2020 So Far - Again
Books,  Projects

2020 So Far – Again

I’m not really sure what my reporting schedule is for this year, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. Despite everything going on in my life, I have made progress in my reading and cross-stitching. Both provide a good way to relax and escape.

Reading challenge

Since my last report, I’ve read 12 more books for a total of 24 so far this year. According to Goodreads, I’m one book ahead of schedule in meeting my goal of 35, so I feel pretty good.

Most of the books I’ve read have been good ones. And even though my book club hasn’t met in person since February, we are continuing to choose new books each month and meet through Zoom. In September, we’re going to meet at a park in town, social distancing but still together in person.

Four of the twelve books were for book club. My pick was “Daisy Jones and the Six”. When coming home from Florida in early March, I was choosing books at the airport and this nice young woman recommended it. I thought it sounded like a great book for our group so I picked it up and saved it until it was my turn to pick.

I also read the second book by my niece, “The Mage Heir”, just in time for her third book to come out. Don’t let my 3 star rating fool you. It was well written but I’m just not into the fantasy genre.

I continue to read from my extensive inventory but I also sprinkle in a few new ones. I’m one who likes to read books in order and many of my favorite authors write series. As I’ve been reviewing my stash, I’ve discovered I am missing a few of the earlier books. I’ve also realized I’ve read a few out of order. Must have been before I realized there was an order.

One of my favorite authors has always been Dick Francis and his son, Felix, carried on the books after Dick died. I really liked the last one I read – Pulse – maybe because while it was about British horse racing, as usual, it was from a different perspective. I decided to try to catch up a little with the Francis books so I read two in August.

Cross stitch challenge

I feel pretty good about the progress I’m making with this year’s ABC challenge. I started out planning to do 14 projects. Of course, new opportunities present themselves and I don’t limit myself to the projects already planned. I am now up to 19 projects on my list, with a couple of larger ones in the wings as “optional”. I’m also thinking about doing another quick Christmas project. Not all of them are considered part of the ABC Challenge but I have included them in my logs.

I’ve completed 12 projects since the end of April. I had another 24 hours of cross stitch in July, which bumped up my numbers. I’m averaging 2.1 hours per day, which is pretty unbelievable. At least I think so. Obviously, the April and July marathon days help with that average!!

The two projects in red above were added for the July marathon. As you can see, I finished a small one during the marathon weekend and made good progress on the other, which I finished in August.

Bless Baby was not planned but I did it for my grandniece, born in May. I’m not usually one for baby announcement projects, but I knew my niece had planned to decorate her room with woodland animals. When I found this pattern, I knew I had to make it.

Miss Heart was a kit and it came with embellishments that I chose not to use. I did, however, replace the kit’s sequin hearts with red and pink button hearts from Just Another Button Company. I love their buttons and these worked out perfectly.

Scroll through to see the finished stitching.

  • Joy
  • Bee Merry
  • Halloween Calendar
  • Deer Friends
  • iss Heart
  • Unicorn Rainbow
  • Bless Baby
  • Gingham Greetings
  • Woof
  • Stitching Forever
  • Yikes

I took three of my finishes to the framer a couple of weeks ago and they were ready after about a week. I love that they get them done so quickly!! And I framed one project myself – 1998 Flag Alphabet – just in time for the 4th of July. I’d had a special frame for it probably since I bought the pattern in 1998 and I finally got to use it!!

Scroll through to see my framed projects.

  • Halloween Calendar - finished
  • Bless Baby - Finished
  • Miss Heart - Finished
  • Flag 2020 - Finished

If you look at my original ABC Challenge list of projects, I only have two to go. Stitching is such an escape for me. My favorite time of day is the evening when I sit with Tim and cross-stitch. I only wish we had a local store. I ran out of floss for one of my projects and had to take a break from it while I waited for a delivery. Good thing I had something else to work on. Ha!!

Other progress

If you recall, I also had a baking challenge planned for this year. I’ve tried a couple of things – cinnamon rolls and ravioli – but neither was a success. I’ve pretty much concluded this is not the year for baking. My heart just isn’t into trying something new, especially if it requires a lot of practice.

I’ve continued making face masks, when elastic became easier to find, and also made two isolation gowns for my friend’s mom’s long term care facility. I have plans to make a Christmas apron and already have the fabric for it.

I found the perfect pre-cut elastic for face masks. Two reasons I love it. First, it’s so soft, making it easier on the ears. Second, it has a silicone buckle on it that allows you to make it larger or smaller. They have lots of different colors but I chose white to see how I liked it. And you can’t beat the price. So check out SilverStarJackets if you’re still making masks.

I’d like to get several of my cross stitch projects finally finished and have plans to make some pillows and covered boxes.

I’m deep into card making, but that’s a post all by itself. Stay tuned!!

I hope by the end of the year to be able to show you many completely finished projects that I can either give as gifts or enjoy myself. There’s a little bit of a bright spot in 2020.

