Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Friday; Happy Winter Hands :D

Not an inspiring day for titles 'round here, but I did want to pop in and share my progress on my New Year's start, which is BBD's Mystery Sampler.

You may remember,
Last Week

This Week!:

I definitely like the warm plum of the "B". :)

And, here I was thinking I hadn't really gotten anything done. I'm aiming for a pace of "just doing a little" each day. It doesn't matter how little, but just to put some in. This isn't a piece I'm stitching for the fun of it--oh, no! I want this baby on my wall!! :D

SO, It's easy for me to get impatient with my slow stitching. I missed a day or two, and one day I stitched "a lot", but for me I'm impressed with my progress! I think I'd like to keep it up with a weekly photo log so I can watch it move along. When you stare at it hour after hour your eye just can't see the progress anymore, perhaps.


This week I've been seeing more and more reports around blogland of super-dry hands that complicate or even prevent stitching! Oh, no! I've been so blessed this year to avoid this plague (as compared to previous years), so I thought I'd share what I've been doing. I'd say that my hands are less than 10% "off" of their warmer-weather state, and they'd have to be 60% off before my stitching would be compromised.

I do feel like I have to warn that the supplies altogether aren't cheap at the outset, but what in stitching is? :P

Even if you don't change your beauty products, changing the way you use them can help.

Key point: Shower or bathe in the evening before retiring to bed, and IMMEDIATELY do your moisturizing routine. Personally I wrap my wet hair, pat off just enough water from body that I'm not dripping and go directly to the vanity in my bedroom where I have my stuff laid out. I take care of my face, then my hands, then my feet (due to the different products).

I consider the facial care products I use to be expensive, so I'm careful not to contaminate them and I also keep a small 1-2 oz. "mister" filled with distilled water with them. I mist my face then apply some lotion to extend the moisturizer a bit.

Right now I use various things, but my favorite commercial products are made by Shiseido.

Late in the fall I was out of cotton to apply my pre-lotion tonic. It's a thin liquid, and is used at the same step where you would use a toner, but it contains no alcohol and is very moisturizing. Speaking of shiseido, I'd say that their lotion is "okay, I guess" used alone, but that changes to "Amazing--Works Absolutely!!!" when you use this softener first. So, back to the story, I just splashed some in my palm and then patted it over my face instead of hunting down a cotton round. And then, when I was ready to moisturize my hands, I noticed that my "stitching pads" which had started to get a bit rough had "settled right down". So,

• Try using Shisedo's "Balancing Softener N" from their Benefience line on your crackly digits. Do this before using hand lotion. Hey, it works on your face, too (lol)! I'd advise against using the "Enriched Balancing Softener N", because it contains some alcohol, which will be drying. Side-by-Side the one you want is the lighter colored liquid of the two.

I follow immediately with hand cream, and again I've been having good results with another Shiseido product:

• "Advanced Essential Energy Moisturizing Cream".

Another key point is to save your hands from dishes and other too rough-n-tumble tasks. I found that re-useable dishgloves were giving me a reaction because no matter how nicely you let them dry stuff grows in them, so I switched to these. I do feel they're a little wasteful, but I don't have a better solution. They are also great for dying fabric! :3

Just in case I missed 'em:

• Consistency is key: if you want good hands every day, you have to care for them every day. I moisturize at night for 2 reasons: 1. I don't like the feel of lotion on my hands when I'm trying to use things (Books, stitching, video game controllers), so if I'm going to sleep it's a good chance. The second reason has to do with bathing, and gets its own bullet point!

• Moisturizing after bathing is TOO IMPORTANT. The goal is not to get some parafin-and-perfume gunk all over you and drenched in to replace your skin's lost moisture so it will stop cracking. Most lotions (even the ones I use) have some stuff that's technically not good for you. Like a scent. Scent is perfume, and Perfume contains alcohol, which drys the skin. Okay.

The Point of moisturizing is to seal in your body's natural moisture, and create a barrier between you and the harsh winter air (indoors and out). If you're suffering from dry skin, the wettest it will be is during the few minutes after you step out of the bath. This is because you are now a sodden sponge. Picture placing a new sponge in the sink, and turning a stream of water on it. Once it's completely soaked, you can carefully pick it up--there is a stage where it stops dripping, but it is still so sodden that if you don't support the weight just so it will squeeze itself out a bit. This is the point at what you want to seal yourself :) (Gross, eh?) You want to lightly pat yourself just enough so that you are not streaming water everywhere. If you are toweling vigorously, you've stolen your own water. However, the dryest you will ever be is about 15-20 minutes after that washing, when all the water that you poured into yourself evaporates TAKING ALONG WITH IT MOISTURE YOU HAD BEFORE BATHING. This is why you hear that too-hot baths or showers are bad for your wintry skin. Actually, they are okay, but you must be quick to "seal" and protect with a moisturizer.

