Monday, January 30, 2006

January/February Goals

I did really well on my stitching goals for January. Guess I didn't really set the bar that high though. :)

January Goals
1. Complete part 1 of the Chatelaine Sampler Mystery II - done!
2. Finish the Stitcher's Lane RR - done
3. Do another Any Designer Band Sampler RR section - done
4. Finish the next section for the Mira RR - done
5. Stitch another square on Katie's blanket - done, and working on the second square for this month now.

Optional - if all the above gets completed
1. Stitch some on Hardanger Table Runner - yep
2. Stitch some on Angel of Summer - yep

I also finished my Open-themed RR, so I think I did quite well. I'll probably finish the second square I started for Katie's blanket today or tomorrow. I wanted to also do the square for Autumn's quilt but didn't quite get to it. My stitching time the last few days was twarted by doing this years taxes. At least we are getting a good refund this year.

So now the goals for February. I'm going to be pretty conservative as I'm starting a new job next Monday and obviously I'm going to have less stitching time.

1. Finish the next section for the Sampler Mystery
2. Finish another section on the Any Designer Band Sampler RR
3. Finish another section on the Mirabilia RR
4. Do another square on Katie's blanket

1. Stitch some on Alhambra Garden
2. Stitch some on Emma's Garden
3. Do the quilt square for Autumn
4. If I get to everything on this list I might start Mother's Tree. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

11 Years!

Today is my 11th Wedding Anniversary. Didn't we look pretty dorky back in 1995? :) Ah well, wer're still going strong and I can't complain. We agreed not to do presents this year cause we are still focused on spending carefully until we get a few good paychecks coming in. Besides, we are sort of at that point where we don't know what to get each other anymore. We have all the stuff we really need and the stuff we want is bigger stuff we'd buy together when funds allow. He did bring me my favorite chocolate bar anyway this morning for our anniversary, so I'd say he's a keeper. Its the little surprises that really make me happy anyway. :) We'll have Chinese takeout tonight for dinner, but that will likely be the extent of our celebration for this year.

Can't say we've never had issues, and that first year I almost left several times. But I feel we've ridden out all our issues (so far anyway! ) and I'm so happy we're still together. While Sean has his faults he has always been someone to strive for self-improvement and that has been so important to our marriage. I admire that in him and honestly wish I had a bit more of it myself. Guess I'm feeling lucky we made it this far and hopeful that we have a bright future together. :) Who could ask for more?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Stitching Stash Stuff

Now that we are going to have some money coming in again I've been trying to prioritize my stash wish list. :) I've decided that my next start will definitely be "Mother's Tree". I've ordered a piece of 40ct linen from Silkweaver in a color called "Tropical Breeze". It is a light blue. I'm also going to stitch it in silks - probably Dinky Dyes, but I haven't decided which shades yet. Greens obviously, just not sure which ones yet. I'll probably wait til Stitching Bits and Bobs has another 25% off sale and get the Dinky Dyes from them then, since none of the shops near me carry Dinky Dyes.

I'm also planning on taking a day and hitting all the local shops once before I have to start back to work. See what deals are to be had out there, and pick up Mermaids of the Deep Blue by Mirabilia and possibly Stargazer if they have it stocked already. I'm also thinking about Just Nan's "Winterhaven". It has been so long since I've been able to splurge a little on stash I'm getting a little giddy just thinking about it. I'm such a nerd.

I put in a few days stitching on my Table Runner but I got real sick of the blanket stitch edging. It is just so incredibly boring. I did force myself to do half of it - that way I only have the other half to do next time I work on it. Then finally I'll get to do some of the more fun stuff on that piece. Yesterday and today I've been stitching on Angel of Summer which is actually stitching up sort of quickly. :) There is a bunch of greenery though that I haven't really started yet which I think is going to be a big pain cause it is all confetti type stitching. Maybe I'll takle part of that next time I work on it. Tomorrow I'm going to stitch another square on Katie's blanket - but I've picked a real simple small design of a cat with no quarter stitches so hopefully that'll go quick. If I still have time in the month left I'm going to try to knock out the square I said I'd do for Autumn's quilt. When Feb 1st comes it'll be time to work on the Sampler Mystery so I'm getting excited for that as Martina has hinted that there will be peacocks in the next portion. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Daycare Doings

