The Last Stitch…?

My first cross stitching post, I told you all how badly I messed up. Last week, I didn’t have a real update post as I had been working on fixing all my mistakes. Basically, I had begun the frame of the owl and ended up with it being all funky looking. As I followed the pattern, I came to the very bottom to connect & I should have had five stitches across. But I only had room for two stitches.

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The right side bottom row was off by 3 stitches.

I began unstitching the entire right side of the owl up to the  eyes. I fixed where I thought I had messed up, then began working my way back down. And something was still off.  My error was actually at the very bottom where I first started. I ended up deconstructing the entire bottom part and re-stitching. And it still wasn’t right. At this point, I had made two errors I found & fixed, and I had to get a second set of eyes. Evil Husband pointed out that I had stitched in an extra row on the left side of the pattern. And so the third deconstruction began. To top it all off, in the process of fixing it all, the damn thread fell apart. The kit only has a limited supply of each color, so I had to take thread from the kit I bought for my daughter.

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Deconstructed 3 times now?
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Salvaged!

Once I was able to salvage everything and realized that this needs way more concentrating than I had given, I was moving along quite quickly. I even was able to manage different colors. I stitched in the other colors because I apparently have a problem counting empty spaces. This may not be the correct way, but it works for me. According to those I know personally that cross stitch, Evil Husband included, you’re supposed to stitch all of one color at a time. However, as I was clearly unable to figure out just the outside frame, and inside includes three different colors, I decided to do it my way.

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Multiple colors happening!

I had committed  to 4 weeks per hobby when starting this blog. I think I bit off a little more then I could chew with cross stitching. I really didn’t anticipate the mistakes that I had made would set me back this far.  By this time, I should have completed, at the minimum, the “practice kit” I bought. As of last night, I’ve made it this far…

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Almost done?

I am at a crossroads right now. I should begin my next hobby this week, but I haven’t finished cross stitching. I have decided I am going to continue on with my next scheduled hobby.  I will continue this project and update my progress until I have finished. As for the frog kit I picked up, I will work on it as time allows. As frustrated as I got, I really enjoyed cross stitching. I found it very relaxing, well, until I screwed up. It is a hobby I really recommend to someone who is looking for a crafty type hobby, but you should be decent at crafty kind of hobbies.  It isn’t hard, but requires time, patience & attentiveness.

So, what’s in store for the Recreational Hobbyist in March? Well, next month I’ll be covering a hobby that both Evil Husband and I discovered together and really enjoy. We’ve already established a pretty good library over the past few years, and we have a little bit of everything. Next month: Board Games.

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Cross-Stitching Tutorials & Free Patterns

I had a great update post planned for this week. While recovering from the seemingly endless “unstitching” that it will take to fix my epic failure, I decided I would spare you all from what would otherwise be a rant of frustration. (Also, I’d like to keep my posts safe for work and family friendly.) So for the time being, I’ve had to step away from the needle and thread. In the meantime, I thought I might post the best tutorial posts I’ve come across & some free patterns as well.

A few of these tutorials I mentioned in my post from last week, and are some the most helpful I found in beginning.

  • Storypiece is becoming one of my favorite cross stitch sites. The basic tutorial is incredibly helpful for beginners & she offers some very cute patterns for free.
  • The Crafty Mummy also offers an in depth post on how to stitch & some great tips for beginners that I never would have thought of. Like how to end a row that makes it easier to continue onto the next row.
  •  DMC has a bunch of posts that are helpful for beginners and for more advanced stitching. They also have a very in depth post on reading patterns.
  • These embroidery posts & handstitching posts look like beyond simple cross-stitching patterns.  I can’t finish a My 1st Stitch Kit, so those patterns are beyond my level of expertise.

Now when I first entertained the idea of cross-stitching, I was on Etsy and looking for Stephen King stuff for my office. I had came across an IT pattern and decided I wanted to make this for our collection. I also found out how many cross-stitching patterns are available on Etsy and searched for free patterns that I may one day want to try out, should I continue along with this hobby.

  • I just so happened to find a cross-stitching blog by Tiny Modernist and she has some adorable patterns for free.
  • Country Living has several free patterns available. They aren’t all to my taste, but there are a few cute patterns I would stitch.
  • Deviant Art is a very cool site and user Syra1974 has a Lisa Simpson pattern, and several other really awesome Disney patterns, like Bambi.
  • DMC offers a bunch of free patterns, as does Crossstitching.com. I also came across this site that has albums full of free patterns ranging from Aliens to Zodiac signs.

Of course, if you’re looking for popular culture patterns, you may have to pay for a pattern. If you don’t mind paying a few bucks:

  • For those who like a little sass and risque patterns, stephXstitch has some very “cheeky” patterns available. Naughty word warning.
  • Cuddle Up Creations has some very intricate and beautiful patterns available. I had stumbled upon a dragon pattern that I would love to be able to do some day to represent my love for Skyrim.

I have been curating tutorials & patterns on Pinterest on my cross-stitching board. Feel free to check it out for even more! Next week, I will have an update on my own stitching progress and a sneak peek of my next hobby!!

