Sunday, January 31, 2021

One step forward...

One step forward, two steps back, then maybe three steps forward...  Sparing you the details, that's what my life is at the moment.  The movement of settling an estate is always forward (there is no stopping or truly going backwards - at least not in my case), but unexpected things make it seem slower than it should really need to be.  That said, the week ended well, and resulted in moving into a new phase in the process - a phase where unknowns may lurk, but still I press forward.

And now, on to more enjoyable things...

Today's offering in my weekly Year Of Projects update is a simple tag.  The #52Tags challenge host made the theme of Week 4's tag the Fly Stitch.  I'd never encountered this stitch before, so I made my stitches the way the challenge host made hers. It was only when looking for a link to a tutorial for just this stitch did I realize that the designer (and I) made our fly stitches upside down.  

To be clear, I knew we were making them upside down (from the way we'd want them to appear when the tag was finished), but I didn't realize upside down isn't the typical way to make this stitch.   The host of the challenge is left-handed, so I wonder if that is why she stitches it the way she does.  Regardless, lesson learned...  I may want to seek out a separate tutorial for a new-to-me embroidery stitch when making future tags.  Here's the hostess's video for this challenge.  And here is a different video that is a tutorial for just making the Fly Stitch.   

All that aside, I did enjoy making the fly stitch, even upside down.  😅  It's a bit of a mesmerizing stitch.  The first sample I made (just below) was way overdone, but it was well worth having done it for what I learned - that, and it was just enjoyable to stitch:

While what I did above created a too-dense design that doesn't make a lot of sense to look at, I enjoyed meandering around the piece and crossing over earlier sections to create some depth to the "picture"  To be sure, there is a time and place for doing this, but I clearly need to learn some control.  😉

In my second attempt I didn't cross over previously laid stitches, but I did still enjoy meandering a bit and joining sections together.  I also enjoyed working with a variegated thread that had completely different colors in it - as opposed to the more subtly variegated threads above.

And since I haven't shown what the backs look like, here's a picture that shows more or less what the back sides of my tags will all look like:

Some people are writing short notes on the backs of theirs.  I'm just keeping mine plain - for now, anyway.  

And that's a wrap for this week!  

Even with several snows, we're continuing to have an exceptionally mild winter here - for which I am truly grateful.   How are things in your corner of the world?

The view down the street from my front door


Sunday, January 24, 2021

A good week...

It's been a good week here.  Lots happened, lots still ahead to do, of course.  I'd love to share about the process of settling an estate, but me thinks it wise to hold off for now.  A number of things fell into place, some things still dangle out there sort of in process, some waiting for their moment.  All in all, it was a good week.

It was such a busy week, I only managed to crochet a bit in the evenings when I settled down to some youtube fare.  Sometimes catching up on world events, sometimes enjoying the happy creating of other crafters.

It almost seems silly to post, since I'm sharing so little, but in the spirit of keeping up with the camaraderie of my blogging buddies, I'll share a progress picture of the chevron blanket I'm working on:

I'm close to the half-way mark, so that feels good.  I changed my mind about the pattern of graduated white chevrons.  I concluded it was going to have too much white if I made the largest white section as large as the blue sections (which was my original intention), so I corrected course and decided to simply repeat the graduated widening of the white sections starting with just one ridge, then two ridges, and finally three ridges - then repeating it again.  Then (I think) I'll make the second half a mirror image of the first half.  Though, I may end up changing my mind about that too.  

No tag today.  I've learned that the tag challenge is always released on Friday and, this time, since I was unable to work on it on Saturday, I may from here on out just set myself up for making the tags at my leisure anytime during the 7 days following the release of the challenge.  Which means I'll share this past Friday's challenge next Sunday.  And that may be the way it flows from here on out.  We'll see.  My intention is for it be a fun diversion, not a task I have to do.  

After unseasonably warm weather last week, it's turned cold and snowy today again.  It's not a pretty blanket of snow, but instead it's kind of raggedy looking with the grass showing through.  No complaints here.  I'm thankful for every single non-bitter and clear-road day we have here - this winter in particular, with all the driving we're doing.

And that, dear reader, is all she wrote!   😉

Sunday, January 17, 2021


My days right now seem to be spent going from one thing to another, so many details needing tending to as I work to wrap up my brother's affairs - in addition to minding my own home duties.   It seems this describes pretty much every day right now.   It has become the norm to go from room to room, heading into a task only to find myself sidetracked by another task, and at some point being confronted by some unfinished task I left on table or counter hours earlier.   

I know these days will eventually pass and the job of settling my brother's estate will draw down to something that doesn't require so much attention (or just thinking about) on nearly a daily basis as it seems to right now.  But for the moment, and with our having just wrapped up this kind of work pertaining to my mother-in-law's estate, it sometimes feels a bit mind-numbing to find ourselves here again - only this time, I'm in the decision-making seat instead of Hubs.