I've been spending the last few days vamping up for my return to work and trying to get my ducks in a row. My biggest task is finding the right daycare for Katie. I've visited three different ones now, all of which were definitely passible. I just want to send her to absolute best place we can. Since DH and I both got good jobs paying far more than any previous job we've ever held we can definitely afford top notch care - so that is what she's gonna get. I like the last place I visited the best, and incidentally it is also $30 cheaper per week than any other place I've visited or called. I liked it the best because the classrooms seemed brighter (more windows), more open, cleaner, and the teachers all seemed friendly and open too. I just got a better feeling there, like the people there like their jobs. Only problem is that another family called first and has first dibbs on the open space in the toddler group. They are deciding by the end of the week whether they want it or are going to go with a different center. I told the director today that they were our first choice, so if the other family doesn't work out definitely give us a call. *sigh*

Our second choice is also nice and there was nothing wrong with the place at all, everyone seemed competent and friendly, I just didn't have the same instinctual "I really like this place" feeling I had at our first choice. So I guess it is up to fate - we have our first and second choices lined up.

I'm also waffling on what to do with Alex. I'm hoping my schedule will allow me to go in early and then leave early to pick him up from school and that DH will be able to go in late enough to drop him off at school on his way in - then we wouldn't need any care for him. That might not always be possible though as my new job is as a consultant and depending on what company I'm assigned to work at my start and end time might vary form assignment to assignment. Most of the daycares I talked to do have after/before school programs for school age kids. However, when I ask about the kids enrolled it seems they are more 1st and 2nd graders and Alex is in 5th grade. I don't want him stuck in a room full of blocks and crayons and 6 yr olds, but I'm not sure he is ready for the responsibility of being at home everyday for an hour or two after school until I get home. I'm going to call a few of the moms of his friends that I know work and see what they do with their 10/11 year olds. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm listening! :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

DH got his job too!

Yay! We actually got the call yesterday morning while we are at the grocery store only I didn't find the message on the machine until mid-morning today. Who calls about a job offer on Sunday? Anyway, it is for the county and is very competitive and we are so surprised and thrilled that he actually got it. The pay is pretty good too, although not quite enough for me to not have to take a job too. But there is definite potential for me to work part-time once we get our bills/debt caught up. Since it is a government agency, the health insurance is also really good. I am so happy for DH as this kind of non-commission job in therapy is hard to come by (at least around here) and now he can continue to do the job he really loves and make enough money to put a little bread on the table too. I was getting so worried that he'd have to take another social work position and that he would resent me and the kids for making him work a paying job when therapy was where his heart was. Now we get the best of both worlds. :) :)

He is going to start Feb. 6 too - so we will both be starting new jobs on the same day. His schedule will include some night time hours so two days a week he goes in after lunch and works through the evening hours. This will help us keep Katie out of daycare a few more hours a week as he'll be the one dropping her off and I intend to go in as early as possible so that I can leave as early as possible and be home for Katie and Alex when he gets home from school and needs to be carted to his after-school activities. Financially things are looking way up for us, but we are bit concerned about making sure we are still there for the kids as much as we can be and as much as they need us. So cross your fingers for us that we have a smooth transition.

Round Robin finish

I finished up my ornament on Ruth's RR this weekend. Her whole piece is just gorgeous and includes all the TW Byzantine ornaments. I was glad that when it came to me the one that was left to do wasn't one I'd already done. :) It was fun to stitch and I used a bit of dinky dyes from the Ooops pack I bought last summer to do the accent colors. So now I've finished with 2 of the four Round Robins I'm involved in. That will be good for going back to work as I'm not sure just how much stitching time I'm going to have.

Today's objectives are to call around to a few daycares in the area, get prices and details and set up appointments to visit them. If I get any time to stitch today I'm going to work on the Hardanger Table runner.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Ugh. I feel so in between modes now. Since the new job doesn't start til Feb. 6 I still have two more weeks at home. I'm glad to have a little time, yet I almost feel like I just want to get going on the new phase of my life I guess. On the other hand, I've been procrasitinating about finding a daycare. DH hasn't heard from the companies he interviewed with recently, so I've been telling myself I want to know what his schedule is going to be, but really I just hate the thought of dropping off the little tyke for the largest chunck of the day everyday 5 days a week. *sigh* If DH does not get one of the jobs he interviewed for we've decided that he will work a part-time schedule doing therapy and then stay home with Katie the rest of the day. That way she only has to be in daycare about 20 hours a week instead of 40+. That makes me feel a lot better about her and since I was gutsy enough to push for a little higher salary we should be able to make all our bills pretty much on my income alone. DH's part time gig will just be for extras (and daycare). He doesn't want to stay home full time though cause he wants to keep his resume active in the hopes of finding more lucrative employment in a few years when she is school age. Guess I'm just feeling like all our balls are still in the air and I just want them to land already so we can move on. I don't know if any of this makes any sense to anyone reading it - but at least I'm getting it off my chest.

