- Posts for cross-stitching tag
2024 Plans and More | Our Prairie Nest
2024 Plans and More

We are well into 2024 and it has already been a little bit of an adventure! My son got his driver’s license which activated Worried Mom Mode. But he seems to be doing just fine, driving himself to and from work, and wherever else he pleases. We had an awful cold snap and treacherous snow early in January. Now we’re experiencing much warmer late winter weather.

Of course, the big news at the start of the year was the recall election in Plattsmouth. Many people worked hard to fight against an extremist school board member and won! The voters showed that they wouldn’t stand for censorship and prejudice. This means all of us are now watching our school board races very closely. In Plattsmouth, it appears that there are only two Christofascists on the ballot, and they are Ralph Riedel and Erin Anthony. They both supported Terri Cunningham-Swanson’s book banning endeavor. Erin’s husband, Robert Anthony, is also a trash human being who runs a hate group.

A site called Nebraska Meadowlark did a detailed piece on the entire matter, including the crazy language these people use, like “It’s not a ban; we’re ‘curating’ books.” Obviously, that’s complete BS. Christofascists and Moms for Liberty are shoving their personal beliefs on everyone else, and let’s not get into the fact that Moms for Liberty isn’t about actual liberty or freedom or rights; they just believe in controlling everyone else, like typical small-minded conservatives.

Generally, I don’t care what these crazies believe or don’t believe. I don’t care that they’re homophobic and racist, and if they are teaching their children creation myths instead of science. Whatever. I’m all about live and let live. They can live their small, scared, hate-filled lives as long as they keep it to themselves. That’s not my problem.

But when they start banning books, discriminating against people of color and LGBTQIA people, pretending racism doesn’t exist, trying to control women’s bodies, or doing anything else that pushes their irrational fears and conspiracy theories on everyone else, they make it my problem.

Election night was equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. We won and I took several positives away from the experience. First of all, there are so many wonderful, smart, caring people here and I’m so glad to have met or deepened my acquaintance with them. Second, if not for a small echo chamber of hateful extremists, I would probably have never read many of the books they were trying to ban from the school libraries. The books I chose to read were fantastic! I had already read a number of the ones on her “no-no list,” because my favorite series was on there. I also read The Hate U Give, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Triangles, and they were all poignant stories about the experiences of racism, growing up, and dealing with struggles and challenges in life.

It goes to show that just because you don’t like something, that doesn’t mean you have a right to deprive everyone else of it. The same goes for all of us. I’m so proud to be part of the group of incredible people who stood up to this nonsense.

Another wonderful thing that came out of the experience was my decision to start participating in both my school’s PTO and a grassroots organization that stands by public schools, teachers, and students. This continued devotion of my time and energy to positive endeavors is another way I get to step up and do good things for my community.


What else has been going on? Well, I fully finished two cross-stitches: “Suffrage Act” by Little House Needleworks and “More Than Yesterday” by Stitchrovia. Currently, I’m working to complete “Summer Quaker” by Lila’s Studio. After that, I have 4 other projects to finish. I think I’ll focus on “Mother’s Arms” by Mirabilia, because I’ve had it sitting since about 2015. I didn’t put it in time out or anything like that. Life was just incredibly busy for me at that time and cross-stitching wasn’t much of a focus for me. It’s essentially a full coverage piece, so I think it will be good to complete it because I have an enormous one from Heaven & Earth Designs that I would like to start later this year. I also have the Modern Folk Embroidery 2024 SAL – “No Time Like the Present” – in progress and intend to finish it before the end of the year.

Besides those WIPs, I have about 16 other patterns that I’d like to do eventually. The full coverage is going to be a years-long investment of time and energy. There are smaller ones on my list that I may work on, but I don’t like having too many WIPs. Whether it’s my writing or stitching, being able to start something new is an incentive to finish a project.