The Struggle is Real: Cross Stitching 101

One day I delved into a rabbit hole on Etsy and came across a bunch of really cool shops that had cross stitching patterns for sale & I thought to myself, “I can totally cross stitch.” So I mentioned to Evil Husband (husband requested a moniker for my blog & was of his own volition,) my desire to learn to cross stitch & of course was met with side eye. However, once my blog idea came to  fruition and I decided my first monthly hobby would be the very catalyst for this blog. Evil Husband was even on board.

We made a trip to JoAnne Fabric,  and headed to the cross stitch aisle. I grabbed a Thomas Kinkade Disney’s Little Mermaid kit.  Evil Husband gives me a raised eyebrow. He suggests I may want to start small. (Surprisingly, he actually knows how to cross stitch, so I should probably listen to him.) He grabs a “My First Stitch” kit hanging separately from the “real” cross stitching patterns. I clearly notice the theme of theses kits, “Girls Rule” are amongst the patterns and I realize these are essentially for kids. Evil Husband might have a point, after all, it’s just a practice kit. I grabbed the most “adult” looking kit I could find.

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Left: What I thought I could do. Right: What I can do.

I began my kit about a week or so ago & have been pinning up a storm on my Pinterest in preparation, so I thought i had it all figured out already. When I opened up this kit, the directions weren’t super clear. I didn’t realize until I visited this post on Storypiece that each strand were 6 pieces in one,  and I’m only supposed to use only two strands. Even Evil Husband had forgotten that the floss needs to be pulled apart. I thought I just be able to easily pull it apart in sections. Nope, it likes to knot up about half away. All said,  it took me about 20 minutes to pull apart, unknown repeatedly to separate into 3 strands. 

Evil Husband helped out with the first few stitches because I had no freaking clue where to start the first stitch. The kit wasn’t super helpful aside from showing the stitching & pattern. I also found this post from Imagine Gnats quite helpful. After the first few stitches were started, I got into the groove.

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Made some progress after two nights

I spent some time about two evenings in a row and made the above progress. It probably totaled maybe 2-3 hours. The shape is starting to take form, and seems pretty easy. I started watching iZombie on Netflix while stitching, thinking I’ve got the hang of it.  Then I realized that I screwed up.

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I messed up bigly somewhere.

So, I took out all the stitches on the right side. Then, I noticed I also screwed up the bottom part. I un-stitched it all and fixed it. Only to realize that I had messed up entirely in the beginning on the left part. And so about two hours ago, I gave up on My 1st Stitch.

Cross stitching isn’t hard. You just have to pay attention. My advice…don’t cross stitch and watch Netflix. My next few posts will be my attempt to fix my screw ups and hopefully start the “real” cross stitch pattern I picked up.

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This is supposed to be my real attempt at cross stitching.

The bottom line is that I thought this would be easy to do.  It is, as long as you pay attention to what you are doing and don’t watch Netflix.

 

Gamer Mom

The only other hobby that I have actually stuck with, ever since my dad brought home the original Nintendo back in the 80s, is video games. Since then, I’ve enjoyed games on all sorts of platforms from PC to consoles.

As a kid, I loved platform style games. Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man, Sonic, all were some of my favorites as a kid. I quit playing for most of high school, because, well, I was a teenage girl. I picked it up again in my early 20s, but kept it on the down low as not very many girls I knew played video games.  My gaming experience by then had evolved into racing games & NHL games, mixed with a little Halo & some Grand Theft Auto along the way. I even dabbled in World of Warcraft for a while. I’ve got a level 58 Night Elf out there somewhere named Staranna.

My gaming tastes have had to evolve over the years as I don’t have the time I once did, because well, I’m a grownup and I have grownup things to do. I also have come to the realization that I have the same level of commitment with video games as I do other hobbies. I hardly finish games anymore. A few years ago, my New Year’s Resolution was to finish all the games I had started, but never finished. Dead Space,  L.A Noire, Dead Island, Bioshock 2, The Last of Us are all started, but sadly never beaten.

I’ve since discovered the solution to my “I never finish games” & “I’m a grown up with limited time to play.” I can play RPGs like Skyrim, Fallout, Dragon Quest, etc. I’m not entirely stuck to a single linear quest line. I can make whatever kind of character I want & I am able to spend my time how I want. I can do main quests, side quests, craft, build or simply explore. And I don’t have to go online or raid at specific times to get the good gear.

Out of all the games I’ve ever played and fully meets my criteria, Skyrim, is my favorite game of all time. I can play for 30 minutes or a few hours after the munchkin goes to bed. It is a game that I have played 100s of hours over several characters. I started playing when the game come out  in 2011 & I have never “beaten” the game. There is so much to do that there isn’t really an ending to it. There’s times where I’ve spent more time taking screen shots in the game then actually playing. Below are some screen shots I’ve taken in the game (the main photo is my current character, Caelia.)

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View outside the Honeyside home in Riften

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A beautiful night sky in Skyrim

 

 

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Another picturesque landscape in Skyrim

Another genre I love is simulation games, which are similar to RPGs. These are also games where you can play whenever you have time. Games like The Sims 4 or Sim City are fun to play on a whim because you have full control, no quests to do and well, you’re kinda playing God. Plus, things like this happen:

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Yes, he is eating dinner with a Llama.

For me, playing video games is an awesome stress reliever. Sometimes, it takes finding that perfect kind of video game to suck you in. But once you’re there, you’re hooked. 

“I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.” ~Regina George’s mom, Mean Girls.