Stitchingwise I've hit a little roadblock the last few days. I decided when I did my Jan. goals to try to finish one block on Katie's blanket this month. UGH I hate working on that dang thing. It is sratchy and I always pick patterns with lots of quarter stitches which are a big pain on 18ct over one. I am almost finished with the block, but it took 4 days to finish a smallish design I would normally do in 2. All the job stress of getting and negotiating my offer kept me from wanting to stitch too - so that was also part of it. Anyway, I'll get that goal accomplished tonight - just doing the backstitch now - and move onto working on my Hardanger Table runner until my next RR piece arrives. Actually it will probably arrive tomorrow, so I'll have to decide whether to drop the runner and do the RR as soon as it arrives or put in a few days on the runner then do the RR. Most times I find it irresitable to do a RR once it shows up - so that will probably win out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I hate, hate, hate negotiations. This morning I had to go into the office for the new job and receive my offer. Actually I should probably back up and say that during my interview the two managers interviewing me asked me if I knew Jane (Jane not her real name) who also worked at my previous job. I said yes, and they asked me a few questions about her. I said all positive things cause I thought she was a good co-worker. So then I ask how they know her and they said she had also interviewed last week. So when it was clear yesterday that they would be making an offer I called her up and asked how her interview went and found out they had already made an offer to her too. She didn't tell me what the number was for the salary, but she indicated that it was way better than what she was making before and that she was surprised at how high it was and that she was really impressed with everything about the company. Since I knew what her salary was at the previous job I had a ballpark for about what they offered her.

Sooo fast forward to this morning when I go in to get my offer. It is 8 - 10k less than what I think they offered her. I know they based it off what I had put for a salary requirement and is in the range I might have accepted if I didn't know what I know. BUT I'm feeling crappy that someone with fewer years experience and no Educational background in our field (Jane's degree is in something else) is getting offered so much more just cause she had the balls to put down a higher figure on her application.

So I told the recruiter I was a little dissapointed in the that figure and was really hoping for about 5 - 10k more. She of course looks at my application and can see that doesn't match with the application and I explain that I've done a little research over the past few days on what Tech Writers make in the Metro Milwaukee area and that the figure they've offered is more entry-level than five years experience. I also mention that I just went off the salary at my most recent position without thinking and that I felt really underpaid there (It's true), and I don't want to be in that situation again. So she says we'll see what we can do and ushers me out of the building saying they will contact me later in the day.

They of course figured out that Jane and I talked - they were the ones to tell me she was interviewing there too for Pete's sake. There was much drama of the HR person calling me up a few times to try to feel me out and I just stuck to the same reasons I gave before and not mentioning Jane. They called up Jane to feel out where she was and she admitted to talking to me but told them she didn't disclose her offer number, which was true, and I told the same story when they pressed me about it.

In the end they came up 6k on their offer and I've accepted and all is well. What stress though - I just hate negotiating and it always makes me feel like I'm the evil money-grubbing bitch or something. But seriously, I would have hated to work next to a writer who I know has less experience and education for less than what she was making. I guess I'm glad I stood up for myself, but now I'm feeling like maybe I'm starting off on the wrong foot with these people. All can I do now though is show up on Feb. 6 and work hard and show I'm worth it I guess.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I got a job! :) :)

Woo Hoo! I received two calls today from the company I interviewed with yesterday. The first call to let me know they were going to be checking my references and education, and then about an hour later to let me know that was all coming back okay and they want to meet with me tomorrow morning to make an offer! :) :)

I'm so relieved that I can actually get a job and update my resume! Not to mention pay some bills! Just a little sad that I'm going to have to start daycare hunting immediately - but it is a necessary evil at this point.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Well, DH's interviews went well last week, as did mine this morning. Now we wait. My interview this morning said they would let me know one way or the other by the end of the week, so at least I won't be wondering for years wheather they thought I was any good. The conversation went over the allotted time, which I'm hoping is a good sign. They wouldn't want to keep talking to me if they already decided I wasn't a good fit.

I'm sort of excited at the prospect of working for this place too - they seem like they have a diverse workload and would be far less boring than working at many other places where you write technical manuals, which can be very tedious if there is no variety in your workload.