I hope this soliloquy is able to help even one person enjoy better comfort and stitching this winter; I'm praying these for all of you, my friends! It may seem like a small thing but it can be big in your quality of life!

I want to especially thank everyone who has included me in their thoughts and prayers regarding my hair loss--I'm happy to report that it has stopped falling out! :D This is a HUGE Happy Dance for me! Now, to focus on growing-in!

I'm off to do some chores before a friend's birthday tonight--have a great stitchy weekend, everyone!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Giveaway (Stash Clear) Winners!

Happy Thursday, all!

Now that the Holiday Dust is settling, I figured I'd better get on with determining the winners of a little de-stash giveaway I ran...on December 2nd. Now, I know I said I'd do these *whenever* but I didn't quite plan on it taking over a month for me to get to work!

Thanks to everyone who entered; I wish I could magically multiply these items and give to all. I was touched anew with everyone commiserated with me or encouraged me about designing while sorting the entries! Thank you everyone for your kind friendship--I certainly don't feel like I was holding up my half of the relationship with so many of you this past quarter, so thank you even more with that consideration!


Item 1: Gentlemen Quaker by Jardin Prive:
Hazel of Quietly Stitching!

Hazel, you definitely do have to be in it to win it! :D You were actually random's second pick--the first lady wasn't playing.

Item 2: Santa Arrives Tonight Ornament by Homespun Elegance:
Myra of Gr8dame's Place!

Friend, I was momentarily heart-stricken when I read your entry for this one initially--I thought, "Oh, no--did I actually promise this one to Myra already!? I need to ask her and if I did I can just get another one and send it to her." But I still haven't done that...but then you won the random draw! Either way, it seems to be destined for you and I hope you enjoy it as I did!

Item 3: Antique Book:
Daffycat of It's Daffycat

Sharon, I'm so glad that you'll be giving this a home! I remember really admiring a photo for a giveaway that you stitched because of the styling you did with a book-themed background! I hope that this will be a useful addition to your collection! :D I don't think I have your postal addy, so please email it to me.

Also, if you got around to checking out Bookmooch and decided to join I'd like to give you 5 mooch points. :) Just include a link to your BM profile in that email and I'll use it to "smooch" them to you.

Item 4: 5 Bookmooch Points:
Omashee aka Barb of Barb's Stitches.

Just as I said above, please email me a link to your BM profile and I'll smooch 'em over! Enjoy!

Winners, I'll also send you emails as soon as I finish this post!


Now, Bonus Round:

• Absolutely NO model stitching happened this week--oops!

• I've been adding a strand to BBD Mystery most days this week and had a bit of progress (and then the frogs struck!) BUT I'm liking the linen more now b/c I think it makes the green look good. And there's an awful lot of green on this one. A green that looks ugly on the skein, but good on the linen. So, I'm gonna kick back and go for it. However slowly. :)

• Animal Crossing. It's a game that some people play, but for me it's more like faith I practice. And, this week I'm back on that sauce for the first time in about 10 months. :D

• Still saving for a new computer. Seems like I've been saving and saving, but still have only amassed about 1/3 of the purchase price. Before tax. Le Sigh. So, I'm just thankful that my Precious Powerbook (Now "'Ol Faithful" in it's 7th year!) hasn't failed me yet! "Baby, you may be legacy, but you you're hangin' in there!~"

I'm so looking forward to various things. Like being able to run Google's Chrome browser. Or watch youtube. I actually hate youtube, but...It'll be nice to be able to see (read stop having to explain to friends who own better-endowed rigs and don't listen to what I say that I can't run 'em!)what these vid links my friends send me contain. It would also be nice to run Skype AND Firefox AND a third application at the same time, lol!

• Please include us in your prayers--Health for us and Marc in particular with this cold he picked up from work--we need it to stay out of his ears! :) You are all in my prayers especially those who have asked and those in the path of this snow we're expecting.

• I picked up a whole striped bass on my way home from walking my first ever ebay sale (an old calculator) to the Post. I'm so excited by the fact that it's reposing in my 'fridge as I type--we're headed over to a friend's house who makes the most amazing food. I'm so excited that we seem to be reviving our weekly dinner tradition with them. :D You should taste his stir-fried broccoli! Oh, if only I had a gas stove. And a real wok. And was Chinese. ;)

Yours Fishfully,