16 Comments

  • Caroline Taylor

    I hadn’t seen the precut elastic – that’s nice! I did find a cord elastic that is soft enough and I ordered the little doo hickies that you can put on to adjust the elastic but having it all cut and ready to go may be the way I go if I make some more masks. Ugh… I had hoped I would be done but looks like I may need some more.

    • Retired Introvert

      I thought I was done too but thought we all needed more. I think I have enough of the precut elastic to make 3 more. I can make them in my sleep at this point!!

  • Iris

    WOW, you have definitely been a busy cross stitcher and reader. Thanks for sharing your finished cross stitch projects. I’ve not stitched nearly as much as I normally would. Between working from home and trying to keep with with my design work, I’m about too tired to stitch. I seriously need to correct that.
    Grace & Peace,Iris
    http://www.IrisOriginalsRamblings.com

    • Retired Introvert

      I cross stitch to relax but there are times when I’m just too tired so I understand how you feel. I hope you can figure out how to change that. Thanks Iris.

  • Christie Hawkes

    Great progress on your challenges, Linda! I read Daisy Jones and the Six and enjoyed it. Good pick! I am happy for you that your book club is meeting in person soon. I’ve had a couple of socially-distanced lunches in the park with my team from work, and it was a nice break from all the Go-to-Meetings we’ve had online. Enjoy!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Christie. It will be so nice to actually see my book club friends again. Zoom is OK, but not quite the same. The only good thing about Zoom is no more travel time!!

  • Marty

    I am REALLY impressed with your reading output. For so much of the early shutdown I kept putting books down after only reading a page or two. I finally found my mojo around June or so, but you really get the prize. That’s a lot of books you’ve read. Well done!

    • Retired Introvert

      Pretty good considering most of my reading is at bedtime. That tells you how many nights I couldn’t sleep!! I get some of my best reading done in the middle of the night. Sad, but true. 🤣

    • Retired Introvert

      I hope the elastic you bought works out. I love what I used and would definitely order it again. Elastic has become a hot commodity!!

  • Patricia Doyle

    I finished a cross-stitch project I had been doing for 15+ years earlier on in this pandemic time. It made me realize I like the calming nature of the activity and bought a couple more small ones to do . Given my past speed, that means this set of flower prints might be done by 2030!

    I did spend a lot of time reading this summer… light reads – romance mostly. My book club(s) always seems to pick heavy reads (current read – set in the Spanish Civil war) or brand new books ($$$ & I often opt out when it’s $25 to buy the book!).

    I prefer reading to cross-stitching …another reason that new project will be a long term one! I wish you’d divvy up your top reads a bit more – if I had to read one on your list, which would it be?

    • Retired Introvert

      My book club also seems to navigate towards the heavy reads or at least those that are supposed to spur more thought. My choices tend towards the entertainment side, because as I’ve said, I like an escape. I don’t like to read to become depressed. And while I like to learn, that’s not the type of book I read for pleasure. However, sometimes I’m surprised by a choice so it’s good for me to have the variety.

      Hmmm. One book to read? It depends on what you like, I think. If you like suspense, you might like “Behind Closed Doors”. If you like something more in the “chick lit” genre, read “The Girl He Used to Know”. If you like mysteries, any of the books by Lisa Gardner, Lisa Scottoline, or Felix Francis would be a good option. “Daisy Jones and the Six” is not like most books, as it’s told from an interviewer’s perspective but I liked that approach.

      I will take your comment to heart and try to differentiate my favorites more in the future. Maybe even rank them? That will be tough!!

      Thanks Pat.

  • Erica/Erika

    Hi Linda, You remind me how reading and creating is a great, relaxing escape and yet it feels like progress. I love your tables to keep track. I have never kept track of the many books I read over the years. In retrospect, I should have kept track. I will remember detailed things about them, and yet many times, I forget the titles. Since I began detailed work with my hands in my career, I stopped things like crotchet. I cannot imagine the amount of time it takes for you to cross stitch. The results are beautiful. The Halloween Calendar is very intricate. You are an inspiration, Linda. A great post!

    • An’Nyce

      I really liked “Daisy and the Six”. I read the book, but I hear the audiobook is fabulous. I may have to listen to that sometime.
      Have you read Louise Penny books? I’m on the 4th in the large series. They are very good, in my opinion.
      I am still on my counted cross stitch from March. I think it was bigger than my abilities. I probably need some smaller ones to feel like I’m getting somewhere! I LOVE the Halloween one that you did. That was a large project!

      • Retired Introvert

        Ooh, does the audio version include the songs? That would be great.
        I have not read anything by Louise Penny. I’ll have to check her out.
        Smaller cross stitch projects are great for seeing progress and feeling a sense of accomplishment. I like a good mix of large and small. The Halloween one was fun to do with the different daily designs. And it used a small number of colors so I didn’t feel like I was switching all the time. The Rainbow Unicorn probably used 25 colors and it was tiny!!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Erica!! I don’t know what I would do without these stress relievers. And I love seeing the progress. I will cross stitch as long as my eyes and hands hold out!!

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