I decided not to read as many books this year. Instead, I’m focused on only reading books in series that I’m currently enjoying or books that have been on my list for a while. I read House of Flame & Shadow, the third and possibly last of the Crescent City books. For now, anyway. Sarah J. Maas said her next book will bring us back to the ACOTAR universe, so I’m excited about that! Iron Flame is still sitting on my dresser, waiting to be read. Oops. I had preordered it and started reading the day it arrived, and that’s when one library hold after another became available to me. Now I’m ready to pick up Iron Flame again and get into it, but part of me wants to maybe wait until closer to the end of the year, depending on the release date for the next book in the series.


My genealogy goals are a variety of specific to vague. There are two writing goals: complete my family history book (exactly what it sounds like, some memories and thoughts for my children and potential grandchildren) (link grandchildren video) and refine an article I wrote about an ancestor to resubmit to a periodical for publication.

There are a few projects on my genealogist to-do list and I started delving into one recently. I’m trying to determine the maiden name of my ancestor, Elizabeth (unk) (Parks) Johnston. All I have on her is approximate information – about when she was born, a span of years during which she may have died, when she may have married her first husband based on the birth years of her children, etc. This is a whole other post, so I’ll get into it eventually.

All in all, 2024 seems to be a year of simplifying. I don’t want to do too much. Last year was a whirlwind and I want to take it down several notches, relax, enjoy my hobbies and my family and friends. Things feel different this year and many of my priorities are shifting.

October Journal | Our Prairie Nest
October Journal

October was such an eventful month, that I’m ready for hibernation. 🙂 I spent as much time as I could gathering petition signatures in hopes of initiating a recall election in the Plattsmouth School District, while also balancing fun Halloween events, gaming sessions, and a little bit of time for myself. I have more to say about the ongoing situation with book banning in another post.


In October, I made the mistake of finishing House of Sky & Breath, which means now I have to wait until January for the next book. ARGH. The ending has a tie-in to the ACOTAR series, so… now I wait. Fortunately, I spent most of October reading Iron Widow by Xiran Jay  Zhao and wow! That book was fantastic. I absolutely loved it. I will definitely read the sequel, Heavenly Tyrant, when it releases next year.


During the month of October, I returned my attention to Stay Gothy, a pattern by Grandma Be Wildin. She’s an adorable goth rendition of the Morton’s Salt Girl. Ta da! She’s so cute! I may change one little aspect of the pattern, but other than that, I am stitching as called for.

The fabric is Picture this Plus 14 count Aida in Dawn and, I have to say, the pictures of it online make it look much more green. That was the whole reason I originally purchased it, because I thought it would be fantastic for the Ouija Board stitch. But, no, it’s much more blue in person and it’s pretty, but it just didn’t scream Ouija to me. However, it’s perfect for Stay Gothy. I intend to stitch until it’s complete, since I don’t have any Yule or Christmas patterns. I’m not really a “Christmas stitcher” anyway, as much as I am an autumn, Halloween, goth, pop culture, and witchy stitcher. That said, if the right pattern came along, I would certainly go for it.

Stay Gothy by GrandmaBeWildin | Our Prairie Nest


We had a character death in Cyberpunk Red and it was so sad. Our Medtech died. Honestly, I’m surprised the rest of us didn’t die, too, because we were on an extremely difficult mission. It was a hard loss because, besides the character being the one to patch us up after battle, he was just a good dude. Naturally, the player made another character for the next session, but when you have a character death, you don’t just carry on without acknowledging it. The end of the session and the following session are usually a time of mourning, tying up the deceased character’s loose ends, and informing next of kin, if any. A new character is usually introduced at the appropriate time, whether in the next session or another down the road.

Genesys is also going well, though I feel like we aren’t following the story threads all the way to their ends just yet. We got sidetracked by fae and those aren’t easy to deal with. 

My D&D campaign is moving ahead and I’m very excited to play tonight (since I’m finishing this post on a Saturday). Because, speaking of threads, it’s time to pull a few together and see how it all goes down!


