Author Archives: Melanie

It’s been a long time and I wanted to say hello!

Hello!!!!

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately.  Isn’t it weird how they still call them podcasts even though podcasts used to mean just audio recordings?  And some of them still call themselves VLOGs but those really mean the vlog style of simply recording short snippets.  And for those who cross stitch, they have FlossTube.  It’s still a video podcast on YouTube  but is specific to videos about cross stitching.  It’s so very interesting how words and meanings are created and changed as technology progresses.  Anyway, in my little world, there’s a shift as more and more bloggers switch to YouTube.  But then there are still a lot of bloggers keeping up that world.  I haven’t opened up a YouTube channel yet and as tech savvy as I am, getting dressed and prettied up is just way too much work for me to sit in front of my phone and chat with the world.  I would really love to though.

I mention the whole YouTube thing because somewhere in all my watchings, I discovered that I’m a multicraftual.  Meaning… I do a bunch of different crafts.  In the past, I used to think I only have room for 1 hobby or 1 main thing. I can have little side things but really 1 main thing is it.  I only have room for so much stuff and there is only time for so many things.  But lately, that kind of thinking has gone the way of the dinosaurs.  I am doing 3 things right now – cross stitching, knitting, and quilting.  I know I haven’t posted much of anything on that front but believe me – I still call myself a quilter and I still think of myself as primarily that.  At some point in the near future I want to start sewing garments and stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, space is still an issue.  I only have so much room for yarn, floss, and fabric.  Of everything fabric and quilty things have taken over most of my craft space.  Knitting takes up very little space in comparison and cross stitching even less.  At least for me.  My yarn stash is just in one bookcase and I’m on a yarn diet for right now.  I went a little overboard on the yarn purchases last year and now I’m working my way through it.  Cross stitching takes up 2 drawers and I’m slowly putting kits together.  Before this recent cross stitch frenzy that has taken over me lately, I had a small box of stuff that fit in a little drawer.  I’ve probably tripled my stuff since then but that means 2 drawers full of stuff.

Time is still an issue too.  There’s only so much time in a day, week, month, year.  I primarily knit while I’m out of the house and cross stitch on one project during the week and a second project on the weekends.  Quilting is more difficult.  I’ve been stuck on this project:

Celtic Solstice
2/6/2017

Do you see that… I finished the top in February 2017.  It took me the next YEAR to finish the back:

Celtic Solstice
The back, not yet finished
Daaaang, that’s big!
2/15/2018

And in the meantime, the place I used to rent a long arm at (Barron’s) got rid of their long arm and I no longer have a place to quilt it.  This is a king size quilt.  I ended up just biting the bullet and wrestling it under my machine. Yes, my domestic sewing machine!

Quilting Celtic Solstice
9/2018

I do have a Bernina 790 and that machine has a great big throat so that helps.  But, it’s still crazy and I hate it.  It’s been sitting there for the past few weeks. I’m about half way through the quilting but I am not feeling like doing this right now.  In fact, I probably will not get back to it until the last weekend in September.  Next week I’m going on a quilt retreat!

So I haven’t been doing much quilting this past couple of years because this humongous quilt was occupying way too much space in my brain.  What can you say, it’s a king size quilt.  I don’t even have a king size bed.  You may wonder why I just didn’t get it quilted?  I could have paid a long armer to quilt it for me and be done with it.  And if it was for me, I probably would have.  But this was a mystery quilt. It was Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt from a few years ago and I’m not especially in love with it.  Well I love the pattern but I’m not in love with the colors.  They are not my favorites.  That’s reason number one has to why I didn’t want to pay a lot of $$ for it to be quilted.  Then reason #2 – I’m giving it away.  I do not know yet who it will be going to but, someone will be getting it at some point.  So at this point, I just want this quilt to be done, given away, and out of my house forever.  Then I can move on to something else.  And with Barron’s no longer having a long arm for me to rent, I’ll need to figure something else out on that end.  I will probably by myself something in a couple of years.  The Bernina long arm is too much money.  But I may get a sit down machine.  It will not take up as much space as a long arm and will allow me to get these quilts quilted.  So over the next two years, I’ve decided to just get the tops and back ready and build up a pile of quilts to be quilted.  These are my thoughts and things can change over time but, this is what I’m thinking of doing.

