Bookshelf will be, but it is really horizontal, and I can already see that long horizontal projects are going to be a problem in this new K's Creation Stand. It won't hold it well. I already have a concrete block holding down the base, but I had to add one of the buckets of water that I got when our water was off on top of the block because it was still tipping over (all three water buckets were still sitting in my foyer). Even tightened, the entire arm still gives way under the weight of it when I turn it away, so it probably means I won't be able to keep the project in the stand when I'm not stitching on it. That's a pity. I'm a bit scared the weld is going to give if I keep it on it long-term. Once I get some bills paid down, I may just have to spring for a Lowery stand or maybe even an Omanik (just the thought makes me cringe!). Stitching is definitely a rich person's game!

Speaking of which, I had every intention of building my new scroll frames this weekend. I didn't. I watched TV and worked on my family tree. I definitely am a cyclic person when it comes to hobbies I think, but the frustration with the stand was keeping me away from it this weekend. Oh, and in case you're wondering how I'm going to build these scroll frames, this is the video I'm getting my inspiration from:

I think I'm worried about the supplies. I bought what she recommended, but I think the hanger bolts are too big for the dowels, which means, if I replace them with a smaller size (and I'm not savy enough to know which way to go in bolt size to go smaller), then I also have to replace the knobs, so more purchases and more waiting for orders to come in. And, I'm not sure why I'm so scared of dealing with the drill. Granted, I don't have a fancy battery drill, it's an old plug-in kind, but it's not like I haven't built a ton of furniture in my day. I'm not a delicate flower, but it has been YEARS since I've even touched that drill...part of me is scared I'll put it out and it won't work and I'll have to buy one of those too! I'm more of a screwdriver kind of girl, but this project definitely calls for a drill. I think I've worked it up in my head to be more than it is, but I'm still watching long scroll frames on Amazon and part of me wonders if I wouldn't rather spend the money to buy one rather than deal with the stress of building versus stress or the stress that spending the money will cause? It's a never-ending cycle.

Back to a bit of stitching

I've had a bit of trouble focusing on stitching lately. I think it's because I have these new upcoming projects in my brain and I can't get them out. I went back to Faces of Faery 167 by Jasmine Becket-Griffith and, although the 32ct has been going good, I think it might be the color scheme. Her face is a can I put it nicely...ex-presidential? I'm not a fan. As with any HAED, you don't know what you're going to get until it's finished, but geez, is she orange-tinted! I left off here on her last time:


And, just a reminder, this is what she is supposed to look like, no orange to her on the original pic:


Since we aren't a fan of the orange-tinted bafoon in MY household, she's gotten a bit hard to stare at. And she just has these big eyelashes, which look more like black eyes right now, giving off a demon-vibe, so I decided to stop on her before I finished the row (and I was getting so close). This pic is a bit off, she is more orange than is showing up here. And, it's a little blown out of proportion, the whole project is only 11x11, so from a normal distance, she is super tiny.


Once I can move down to the second row, I'm sure she will clear up a bit, but for now, I'm just not in the mood for reminders of things I don't want to think about (I get enough politics in the daily news). But there is one project that has been calling to me, although I'm not sure why. Tilton Craft's Captain Hook by Daniel Kordek. Since it's been so long, he's supposed to look like this:


I have the entire set (there are four, Hook, Jefferson, Graham, and August, although, considering the names of the others, I'm not sure why this one isn't named Killian or, if you're going to call this one Captain Hook, call the others Mad Hatter, Huntsman, and Pinocchio). But alas, there are three more, so ultimately, I have to go through this process three more times. I LOVE these designs (although don't get me started on why there isn't a David/Prince Charming, I'd trade them all for one Charming!), but maybe they would have been better as prints rather than cross stitches. I'm still at the point though that I could start over though because of its issues (more on that in a sec), so I think that's why I'm so wishy-washy on it. If I have to do it three more times, I better pick the right process. I last stitched on this in May of 2020.


I did have to re-attach this one to the scroll rods because the tape on the E-Z Stitch velcro had melted on this one too like Maleficent. I just used the tape I used on projects in the 80's. It worked better than anything I've ever tried, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it (well, I fixed it, but you know what I mean). Besides, I cut the ends of the fabric off when I'm finished anyway (and it's folded behind when it's mounted, so it doesn't matter what holds it to the scroll rods, as long as it's held.

