Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Over one overload - Heritage Sampler

This time I worked mostly on the over one lettering "Fauls" (our surname) and "Family" and "J" and "F" to sign it around the tree ornament. I also started the "golden vines border" that you see beneath the tree ornament.

I'm a bit overloaded on the over one for now - and considering the alphabets on each side and then the names, I'm glad I have lots of other projects to switch out to! I am really happy with the progress so far though - really like how it is turning out. I have to admit to not really be 100% sure about the oranges and yellows and browns with the light green in the "golden vines border". Especially on the gray fabric. We'll see though, I bet it will blend in better when I get in a row or two in the sampler/names section.

Friday, January 23, 2009

And the Winner Is....

Kathy! :)

I just had Katie pick a name out of the basket (now you know what you can use if for Kathy!) so nothing scientific. Now hmmm what to put in it before I mail it off!

Kathy could you email me your snail addy - my email is jfauls @ (remove spaces).

I'm trying to get in some stitching on Heritage Sampler this weekend, but we have an open house and a showing on Sunday which means most of my weekend will be consumed by cleaning and by being out of the house so others can see it. Hoping for just a little progress though - we'll see. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inspiration progress

I managed to get in some stitching over the weekend on Inspiration by Rosewood Manor. The colors are more true on the left side of the photo where my light was shining when I took the pic.

I also managed to finish my French Monogram design into an actual basket. It turned out okay I think, but I'm still not itching to make any more. I decided I'd give it away as one of my "Pay it Forward" gifts. So if you'd like to have it, make a comment to this post and I'll draw someone at random. Psst... I'll load it up with some other goodies inside too! Not sure exactly what yet, but it will likely be based on whose name is drawn and what chocolate I can get hold of. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Katie's first Happy Dance

Excuse the tinkerbell pjs, but I thought I'd share Katie's first happy dance. She has taken great interest in my stitching lately. She keeps asking me if she can stitch, and since I don't think she is really ready for a "real needle" and project yet, this is what I came up with. Someone on one of the boards recently mentioned doing this as a craft project, so I had it in the back of my mind for Katie. As you can see, it is just a page from a coloring book pasted on cardboard. I used a holepunch for the holes and the thread is DMC, but yarn would probably have worked even better - I just didn't have any on hand. Somewhere I got a big blunt-tipped needle that worked great. I doubled the thread in half with the needle in the fold of the thread and then knotted the two ends onto the first hole for her so that she couldn't loose her needle. She had a blast "stitching" her reindeer. :) :)

Ah, common ground with my daughter at last. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Job Security

Well, I finally have news on my contract. It is good news, but scary at the same time. My boss at the client called me into a meeting on Friday to tell me they've decided to make me the lead writer on this major project that is VERY high profile for the company. It is the whole new way they are delivering their product to their clients and the way it is presented and documented (my job) is very important. It is going to involve me overseeing the work of at least one other contractor and possibly more. It is also going to involve me writing and pitching a documentation plan to the executive team.

OMG! I'm feeling a little bit over my head as although I've been funcitioning as a lead/senior writer within my group I've never had to supervise anyone else's work (at least not beyond editing it) and standing in front of people pitching my ideas has never been my strong suite. I'm a reluctant leader type - meaning I can do it when I need to - but my personality is really not very assertive, so it only happens when I sort of get pushed into that position - like now! Anyway, this means there is no way they are getting rid of me anytime soon - even if they decide they need to cut the budget and get rid of some contractors, I'd probably be first on the priority list of keeping around because of this project.

The boss at my client told me she picked me because of all the leadership I've shown in the last few months (I was called on to give input to the team on some new writing standards and apparently she thought I did well.) I just sort of feel like an imposter who has them all fooled into thinking I know what the h - e - double hockeysticks I'm doing, when I'm just sort of feeling in the dark. But I'm a fake-it-til-you-make-it believer too, so I'll carry on.

After they told me about this new role I emailed my boss at my contracting firm to let him know and he was all pumped too. This is exactly the kind of next step he had identified for me at last year's review. This year's review is next week, but he went ahead and told me anyway that he is promoting me to Technical Writer II at that review, which doesn't sound like much, but at my company it means you can bill more, fall into a higher salary range, and lead projects on your own, so it normally comes with more money and respect. In light of the recent paycut across the whole company I doubt I'll see any more money right now, but I'm still glad to be progressing rather than stagnating.

So after going on far too long about all of that, basically my new contract is through the end of September 2009, but really that will probably get extended too because that date was apparently decided before they gave me the new project. I am probably set through June of 2010. I light of that and a raise that Sean just received (gotta love a union gov. job with preset increases) we are going to go ahead with purchasing another home should be lucky enough to sell this one. So I'm happy, but scared I'll fall on my face!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Delusions of Grandeur

Every now and then I get this wild look in my eye and decide I'm going to do some big ass project that I somehow think will take no time at all and everyone will think is so great and neat and whatever... Ha! Then I realize not so much. Please make me feel better and tell me you do that sometimes too - lie if you have to.