I didn’t see anything new in October. However, I also had very little time to plop on the couch and watch TV or movies. On the last Saturday night in October, I carved pumpkins while my daughter watched the new Haunted Mansion. I only caught bits and pieces of it, but it was a nice balance of a little bit creepy and very sweet. Rowan really enjoyed it.


We went to Bloom Where You’re Planted in Avoca with our Spiral Scouts circle. That is our family’s favorite pumpkin patch and, honestly, the only one I’ll visit. There is another one nearby, but it’s overpriced, crowded, and far too kitschy. Bloom Where You’re Planted has a more relaxed vibe to it, and I love the vintage aesthetic they cultivate, along with the pumpkins. It was a cool day, but the timing was perfect for some fall fun and picking pumpkins fresh from the patch!

I also have gotten involved in volunteering as a part of the PTO at my daughter’s school, which meant decorating for their Halloween event the last Friday of the month. In addition to the candy from that event, Rowan really enjoyed going trick or treat not once, but twice with friends. All in all, October went by too fast for me and I’m looking forward to a slower pace in November.

June Journal | Our Prairie Nest
June Journal

June passed in a blur and I’m not complaining. It was hot, which I don’t enjoy. I am definitely not a “summer person,” but I always try to find enjoyment in it, rather than complain about it. Summer is inevitable, after all!


This month was hit and miss for reading. I started with Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn and loved it. Four middle-aged women celebrating retirement from their career as assassins suddenly find themselves targeted for death by the very organization for which they worked. It was such a fun read – witty and fast-paced. 

I then read Weyward by Emilia Hart, which also has themes of women’s empowerment. The blurb was promising, but story was slow and felt disjointed. I didn’t really enjoy it, but the ending was satisfying.


In June, I continued working on Summer Quaker by Lila’s Studio and made an okay amount of progress. Pages 3 and 4 are complete. As of today (this picture is a few days old), I am almost done with page 2, and started on page 1. I also have some progress on pages 5, 6, 7, and 8. It would rock to complete Summer Quaker by the end of August, but I’m not going to pressure myself to get it done during the season. 

Summer Quaker | Our Prairie Nest


My D&D 5e campaign continues slowly, mostly because of scheduling challenges. But we manage to play once or twice a month. We had a literal “rocks fall, everybody dies” session, which was fun for me. It’s great when everything goes smoothly and easily for the players, and they are rewarded for their planning. I think it’s important for some sessions to be fun and easy, and others to be challenging and frustrating. I used to do XP levelling, but I’ve embraced milestone levelling and I feel like that works well, too.

The Genesys campaign is leading us to a necromancer and, possibly, a cult looking to resurrect a long-dead dragon general. At the end of June, that same group also rolled up characters for Cyberpunk Red. That campaign began July 7 and, well, I think I’m a little busy on Fridays and Saturdays, now. 

I haven’t been playing much as far as video games, other than doing my dailies on Animal Crossing. I just purchased Spiritfarer, but I’m not sure when I’ll start it.


I haven’t watched many shows or movies, but that’s because I prefer spending time outside, as long as it’s shady and cool, bringing my daughter swimming, visiting the library, or watching YouTube. On YouTube, I don’t subscribe to many channels. I like to keep it to 20 or fewer. The channels I follow are fellow Witches, Flosstubers (cross-stitchers), genealogy, Rachel Maksy, and Critical Role.


June has been a low-key summer month. We’ve stayed around town because we have a pool and beach here in our neighborhood/HOA. We went to MysticFest in Council Bluffs on June 4. We were there for our bake sale table for Spiral Scouts, which is our circle’s main fundraiser. My daughter had fun shopping all the different booths. She also did a good job of making change for people who stopped at the table to purchase baked goods. My husband made a huge batch of Snickerdoodles to contribute to the table and it was a good time.

June was a much better month than May. I don’t know what it was about May, but it was an oddly rough month. As I said, I’m not a “summer person” but I’m doing my best to take it for what it is, and make the most of it. I prefer slow living anyway, and June was a good month for it.