I would like to post more often but I find that I get hung up on the picture part of the blog.  I do not have problems taking pictures, but putting my watermark and uploading a pic to wordpress seems to be a major hang up for me.  I do have more things to say but I’ve got to go give our dog a bath, so I will need to come back and tell you more of what’s going on.

I miss blogging and writing.

<3,

Melanie

Cross Stitch, an update – August, 2018

Progress… When I look at these close up every day, I can see I’m making progress but it doesn’t feel like much.  But when I step away and look at it from a distance I get excited about what is coming alive under my hands.  Then when I take weekly pics, it’s even more exciting because the progress is very obvious and I’m amazed at how much I got done over a week.  That is even more obvious when I look at the monthly pics.  My last updated pics on this blog for both Mama’s Bukid and Gamer were from July 31.  Here are the pics from the end of August.  They are amazing and beautiful!  I ❤ it so much right now.

“Mama’s Bukid” …

Here’s where I was last time:

Mama’s Bukid
July 31, 2018

Here’s where it is now:

Mama’s Bukid
8/31/2018

 

Gamer Nouveau

Here’s what it looked like last time:

Gamer Nouveau
7/31/2018

Here’s what it looks like now…

Gamer Nouveau
8/31/2018

Gamer Nouveau
8/31/2018

My next goal for September is to finish row 8 and 9 for Mama’s Bukid and to finish pages 3 and 4 for Gamer.

Happy Sunday!

Happy Stitching!

~Melanie

 

 

Cross Stitch, an update – week 30, 2018

It’s been a long while since I posted an update as to where I am with my cross stitch projects.

“Mama’s Bukid” …

Here’s where I was last time:

Mama’s Bukid
4/10/2018

Here’s where it is now:

Mama’s Bukid
July 31, 2018

 

Gamer Nouveau

Here’s what it looked like last time:

Gamer Nouveau
4/10/2018

Here’s what it looks like now…

Gamer Nouveau
7/31/2018

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Stitching!

~Melanie

 

 

Getting back into things

I’m back. I’ve been back but I’ve not posted anything on here because I haven’t been quilting as much. I’ve been knitting and cross stitching a lot.  I also haven’t been very good at taking pictures or writing.

Life has resumed to our normal routine but getting back into blogging hasn’t made it back into my program.  I hope this little post will help me break through and post more regularly.

~happy crafting.

Melanie

Travel Diary – Day 3: Milan Cathedral (Duomo) and Lake Como

We’re still in Milan.  We will be here a few days while we explore the surrounding vicinity.  My sleep pattern is still out of whack.  Of course, my sleep pattern was never very good even stateside but it’s definitely not normal even for me.  I woke up at 2am Italy time and could not go back to sleep.  So what does one do when they can’t sleep?  They knit.  And I finished my Day 2 blog post. And facetimed with the kids.  Next thing I know it’s 5 and I work for a bit – check emails and forward work over to team members to take care of while I’m away.  Then it’s 6 and I have to get ready for 7am breakfast with our friends.  Thank goodness we got to breakfast that early as there was no line and we were able to have our pick of the tables.  We ate to our heart’s content and then took the yellow line (M3) to the Milan Cathedral.  We’re starting to become familiar with the public transit and it’s wonderful. The prices are very affordable and we’re able to get around easily.

At the Cathedral or Duomo we bought a 3 day pass and since there was no line, we decided to just go in.  It was beautiful.  There is just so many pieces of art everywhere I can’t post all the pics here.

