Stitching Sanity in 2022

Greetings, dear pond readers! It has been a minute but I am here to share a whole bunch of crafty sewing projects that I did in 2022. I have written about some things like the cuddly 20-sided-dice that the Wee Bairn collaborated on with me and the scarf we made together. However, even though there are a couple projects I’ve been working on that I don’t have pictured below because I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the recipients, the rest of the stitchery I did in 2022 is shown.

In 2022, I finished a plethora of cuddly projects to keep family members warm. Few things are more vital to a sane, comfy life than being cozy in a warm blanket and I delight in making blankets, particularly for those I love. As pond readers know, quillows are one of my biggest, go-to projects. While I like making the blankets to go with the pillow pocket, it is loads faster to buy a blanket and affix a quilted pocket and that is what I do most of the time if I can. For two of the three quillows pictured in the slideshow below, I used fuzzy blankets that I bought and added the pockets to fit my space-loving family members. I did make the blanket for the pictured Star Trek quillow. The blanket is a match to one I made years ago for my sibling and I kept putting off making one for me because why I would make something for me? Yeah…I need to work on the whole “self-care” thing. In 2022, I actually did make some progress and made my own Trekkie quillow. It is mega comfy. Q’pla!

For the kiddos in my life, Wee Bairn and Steggie, I also made multiple cuddly things. Both kiddos got new fleece sleeping bags. I made the Wee Bairn a roll-up travel sleeping pad out of fleece and foam backed interfacing. For Christmas, both kiddos got new blankets. Steggie got a simple, double-sided fleece blanket while Wee Bairn got a super soft quilt with a medieval knights and dragons theme. A lot of the pictures are taken on top of my beloved Mostly Recycled Flannel Quilt which has survived admirably well all these years. I did take a shortcut on the Wee Bairn’s quilt. Instead of putting batting in a middle layer, it is a pieced front of flannels and cotton sewn directly to a backing of fleece and Minky. I cannot emphasize enough how supremely cuddly this quilt is. I got a seriously dirty look from the Wee Bairn when I was caught in the act of huddling under the quilt after snipping some straggling threads. The quilt has since been zealously guarded in the Wee Bairn’s sleeping bag in a manner that would impress all the dragons pictured on its fuzzy surfaces. Steggie is also a big fan of the fuzzy bird blanket and has been enthusiastically cuddling it since its arrival.

One thing I’ve been working on throughout the year but particularly during the 12 days of Christmas has been my Scrappy Memory Quilt. It is filled with bits and blocks from previous projects for friends and family as well as scraps of misfit blocks from my favorite local quilt shop’s end of year scrap-fest. It’s funky. It looks weird. No pattern has been followed and only the barest minimum of design principles about dark and light contrast. Working on it has been a joy. The pure dopamine rush of pulling scraps out of my basket and fitting them together as I bop to the rhythm of various Chillhop jazz mixes and sundry podcasts has been a balm to the soul. Something about straight sewing work clicks for me in an elemental way. I can hardly wait to sew it all together on the front and then to a pieced fleece back. At last, my hoard of fleece remnants will be used up to good effect.

Scarves were another thing that I made a bunch of in 2022. They are easy to sew, elegant to wear, and somewhat addictive. Because some are intended as gifts, I’m only showing one that I made for my birthday using fabric from one of Spoonflower’s fill-a-yard infinity scarf templates but I have made two others and have big plans for more. The other pictured scarf is a super fuzzy cuddly one that the Wee Bairn helped me sew in the spring. It is still mostly used as a lasso but that’s okay.

For as much as I beat myself up about not finishing everything I want to in the time I expect to finish, I’m struck that I managed to finish eight different blankets in one year as well as multiple scarves. The top of one secret snuggly fleece backed quilt is pinned and awaiting sewing on my sewing machine table. My Scrappy Memory Quilt is nearly ready to piece together. The Muppet Quilt I started for the Wee Bairn in 2021 only has a couple rows left to finish. I can’t believe how many projects that I finished for myself. Even though self-care is a struggle, I am impressed that I started to show up for myself in 2022. Even though 2022 had a lot of hard, mega-rough bits that kept me away from the pond as well as interfered in other ways in my life, I managed to keep things together and persevere stitch by stitch. None of this would have been possible without my awesome spouse who gifted me with time to sew uninterrupted many times through the year. I would be lost without him. Our Wee Bairn also proved to be an invaluable help as presser foot operator, pin picker-upper, and reminding me when it was high time to get it up and move about. I’m optimistic that I will continue to sew some more mega cozy projects and finished some unfinished objects (U.F.Os.) in 2023.

Close-up of Another Project I finished in 2022 by E. A. Schneider

What are you working on, dear pond readers? Any U.F.O.s you’re completing out there? Do you have crafty ambitions for 2023 Please, leave a comment or question below and thanks for stopping by the pond today.

NaNoWriMo 2022 Wrap-up & Transition

NaNoWriMo 2022 Wrap-up & Transition

Lithobates sylvaticus by E.A. Schneider

Good evening, dear pond readers! I come to you tonight with a super duper short mini-post about how my NaNoWriMo word count looked on 11/30/2022 at midnight. At the end of this year’s effort, I clocked in at a respectable 4,535 words on my short story project. I feel like I can finish this draft in time for the submission call I’m working toward and it’s an exciting feeling. This project has been rattling around in my brain for years in one form or another and I’m excited that it is now blooming in ink across my journal pages and into my word processor. NaNoWriMo did what it does best: give me a structure and inspiration to try out a new project. Thanks, NaNoWriMo! Now comes the transition into December writing and editing. There’s only about two weeks left for me to finish a submission ready draft for this call. It’s going to take a lot of focus and creative energy to make this happen. My crafty elf instincts have been strong since Thanksgiving week and I’ve made a few holiday projects with the Wee Bairn. It’s all too easy for me to follow bunny trails of other crafty projects during the year but it is especially tempting during Advent. Instead of creative writing today I indulged in hours of beading and podcasts with tea for the first time in years and it felt luxurious. Sometimes, following your whim is the best creative plan and I’m energized to write more tonight. No matter how far I get on this story, I feel excited to be working on this and being creative. This calls for more cute wildlife pictures.