In the midst of so much distraction, I'm finding the simple 52 Tags challenge a nice reprieve from all the gear turning that goes on in my noggin' right now.  The gears slow down to a welcome pace as I sew, and before I know it, I've experienced a peaceful hour or two doing a simple, repetitive thing like hand-stitching that doesn't require much brain power.  

So, one more time, I finished a tag in the #52Tags Challenge hosted by Anne Brook

Tag 3's theme is "Scrappy".

These scraps:

got turned into this:

I confess, I got tired of stitching on all the little folded pieces of fabric, and decided to finish it up with some random strips of fabric hanging vertically, then sewed on three old buttons and called it day.  

If you're interested in seeing other tags from this challenge, pictures are found on Instagram.  It's fun to see the different interpretations of the challenge.  And I'm inspired to consider how to take more interesting pictures of these tags.  ;^)


There was a little stitching on my Linens & Threads sampler.  And also a bit of crochet happened.  The chevron blanket is growing slowly, but surely.  It will be done one day, too.   

This morning we watched church online, spent an hour zooming with our small group, and in just a little bit I'm planning on visiting friends, Jack and Ruth (Ruth is the elderly lady I used to help care for - before COVID), taking some banana bread I made yesterday.  Then I'll settle back in at home on this snowy day with some crocheting and maybe watching an episode of The Waltons.   And at some point, catching up with my blogging buddies.  😉

I hope you all have a good week.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A little crochet and a "tag" challenge...

This week saw me at home quite a bit, but somehow that didn't translate into much crafting.  I did do some crocheting on my chevron blanket, but I'll take another picture when it's further along. 

For some reason, this week I was inspired to give a whole new craft a try.   Jenny at Elephantz makes beautifully sweet embroidery patterns that I've admired for a while now, but this week she linked to a new challenge that just started up called 52 Tags hosted by Anne Brooke, a Textile Artist in the UK.  You can see more links at Jenny's blog above (and see her first tag), but I found this Youtube video that explains the challenge.

The stitching that will go into these is called "slow stitching".  Having watched a few videos I confess, I don't know how or why these are considered any "slower" than any other type of stitching or embroidery.  Shrug.  I suppose I'll learn more as I go along.  The real appeal of this challenge is that none of these tags are meant to take very long to make.  Truth be told, though, they can be as simple or complicated as a person wants to make them. 

Friday evening I made some tag bases from scrapbook papers that I have in my stash (using a brown craft paper for the back and pretty papers for the fronts):   

Just making these was kind of fun.  

Many people use pre-purchased tags, but I have so much decorative paper stashed, I couldn't see buying tags, and it was easy and fun enough to make my own.  It's actually interesting to see what some people are using as the tag base.   Some people have dye-cut machines they're cutting shapes out with.  I've seen hang tags from purchased clothing used.  One person is transforming a deck of playing cards into tags.  People are so creative...

At first I didn't think I'd manage to finish one to show today, but these were so quick to make, I actually finished two yesterday:

Tag 1 (the theme was "White"):

And Tag 2 (which I think was themed "Heart"):

If you're interested in just seeing a bunch of finished tags, the Instagram link is:  #52tagshannemade

We'll see if I actually manage to make a tag a week.    If I end up petering out, then the worst thing will be is that I'm left with a bunch pretty and fun paper tags to use for other purposes.  😊  It seems like a pretty low-risk investment on my part.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Jumping back in...

I, first of all, want to thank everyone who left kind comments on my last two posts about the loss of my brother.   I didn't respond on individual comments you left, but I want you all to know that each one held sweet words for my hurting heart.  Thank you so much.

While it feels a tad trivial for me to jump back into blogging (considering how devastating the blow felt even a week and a half ago) some things have happened to help my mind and heart, and bring me to a place of more normal grieving.  I am ready to try to embrace normal things again, and you all are such an important part of what my "normal" is, I want to be with you here online.  While we're still dealing with the dreadful COVID, and there may be hard things ahead for our country in particular (given so much unrest still from the past year), and I suspect the whole world will have to recover in terms of economics and personal loss, I am choosing to look forward to 2021 with hope. 

While I didn't end up following through with my Advent projects, and have no heart for doing that at this point, I did crochet and knit up some dishcloths shortly after my last YOP update:

The patterns are here and here.

And in the past couple of days I've picked back up the chevron blanket I'm making for my youngest son:  

While this is an easy project, I'm deciding on the width of the white sections somewhat as I go, and consequently it's seeing more frogging and redoing than I care to admit.  Once I hit the half-way mark, though, it should be smooth sailing - as the second half will be a mirror image of the first half.

That's all from me today.  I hope you have a very good start to a new year. I am so thankful for new beginnings.  They refresh the heart and soul.  Even new beginnings in crafty projects lightens the heart and can bring joy.

Happy New Year to each of you!