Cross Stitch World Map Project

Look at the cross stitch project I’m currently working on!

I’m having such a good time with it, and figuring out how the colors best fit and watching it come together has been so fun. Also when I first moved here I could only find one knitting needle, and thinking I had left the other one back in LA, I bought cheap ones to try to finally finish my blanket. They bent almost immediately and I took a break from knitting. I just found the second needle under my bed! I can potentially maybe finish my blanket sometime soon! I only have two patterns to go!

Also I don’t think I ever posted the finished elephants I did for my mom, which are below. I’m very pleased with the results! (This photo is obviously pre-iron.)

Knit Along

My yarn finally arrived and I’ve started the first pattern for the Martin Storey Knit-along I’m doing! Every two weeks a new pattern is released, and you make six squares of each pattern. I’m behind because my yarn took so long to come–the second pattern was released almost a week ago and I’m still on the third square of the first pattern. Better knit fast!

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But! I’m having so much fun with it. And I’ve only done two and a half squares and you can see real progress from the first square to the third. It’s neater, and it FEELS so much more natural. Once I finish these six, I start the second pattern which has two colors. I’m nervous but excited–I watched a few youtube videos and think I understand how to weave the colors in, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

And just so you don’t think I’ve abandoned cross stitching for knitting, here’s an update on the elephants I’m doing for my mom. (I say elephants, but there’s only one here. There will be two, I promise!) Honestly, if I wasn’t doing the knit along the elephants would definitely be done by now, but I don’t have a deadline and am having a blast taking my time. I love this pattern!

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An Ode to Cross Stitch

I’ve recently gotten into cross stitching. I realize this makes me about the equivalent of a 90 year old woman. My friend Maggie came over to watch football in November and brought the project she was working on and I watched her do it and realized 1. it looked super cool and 2. it looked super easy. And I was bored and unemployed and so I taught myself to cross stitch!

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I made my sister a tiny elephant first, for practice, and then took on a massive project (one I was way too new to understand just how massive it was until it was over). December is my boyfriend’s birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas, and I was unemployed and thread costs 49 cents a spool, so I decided it was obviously in my best interest to cross stitch him something. But I wanted it to be cool and unique and feel like a big present, even if it was home made. So I thought forever about what he liked enough for me to make, and decided to do a map of Cornwall, where he claims to be from (he was actually born in Devon, but let’s not get into it). So I emailed a bunch of old women in Cornwall who were selling patterns, and they all insisted on snail mail instead of emailing a pdf, and that was going to take too long! I was worried I wouldn’t finish on time! (This is a joke because no matter what there was zero chance I’d ever finish on time, but like I said, I was young and naive). So I made my own design. This was insane and involved quite a bit of stopping and correcting things as I perfected the design and how I wanted it to look. Cut to TWO MONTHS later and 25 days past Christmas, I finished! And I think it came out beautifully, if I do say so myself. You can barely see the mistakes I made–I even swapped the East and West back to their rightful places! 😛

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Now I’m working on an elephant design for my mom (can you tell elephants are a theme in my family?) and I’m LOVING it. It’s coming together quite quickly–it’s been a week and I’d say I’m 40% done, which is insane considering I work 60 hours a week and am only working on it about an hour a day (I was putting in a solid 10 hour day for weeks at a time on that map!).

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I have a bunch of other stuff I want to do as well, and I’m slowly finding the patterns for everything. It’s just so fun, and makes me feel creative in a way I never have before. Also it does WONDERS for my anxiety. I think it’s my version of meditation and those anxiety-reducing coloring books rolled into one.

New year, new goals

I think by now it’s well documented how much I love to do lists and the setting of goals, and while I’m not really one for new years resolutions, any excuse to indulge, I’ll take.

  1. Focus more on my health. Over Christmas I was constantly sick. First I got a cold, then a UTI (my THIRD this year, kill me), and then was told there was a serious chance I had cervical cancer. Luckily, I went in for a biopsy and everything came back normal (though it went on just long enough to SERIOUSLY freak me out), but my first goal of 2016 is to try to take better care of myself and my terrible, terrible immune system. I’ve always hated taking a lot of pills, but I’ve forced myself to let go of that dislike and jump on the vitamin/probiotic train. So I’m now taking a women’s multivitamin, fish oil, cranberry capsules (which are meant to help with the UTIs), Align, and the prescription for an ulcer I’ve been ignoring because I hate prescription medication. In addition I haven’t smoked since September 2nd, and feel literally no desire to do so ever again. I’ve lasted through two visits with my boyfriend, who is pretty much the person I want to smoke with the most, but the true test will be when I go back to London. That’s where I started and where I’ve never been able to quit. Without really realizing it, I’ve been doing sober January–my interest in alcohol has plummeted since I turned 25–hangovers are just not worth it. The only days I really foresee myself drinking this month are the Patriots playoff game and the weekend of my birthday. I’m trying to drink around 96 ounces of water a day, eat cleanly, and exercise 3-4 times a week. I’m also going to bed REALLY early (like 9:30pm), so I can be up around 5:30 to Skype Gareth before I have to leave for work (yeah, 5:30 AM). Last May I had been eating really well and going to pilates and running about 5-6 times a week, and I was in the best shape/strongest I’ve ever been. I’d love to get back to that–I had the beginnings of a six pack!
  2. Repair my finances. By living like I was completely broke, I managed to somehow avoid SERIOUS damage to my bank account. I was about a week away from taking all the money out of my investments though, and have definitely had to tap into my savings way more than I’d like. I’ve also racked up some hefty credit card debt. So my goals are to first pay off all my credit cards. I’m thinking this can be done by mid-February, as long as I can spend the next few weeks on the same budget I’ve been on for the past few months. This should’t be too hard, as it’s really hard to remember I don’t have to be constantly panicked about money. Once the debt is paid off, I want to immediately replenish all the money I took out of my savings. I hated having to spend any of it, even though I know the reason I had savings in the first place was for times like these. But I’d like to undo that damage as soon as possible. Then I’d like to get my checking account back to a healthy number, and start a separate savings account for the planned RTW trip G and I want to take.
  3. Continue crafting. December was Gareth’s birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas. Considering I was extremely broke, I had to get really creative with my presents, and it led me to discover a creative side I never knew I had! I’ve started cross stitching, which I am LOVING. I’ll post some of the stuff I’ve done recently sometime soon. I also am thinking of joining this knit along. I haven’t knitted since I was in elementary school, but I practiced a bit and think I have the basics down. Lastly, I want to start this project. It looks so cool, and I think I’d have SUCH a good time figuring out all the fabrics and such.
  4. Writing. I’m halfway through so many things, and done with none. I need to get back in the habit, and I’m hoping I can make it part of my weekly schedule in a way where it just becomes natural.

Those are my immediate goals. We’ll see how well I do keeping them, but as of now I feel excited to take on the challenge!