Sandhill cranes in summertime by E.A. Schneider

How did your NaNoWriMo project wrap-up, dear reader? Are you still writing or creating some other magic this December? Please, leave a comment or question below and thanks for stopping by the pond today.

NaNoWriMo Winding Down

Good evening, dear pond readers. As promised, I’m checking in to share a NaNoWriMo word count update, some encouragement, and more of my photography. Hopefully, this brightens your week and if you’re frantically novel-ing, gives you a shot of energy.

Between yesterday’s 61 hours and counting post and this one, I’ve added 1,267 words to my work-in-progress which means my 2022 word count is 4,358. Cue the happy dancing!

Red Panda Lunch by E.A. Schneider
Okay, it’s a Red Panda lazily eating bamboo and no one is dancing. Still, Red Pandas are pretty incredible and make me want to dance.

My word count is modest but it is within the ~6000 word range I’m trying to reach for a submission call in December. Fingers crossed that the story and my writing momentum carries on without running away on me and I can finish this. You know what, dear pond reader? You can finish your writing project, too. Whether your NaNoWriMo goal is 50,000 words or 500, you got this. Persevere in both imagination and writing through the last 24 hours of November and beyond.

Koi in an Autumn Pond by E.A. Schneider

Today, I got a perfectly lovely rejection from a publisher about a story. Again. After double-digit rejections, part of me is tempted to shelve this story and go do something else with my time for a while. Thankfully, that is a very small part. Rejections like this energize me to persevere and I immediately sent my beloved draft off to the next place on my possibilities list. I believe in my story too much to quit, especially since I keep getting all these friendly rejections that are emphatic in their encouragement. There is a venue somewhere in the world for my story.

Vibrant Autumn Sky by E.A. Schneider

What are you persevering on, dear pond readers? How is NaNoWriMo 2022 going for you? Please, leave a comment or question below, keep creating, remember to wash your hands, and thanks for stopping by the pond today.

NaNoWriMo ’22 Final 61-hour Countdown

Autumn Display by E.A. Schneider

Greetings, dear pond readers! For all aspiring novelists out there participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I know that this is the final, nerve-wracking sprint to the finish as the hours tick by faster than your word count ticks up. It’s going to be okay. No matter how far you’ve come on your writing, you’re already a winner because you tried. If you haven’t started to put words down yet, that’s okay, too. December, or anytime really, is a perfectly lovely time to start writing and NaNoWriMo HQ has write-ins and opportunities year-round. I’m writing this pep-talk to encourage myself as much as you. We’re in this delightful creative adventure together. I didn’t meet my goals. I didn’t write every day or every week consistently. I haven’t finished a draft. Maybe for the first time in a long time, I’m not beating myself up about this. I’m alive, my family is alive, I’m wearing pants, and I’m still plugging away writing. This is enough. So far, I’ve done 3,168 words on a new story draft and I think that I’m about halfway through the story. I’m optimistic that I will have a draft completed in time to meet the December 31st submission deadline that I’m trying to make and that is a victory. It is also a victory that I am finally making progress on a story idea that has been knocking around my head for years. I’m as excited to see how it turns out as you, dear pond readers.

Slowly the Slug by E.A. Schneider

I took today off to recover from the exciting stress of a long holiday weekend and I’m glad that I did. Having multiple sclerosis has taught me the hard way to give myself space to recover from stress, joyous or otherwise, and I’m privileged enough to be able to do so. While I don’t do this as often as I probably should, I’m getting better at planning ahead to make it happen. I am not likely to make much progress on my NaNoWriMo project today but I’m going to try to do something and I will post an update on here with how far I managed to go.

Autumn Path of Gold by E.A. Schneider

How is your NaNoWriMo going, dear pond readers? What creative projects are rejuvenating you? Please, leave a comment or question below and thank you so much for stopping by the pond today. I’m grateful for all of you.

NaNoWriMo Beginnings

NaNoWriMo Beginnings

Happy Fall, y’all! By E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear pond readers! As part of my NaNoWriMo ambitions I’m going to try and post here with word count updates as often as I can. I’m up to 430 words and I’m working on a couple ideas I found in my ideas notebooks that I think I can polish up for a submission call. Being an inveterate journal dragon, I have many many many notebooks in various stages of use and assignment of purpose. Most of my hoard is sitting on shelves awaiting my whim to use them for something other than decorative encouragement. Last night, I decided that one particular fancy journal I got at my last anime convention was the one for 2022 NaNoWriMo. I’m proud of myself for not just hoarding it for beauty’s sake alone. Also, it has very nice paper that takes the fountain pen ink beautifully well with little pressure on my hands and that makes the writing experience that much more satisfying. Here’s hoping I can keep up my burgeoning spurt of momentum on this project. For more inspiration, here is another recent cute animal picture from one of my zoo photoshoots.

Lounging bear by E.A. Schneider

How are you doing creatively, dear pond readers? Are you making progress on your NaNoWriMo word count goals? What are you doing to stay motivated?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.