 

The best thing I saw was this work of art.  I think it is needlepointed and when we go back to the Museum and the shop I am going to look for better pictures of it and more information.  I have no idea what it is called despite a brief search on Google.  If you know, please pass that info on.

After wondering around inside we took the lyft to the rooftop and saw a glorious view of Milan.  If you are scared of heights, this is not the place for you.  I am scared of heights and it was awful and yet a great experience at the same time.  The first part walking along the sides of the roof tops was fine.  I didn’t look down and we took some marvelous pictures.

But then there were another set of steps leading to the very top of the roof.  The first set of steps took you straight up and was very narrow and very steep.  I made it up slowly my hand always touching the rail, the wall, anything that would make me feel better but at the top of that set of stairs I had to stop and regroup.  I didn’t think I would go the next set of stairs. It was just too scary.  I didn’t take pictures but I’ll have to check out the hubby’s phone to see if he has any that would show you what I mean.  I stood there for a few minutes and after composing myself made it up the next set of stairs.  This set was even narrower and with some people going down on the left and other people going up on the right it made it a difficult journey.  It was enclosed and spiraled up.  I latched onto the rail and took one step at a time.  Once I was at the top, I took some fabulous pictures of the aerial view of Milan.  But it was hot and it was very high.  So after a bit of rest quickly went back down.

 

 

 

By this time, the place was filling up and it was getting hot.  We decided it was time to head over to Lake Como.  We walked to the Cardona train station.  Technically it was .7 miles but as we had no idea where we were going we didn’t always go the direct route and it took forever.  My legs were tired.  We learned upon arriving at Cardona that we could have taken the Subway system, specifically the Red Line (M1) from the Duoma and take that to Cardona.  From there we took a train an hour to Lake Como.  It was basically the end of the line and I think was called Como de Lago Nord or something like that.  We got out, had lunch, and then walked around a bit.  Again, we took a lot of pictures.

 

This place was more shopping oriented and on the advice of my cousin-in-law we stopped at Grom for Gelato and Beretta’s for their famous Nuvola.  Since I’m not much of a shopper it was just nice to walk around and take in the ambiance, small streets, and architecture.  And when I was able to stop and rest a bit, knitted on this month’s socks.

 

And when we were tired, we just went back the way we came and about two hours later arrived at our hotel to rest.  I ended up falling asleep and waking up at 10pm to thunderstorms.  Hopefully those thunderstorms go away by the time the sun comes out.  Tomorrow, we have a 3 hour walking tour scheduled ending with a trip to see the Last Supper.  I’m excited about this and hopefully the rain goes away so I can enjoy it fully.

Today’s Step Count: 17,640

~Happy Travels!

Melanie

Travel Diary – Day 2: Milan

We got up around 4pm and walked around Milan.  I apologize now for the heavy photos and for all the selfies I took.  For up to date selfies and photos follow me on Instagram at @thousandneedles.  I’m going to try to upload photos and details here within a day or two of the experience but if I get too busy or tired I may give up this experiment.

The hubby and I hung out in the lobby and I knitted for a bit while we waited for our friends to come down.

Quite a few of the eateries we went to were closed and were just getting ready to open for dinner so we kept walking.  That was a surprise for us but it must be a Milan or Italy thing.  We ended up at Crocetta and our waiter was fantastic and the food yummy!

Oh my god!  It was so good.  I just stopped talking while I enjoyed my sandwich and cappuccino.

We walked a little bit further and found ourselves in the Piazza del Duomo. And we just started taking pictures…

 

We couldn’t get into Duomo as they were already closed but we got a lot of outside pics.  We will be going back in the next few days.

 

Next to the plaza is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and every where I looked there were quilt patterns.

 

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I am not including all the pictures here but after I finally stopped looking at the ground I looked up and it was glorious.  I’ve seen pictures of these before, in movies, online, etc.  But the experience is not the same and I am in awe of the talent and creativity and genius that went into these works of art.

We walked a lot and took a lot of pictures.  Here are highlights of a few of them.