DH feels like he will be hired at the county position, which is the one he wants. I really hope he is right, but my sense has always been that they are very competitive positions to get, so we'll see.

That's about all that is going on with me right now. Still stitching on the Mira RR - should have a happy dance for that one soon. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A couple of Round Robin Happy Dances

I've been working on these two pieces the last few days. The house is from Sam Hawkins' "50 House Designs" and the bands on the band sampler are adaptations from Indigo Rose's "White Diamonds and Orchids." They were both quick and fun to stitch.

Now I'm working on my Mirabilia Round Robin. I chose to do Cinderella for Shannon's piece and I have a smidge done, but a long way to go yet. I forgot to note on my goals in my last post that I will also need to do a section on the Open -themed Round Robin, probably it will come in the mail late next week, or early the following week - so that will probably be around the time I finish on the Mira RR. This house was my last for the Stitcher's Lane RR and when I finish the next section for the Open-themed RR, that one will be done too. That will be nice cause I think I'm going to need the stitching time to work on the Sampler Mystery.

Sean (DH) is at an interview this morning for a job he doesn't think he really wants - but it pays really good money, so I'm sort of hoping he changes his mind. It would be enough that I wouldn't have to go back to work if I didn't want too and would at least take some pressure off me to find a job RIGHT NOW. He also has that other interview I posted about last week tomorrow. That is also a good job (doesn't pay as well as the other, but is better than most), but I'm sure there will be stiff competition, so I don't feel confident it will be offered to him. Finally I have an interview on Monday. I'm a little wary and nervous mostly cause I've been on a few interviews now during this job search and didn't get the job in those cases - so I'm worried I'm doing something wrong and no one will tell me what it is. So there are three possibilities for improving our financial situation right now - I just need one of the to work out.

I've been feeling so good this last week with a little hope from these possibilities coming up - I'm just worried that all three will be wash outs and I'll be back to feeling desperate and horrible.

Also I volunteered to help with the Sock Hop/Raffle Committee at Alex's school. It hasn't really been all that much work, but I'm finding that calling up businesses to try to get donations just makes me feel nervous and stressed and I keep putting it off. Need to get my but in gear. Maybe that can at least take my mind off this other stuff. Ever just want to put that little hamster in your head asleep for awhile?

Monday, January 09, 2006

January Stitching Goals

I've finally decided that it might be helpful to jot down some goals for each month. Might help me to stay on track. I know it is already the 9th and January is already almost a 3rd over with, but there's no time like the present - right?

January Goals
1. Complete part 1 of the Chatelaine Sampler Mystery II - done - yay!
2. Finish the Stitcher's Lane RR - working on the last square now :)
3. Do another Any Designer Band Sampler RR section - just came in the mail today.
4. Finish the next section for the Mira RR - picked out but not started yet.
5. Stitch another square on Katie's blanket

Optional - if all the above gets completed
1. Stitch some on Hardanger Table Runner
2. Stitch some on Angel of Summer

That is probably way more than I can do in the next 22 days - but I'm going to give it a shot.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sampler Mystery II part I complete :)

Woo Hoo - finished part I! Those flowers got to be pretty tedious - but I think it looks good. Curious now to see what Martina puts inside of that gorgeous border. :)

For the next week or so I'm going to be catching up on my Round Robins. I just have one house left to stitch for the Stitcher's Lane Round Robin - and Karen was kind enough to send it on to me early - so I'm going to try to knock that off the list next. Then the band sampler Round Robin should be here tomorrow, so that will be next. Then I will get to sink my stitching teeth into the Mira RR - which is the one I'm most dying to start right now. It will probably take longer than the others though, so I'm going to get them out of the way first.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

DH has an interview!

For a really good job! I'm so excited, but trying hard not to get my hopes up too much. It isn't as though they are making him an offer - just an interview, so we'll see. If he does get it we'll at least be able to pay all our expenses without going into any more debt. The interview is next Friday morning, so cross your fingers for us okay?

Stitching wise I'm still plugging along on part I of the Sampler Mystery. I finished the "waves" in the border all the way around and I did that in my small metal hoop cause I was having to move around so much it seemed to much work to keep adjusting on the q-snap. I'm regretting it now though cause my hand cramped up holding the hoop for so long. So I didn't get any stitching in last night trying to let it rest up. It is still a little sore this morning, but much better. So now I'm stitching on the flowers in the q-snap. Since I'm going around a lot more slowly doing the flowers, that should be fine. I'm almost half done with the flowers. It will probably still take me a few days to finish part 1 - depending on how much stitching time I get.