The pic is of French Monogram Basket by Twisted Oak designs. I looked at the pattern, saw that it was just the same small motif four times. I thought - "Hey I can make a bunch of these for all my friends! I can do a bunch of different colorways too - it's gonna be so neat." I used some 32ct linen from Silkweaver that came in one of their grab bags so I don't know exactly what it is - the colors are showing up reasonably well though so you get the idea.

I thought I'd crank one of these out every two weeks or so while doing other projects too so I wouldn't get bored. Ha! It took all my stitching time for more than 2 weeks to finish. Also it never occurred to me that I might need more than one skein to do all four motifs until I was well into it. I didn't quite make it with the one skein of Dinky Dyes Amethyst silk I used, but luckily I had an oops pack of Jo's from a couple years back that had a shade similiar enough to fake it if cut in the right place for the last 30 stitches or so. Then I went to find backing fabric to actually make it into a basket I was thinking in my head that I had some emerald green velvet that would look great next to the deep purples. First the velvet I had was not in any pieces big enough to work, then the shade of green didn't go as well as I thought it would. *sigh* nothing else in my small stash of fabrics would really work either, so now I have to shop.

And oh yeah, there is no way I'm making any more than just this one - at least not for a very long time! So after this debacle I'll just go back to stitching on some WIPs and hope the next time the creativity bug bites me I plan a little better and have some more realistic expectations!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

General update

As you can see from the picture - Alex just had braces put on. I couldn't convince him to smile much more than that, he is a little embarrassed about how crooked the teeth are right now. Hopefully that will be a different story soon enough though now that he has the braces. And gosh, he is getting so tall, I took this picture facing him and we were at eye level with each other. I know I'm biased and all, but don't ya think he is growing up so handsome? :)

Still no word on my contract. I am also up for my performance review though, and my boss at my contracting firm just met with my onsite bosses at the client regarding my performance. After their meeting, the boss from the contracting firm emailed me to say we need to update my resume. When I asked why, he said I had apparently gained a new skillset - walking on water! So if they don't renew me for as long as I'd like it won't be because they don't think I'm doing a good job. Got 'em all fooled I guess. :) So anyway, still no decison on what to do with the house - all the traffic we had been seeing has suddenly dried up anyway - we had one second showing, but they decided to buy a condo instead to avoid yard maintenance (older empty-nesters). It has been more than a week since our last showing, so the whole thing might be a moot point anyway. No matter what jobs we have/don't have we aren't moving unless this place sells first.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Stone Roses progress

Here is my progress thus far on Stone Roses. Not a ton done, but she has a face. I really, really, like to do faces first on pieces that have them. :)

Not too much else going on. DH and I are kind of in a holding pattern on any decision on the house. My contract at my current placement is up for renewal and although they've told me they are definitely extending the contract (in fact it technically expired on 12/31, and I'm still working and getting paid) they just haven't said how long yet. That new expiration date will influence any decision we make since it will represent how long I have a "for sure" contract and paycheck. The date they threw at me last I checked was 12/31/2009 which would be great, but the date could also be as soon as 3/31/2009 (they usually go in quarters) so we'll see.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Mish Mash

The Good - cause we should always start with the good right? :)

My family is all well, DH and I both still have good jobs, the kids are healthy, well-adjusted and doing well in school. We have enough money to pay all our bills and even some extra for savings and fun.

Showings on the house have continued to pick up - we have had multiple showings every week for the past 4 weeks.

Also, I got in some good progress on Angel of Summer, I actually even enjoyed working on her as she goes pretty fast. I'm toying with the idea of making her a focus piece to finish her more quickly as she is easily the closest thing to a finish in the WIP pile.

I did decide to start Stone Roses, so I'm working on her today and will continue on her until I feel ready to move on. I'll post a progress pic when I do.

The Bad - because there is always something, right?

I got a letter in the mail yesterday from my consulting firm. They are cutting my salary by 6%. I know times are tough all over, so I'll try not to whine about it too much, I know in this economy not everyone is lucky enough to still have a job.

I can survive the 6% just fine, so it isn't really the money that is bothering me - it is knowing that the company is in enough trouble that they had to do it. Makes me wonder if the other shoe is gonna drop, ya know? Still I cannot imagine they would fire me while I have a placement that is actually brining in money, so I'm pretty sure I'm safe - for now. If I get benched - I'll be worrying though.

The Ugly

The above now has me questioning whether we should really go through with selling our house and buying another. DH has a pretty recession-proof job so we're good financially if we stay here if I loose my job. On the other hand we can still afford a bigger house now even with the salary cut and even if I had to take a lesser paying job should I be laid off. It would be a lot more stressful though. A big part of me believes that buying now is a big financial opportunity if you can do it - but it feels a little like a gamble right now - and I don't like gambles.