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We finally started back and made it to our hotel to use the restroom and rest a bit before going out again to buy necessities – water.  Stopped at a pizzeria before returning for good at 10pm.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely.  And I hope I can keep up with all the walking we’re doing.  Today’s step count: 14,880!  Tomorrow’s plan: Lake Como.

~ Happy travels!

Melanie

Travel Diary Day 1 – Out of LA

I haven’t posted in awhile again because life took over. Over the last few weeks I’ve been prepping for the hubby’s and my trip to Italy.  I’ve done very little crafty stuff other than the bit of knitting and cross stitching I’ve posted about on Instagram.  It’s amazing how it takes so much of me to get going on even a little bit of quilting.

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of time as I haven’t had a lot of sleep the last 24-48 hours but I wanted to start recapping the days before the memories are lost in a blur of travel.

We left Los Angeles early Sunday (5/6) morning.

Our friend, gave us a ride at 3am to make sure we were able to check in and go through security check for an international flight leaving at 7am.

LA freeway at 3am on a Sunday. There are always cars on the road.

Checked in some bags and headed off.  I was very nervous as I haven’t been on an international flight in years and never with the hubby.

Hubby and I at LAX
5/6/18

Our friends made us shirst that said “We’re off to Italy” so we took a group picture at LAX before starting our trip.

We were on an American Airlines flight with a layover at JFK before arriving at our final destination of Milan, Italy.  The first flight from LAX to JFK was the most uncomfortable ride ever. We had booked our flights on Expedia and we never selected our seats.  We didn’t know that we had to go on the Airlines website to select a seat.  As a result, the hubby and I didn’t sit next to each other. Instead I sat between two men.  Luckily, they were both very considerate and we all did our best to not get in each other’s ways.  It’s just a small space and I could not find a spot to get comfortable.

We landed at JFK for a 3 hour layover.  It was just enough time to grab lunch, relax a bit, stretch our legs and take a quick nap before boarding for the next flight.

Eating lunch at JFK

The second flight was much better.  Even though we didn’t select these seats either, the hubby and I got lucky.  We both had aisle seats and we were across from each other.  I thought the food was good and it was a fine ride.  I kept getting up to stretch my legs for the 8 hour flight to Milan.

And here we are at Milan’s airport.

We landed at Milan Monday, 5/7, at 8am.  The most difficult part was getting out of customs and out on the streets.  It was only difficult as there were only 2-3 attendants processing us and there were at least 2 flights full of people waiting to get through.  But once we saw a customs person, all they did was check our passports, stamp them, and wave us through.  We were a bit uncertain as to how to get to our hotel at this point.  But we all wanted to be adventurous and not spend money on a taxi.  Information at the airport told us what bus to take, we jumped on it, and made it to Central Station.  There we bought tickets for the subway/bus system and jumped on the yellow line (M3) and got to the stop nearest our hotel.  Even though our check in time was not until 2pm, they very nicely let us check in early at noon.   Where we all freshened up and took a long nap.

… stay tuned for tomorrow on Milan – day one!

~Happy crafting.

Melanie

Knitting Update, Week 15, 2018

 

  • My April Socks

Nestled Socks
Knitting Expat
Cosy Sock Club
4/12/2018

  • Kayla’s Weasley Sweater

Kayla’s Weasley Sweater
4/12/18

 

  • Land of Sweets Cowl
    4/12/2018

~Happy Knitting!

~Melanie

 

Cross Stitch, an update – week 15, 2018

“Mama’s Bukid” …

Here’s where I was last time

Mama’s Bukid
3/31/2018

Here’s where it is now:

Mama’s Bukid
4/10/2018

 

 

 

Gamer Nouveau

Here’s what it looked like last time:

Gamer Nouveau
3/31/2018

 

Here’s what it looks like now…

Gamer Nouveau
4/10/2018

Happy Thursday!

Happy Stitching!

~Melanie