I'm not sure what was drawing me back to this one, other than to look at Killian's face (eventually). Why I thought I could stitch all that white background is beyond me. I probably should have stitched it on white fabric and skipped the background altogether. Last night, I almost gave up again as I sat there in my 4-6 hour stitch window and only stitched a little more than an hour. I piddled with supper, I played with the puppies. I measured fabric for the new projects. I looked at the scroll rods I had for the new projects to see how many I needed to make (basically, one for each really, so seven...I have plenty of dowels in my current stash, but not any extra side bars for some reason). I scoured Etsy for needle minders and pre-made scroll rods. I played games on my iPad. I checked Amazon for scroll rods too. I debated buying the side bars for the dowel rods I had that would fit the littler projects (in the end, I bought nothing from nowhere, proud of me for that). I've been watching Castle, a show I've never watched before, but I'm still not diggin' (and I'm in the middle of season 3, so it's safe to say I'm not gonna get into it, at least I can say I've seen it?). Last night, I actually paid attention (still ain't diggin' it). I did my Duolingo lesson. Basically, I probably would have stared at the wall to have kept from stitching this background. As you can see...suckage progress. I think about 350 stitches, maybe.


And I do love my swan needle minder. If you know, you know (and, ironically, it will work for the other three projects as well, although I probably won't use it for the others...well, maybe Graham?). I think I bought it from Kim's Needle Minders...yep, just checked. I've only bought needle minders from a couple of stores, so it's not too hard to forget (or I just check my Etsy history). I'll try to remember to link my needle minders when I think about it. The rose on Faces came from Gina's Unique Boutique, and I've bought a lot from her since. I'm not a big fan of the new way they kind of just print stuff on plastic or wood now, but oh well. Now that I can make my own, I'm not too worried about it. I did just buy a few more last week, but it's only because I feel like every needle minder needs to "match" each project. I'm annoying that way.

Hook is on a cheap scroll frame, another big issue, probably from Hobby Lobby. The side bars are WAY too long and I can barely get my hands up to the top where I need to stitch. It needs much shorter side bars. And, as per usual with the cheap ones, I can't really tighten the nuts good enough, so the fabric keeps going slack. But I've got nothing else to put it on without buying something else (and I can't do that right now and I could never afford those Millennium frames or even their cheaper counterparts, those are way out of my league). I guess I could get new screws for the nuts with actual heads like phillips or flat than can be tightened with a screwdriver, instead of those flat bolts that just spin when the nut gets to a certain point. That wouldn't be too expensive. Ugh. I just want to stitch, I don't want to do woodworking! But if I want scroll frames that hold, I guess I have to make my own, hence...woodworking. I've actually got half a mind to put this in a Q-Snap and I HATE those things! Or, maybe I could try to turn it upside down and stitch it that way, but I'm not sure my brain could reconcile stitching upside down or backwards. I could always try. At least where I'm stitching (right now, the upper right-hand corner), would be closer to me in the lower left. Yeah, that's the plan to try for tonight, wonder how long that will last?

If I could restart it and decided to continue to stitch the background, I might try to do it on a gray fabric instead of oatmeal. A lot of these colors are beige-y tan-y grays and they are hard to stitch on the oatmeal. And I might go to Lugana instead of Monaco, simply for all the reasons I praised Monaco for in my last post, the holes are too tight. With all this white thread, Lugana would be easier. And I'm also not sure 25ct wouldn't be a better choice with Anchor black. But then again, I might just be making excuses. It's a pretty picture, but will it be worth the hassle of the stitch? The further I go, the more I'm wasting my time if I'm going to end up "Suteki miserable" (my new catch phrase), although I'm not there yet, but I need to decide soon. In all fairness, the top part is going to be the most white-heavy, so if I can get past that, it should get easier.

And, I do actually have another Hook-themed project I could do instead of the Tilton, that would be far easier, and by easier, I mean, harder in that it's a black-stitched background instead of white (and there is no way I'm stitching on black fabric), it's much larger and far more detailed, but you get me, right? It's GeckoRouge's Amour et Vengeance by Dailen Ogden. I think it's a retired kit, but I managed to snag it back in the day. Yeah, that's what I need, another absolutely HUGE cross stitch WIP! I only bought the GR kit because I knew they were going to discontinue it and I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted it or not. I figured it was better to have it, even if I never stitched it, than regret not ever getting it. I love GeckoRouge's kit's, but they are way out of my price range sometimes. I would love to do one of their maps, but I can't spend $1000-$2000 on one single kit! I could kit up 10-20 projects for that! But anyway, here's Amour:

. Amour et Vengeance_000a

I do prefer the design of the Tilton to the Gecko, but ultimately, it comes down to the "Suteki miserable" of it all. I'm gonna stitch on Hook this week and see how I feel then. I may stitch all the white, or work on the other colors to break it up (there are still quite a few other colors in there I haven't done yet, all shades of gray). I probably should have cut down the top and sides a ten-block or two. It could have helped. Hindsight. I have never been good at altering patterns though. I've always been a pattern follower to the letter or else I feel like I'm cheating. My moral code is very weird...I'm an Adam Ant song...anyone old enough to get that reference? Yeah definitely something inside. And, in a weird sort of way, Once's Hook reminds me of Adam Ant....although, again, I'd much prefer...Prince Charming, Prince Charming...yeah, I'll stop now.