The band sampler RR and the Mira RR should both be arriving at my home in the next few days. I plan to finish stitching the Sampler Mystery first, then the band sampler, then the Mira RR. We'll see though, I'm getting pretty tired of those flowers and I might have to set them aside and do one of the RR pieces for a break. :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Year's End/ New Year Stitching

Well everyone else is doing it, so I guess I should too right? (No mom, I'm not jumping off any bridges.) Just reviewing what I finished in the last year and what I hope to accomplish in the next with my stitching.

First though, I'll share a pic of what I worked on over new year's eve and new year's day. It is the Chatelaine Sampler Mystery II that started on the first. It was released mid-day on the 31st, so I actually got to start it the night before. I really like the colors - blues and purples mostly. I'm a little concerned that the lightest color at the top of the flowers fades into the fabric too much, although it seems to stand out pretty good in the scan. Also I took a chance and subbed GAST Corn Husk for the called for SNC Chartruese and it looks like it goes well enough with the other chosen colors so I think I'm safe there.

Okay, so back to the one year ending another starting thing. :)

2005 finishes in the order that they pop into my head

  1. Lady of the Flag
  2. English Garden Welcome
  3. Cottage Garden Fairy
  4. Sisters
  5. Noah's Ark blanket for sister's baby
  6. Peonies glasses case for my grandmother
  7. Hardanger pillow for my mom
  8. several Christmas ornaments (5 to be exact)
  9. a portion of Just Nan's Common Ground that I put into a box top.
  10. Yellow "Knockered " Fairy contest entry
  11. a bunch of squares on Katie's afghan blanket - too lazy to count how many right now
  12. 8 of 9 houses on the Stitcher's Lane RR
  13. 5 of 6 sections on the Open-themed RR
  14. 3 of 8 sections on the Any Designer Band Sampler RR
  15. 1 of 6 sections on the Mirabilia RR

I think that is a pretty good list for one year's time. :) I also worked on these projects that aren't complete yet.

  1. Angel of Summer
  2. Hardanger Table runner
  3. Alhambra Garden
  4. Emma's Garden
  5. Chatelaine Sampler Mystery II

Now for 2006 goals

  1. Finish all my RRs and don't enter any more until all are complete. I've had/am having a lot of fun with them, but they are seriously cutting into my time for other projects and I just think I'll need a little break for a bit. Also four is just too many at one time. :)
  2. Keep up with and finish the Sampler Mystery
  3. Finish Emma's Garden
  4. Finish Alhambra Garden
  5. Finish the Table runner
  6. Make good progress on Angel of Summer

New projects for 2006. If I'm making good progress on my goals these are the new projects I want to add as I finish the others.

  1. Mother's Tree
  2. Silkwood Manor
  3. Stone Roses
  4. Chatelaine's Persian Iris Garden (starts in May - we'll see how expensive the fibers are and how the finances are doing on this one.)
  5. St Basil's Cathedral on opalescent fabric.

I think that is about it - although there are sure to be more projects that come up that I really want to do - so it'll be interesting to see where I'm at this time next year. Also I'm hoping I'll find a job soon, and that is sure to cut into the stitching time. Hopefully I'll still be able to finish a few things though.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Alhambra Garden

Here's my progress on Alhambra Garden. The fabric is actually a bright white, and the colors are brighter in real life too. For some reason my digital camera washed it out a bit in this pic.

I started the Sampler Mystery last night and I'm already frogging. The symbols in the key don't exactly match the symbols on the chart and I mistook one of them. Since it is a mystery, I didn't have a picture to compare to see what it should look like. At least I only put in two lengths before I realized my mistake when I logged onto the support group on yahoo and saw what the colors were supposed to be. grrrrr.... You'd think for $22 just for the chart the symbols could match, right? I think Martina's designs are beautiful, but I have to say that I've been dissapointed with the quality of the charts/instructions. Alhambra Garden has several symbols that are very close, and used close together in the design too. If I hadn't seen a warning about this on the BB, I might easily have stitched the wrong color somewhere on AG too. Also there are instructions missing for which color to use for rhodes stitches and the diagrams aren't over the correct number of threads for the stitches either. Luckily I've been doing this long enough that I can figure it out usually - but for someone who was learning to stitch - it would be really hard - and it wouldn't need to be. None of the stitches are difficult, just the instructions hard to follow.

Anyway, I'll be spending the rest of today stitching (and frogging) on the mystery. It does look like it will be beautiful anyway.