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.

 

For the Love of Books

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. My earliest memories of childhood reading hundreds upon hundreds of BabySitters Club, Nancy Drew & Fear Street books. At 10 or 11, I began sneaking my mom’s Stephen King books. IT & Skeleton Crew among my first. I became a life long King fan from that moment on.

Over the years, however, my love for books and reading has occasionally been pushed to the back burner. There were years I maybe read only one or two books throughout the year. But it is the one hobby I never gave up on. And it’s because I found ways to challenge myself and make reading a little more interesting. For me, my passion for reading was reignited because of a Goodreads account.

If you don’t have a Goodreads account, make one. Every year they have an annual reading challenge where you can set the amount of books you want to read in a year. I found that setting a goal helped push me on those days I really didn’t want to read. I also joined reading challenge groups on the site that had silly “challenges,” like the “Alphabet Challenge,” where you read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. I also find lists from Goodreads or BookBub Blog helpful. My next reading challenge will to be to work through some of my saved lists on Pinterest.

My current reading challenge is to read through Stephen King’s entire bibliography in order of publication. I’m about 11 novels down and around 50ish to go. It’s been an interesting journey seeing King’s writing style develop over the course of time. It’s something I probably would have never noticed had I not gone back and started from the beginning. Several of his earlier books I had not read, and I’m beginning to see his characters & worlds intertwining. Reading through your favorite author’s bibliography is something I highly recommend.  I do break it up every few novels by reading something else, so I’m not entirely overwhelmed.

Another fun way to kind get back into the reading habit is book hoarding, hunting, at used book sales at local libraries. I discovered this obsession hobby of mine as we decided to begin collecting all of Stephen King’s novels, which was my inspiration for my reading challenge.

Book Sale Finder is an awesome site for finding local used book sales put on by local organizations or local libraries. Most sell hardcovers between $1-2 and paperbacks are even cheaper. We tend to hit up two of our local libraries on the weekends, and usually get in trouble by the husband for the amount of books I bring home. $10 usually goes a long way at these sales. My local library has a “red dot sale” that is $2 a bag full. I crammed 9 hardcover & paperbacks into a plastic grocery bag & even my husband was impressed. He thinks I won’t ever get around to reading them all, but he underestimates my passion.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

What is a Recreational Hobbyist?

About two months ago I decided I wanted to start writing a blog. But I know myself. I am the queen of starting a new hobby & moving on to something new within a few months. For two months, I mulled over what the hell I would write a blog about. I’m really not interesting or do anything special to warrant any type of “lifestyle blog.” I work full-time, I’m a mom, and the only hobbies I really have stuck with is reading and playing video games.

Then it hit me. I hobby recreationally. Every so often, when the motivation hits me, I decide I want to try something new. Spice up my life a little bit. For example, I told everyone I wanted those adult coloring books for Christmas last year. I ended up getting some pretty awesome coloring books, like the Game of Thrones coloring book. I got the highly recommended Prismacolor colored pencils set too. I posted a pic of the coloring books & pencils to Instagram, informing everyone through hashtags of how excited I was to start my new hobby. I colored a couple of pictures and a month later, my new hobby was abandoned. A year later, those coloring books are still in the same spot I left them in my office.

So I decided to take my recreational hobbying to a new level. I’ve decided to try out a new hobby every month & blog about my experience. And maybe find something along the way I can stick with (hopefully that something will be this blog!) Nothing will be off-limits. I will try everything from magic tricks to quilting and maybe even whittling.

The first hobby for my blog will be cross stitching. I should have started with something a little easier, but this particular hobby was the catalyst behind my blog idea. When I first mentioned to my family I wanted to learn to cross stitch, I was met with laughs and rolling eyes. They know the routine.

I will post updates throughout my recreational hobbying as to how well or not well I’m doing, whether or not I enjoy it and helpful blogs or sites I used to assist me along the way. As I am learning the ropes of a beginner cross stitcher, my first couple posts will be my two hobbies I have never faltered from, reading & gaming.