May Journal | Our Prairie Nest
May Journal

May was an interesting whirlwind of activity. I kept much busier than I expected, probably due to the unexpected. We had a school board member in the town where I live – but, thankfully, not for the school my daughter attends – decide to unilaterally remove “controversial” books from the shelves of the middle and high school libraries. It’s easy enough to learn more about her and her Christo-fascist agenda. She doesn’t hide it at all and she’s probably proud of it.

I attended the school board meeting at the beginning of the month to protest the decision, as did many other people, especially students, in the community. Even her own adult son stood up to tell everyone what a terrible human being she is and how hateful she is to anyone who is gay, like him. A few people spoke in favor of removing the books, all with the belief that they are “protecting children.” At this time, the person has gotten her way, which is really unfortunate. I don’t believe in imposing an agenda on anyone, but that is what this person is determined to do.

I trust and support librarians. School librarians have the education and training to select material that is appropriate for students to read. If a person does not want their child to read certain books, then it should be up to the parent to monitor their child’s reading habits and perhaps speak to the librarian. But it is not acceptable for someone to decide what everyone’s children may or may not access at public school libraries.

Public schools should be preparing our children for the world by teaching them critical thinking and providing a wide range of materials that introduce them to various perspectives. Exposure to a variety of ideas and points of view allows children to develop and articulate their own ideas and perspectives, and explain their reasoning. But some people fear children thinking for themselves. That’s what private schools are for, though. 😛


I read Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson. Normally, I don’t read mysteries, but I heard about this from a Youtuber I enjoy watching. It was funny and twisted, and I quite enjoyed it.


In May, I started a trio of landscapes, but also ordered Summer Quaker by Lila’s Studio. At first, I was going to wait until completing one of the landscapes to start it. But then I was going to wait until July, then June, and now… Well, I couldn’t help but start it! I don’t know if I can complete it by the end of the summer. That seems like a lofty goal, so we’ll see how far I get.


I had fun with the latest session of my D&D 5e campaign, putting the characters through a little puzzle dungeon with a ghost, family relics, and treasure. We’ll see how the next session goes as they reluctantly attend a ball.

The Genesys campaign is fun so far. It started off with some good old fashioned cultists, long lost artifacts, and a wacky wizard – all the makings of a classic adventure.


I watched The School for Good and Evil on Netflix, because I enjoyed the book when I read it a few years ago. The movie was surprisingly good. I definitely recommend it!

Doing my best to keep up with Critical Role, as well. Not much else on my list of shows or movies to watch at this time. Obviously, the writers’ strike impacts upcoming seasons of shows, but everyone has a right to a fair and livable wage. So I’m content to live without new TV shows and movies. Some things are more important.


May started with 4th Grade field trip to the capitol building, Memorial Stadium, and Morrill Hall. I enjoyed all of the sites.

We had the privilege of sitting the gallery at the capitol just as Machaela Cavanaugh spoke against LB574. Unfortunately, the legislature did pass LB574, which is a bill that denies gender-affirming care to minors in Nebraska. In addition, a “12-week” abortion ban was added at the 11th hour. But if the Christo-fascists in Nebraska think women or transgender youth are just going to roll over and take it, they better think again.

This isn’t white cis-het middle-aged man land anymore, and everyone is going to need to learn not just to accept that, but also how to live with their non-Christian, non-straight, non-cis neighbors.

The month ended with a trip to Sioux Falls which is beautiful, as always. I like seeing the falls themselves, as well as visiting the Game Chest. If you ever go to Sioux Falls, that is the best gaming store to visit. There are other gaming stores there, of course, and everyone is very welcoming. However, Amanda, the owner of the Game Chest, is so personable and has so much passion for what she does that you don’t want to miss stopping by there.

We also hit up Pave, which was a little too crowded. It has a neat ambiance, but the Guinness was disappointing. Then we went to Wiley’s, which was fantastic. It felt like a place straight out of the mid-90s. I loved their hot pretzels. Perfect for a 10 p.m. snack! I hope to visit again soon. We also went to the Full Circle Book Co-Op for the first time, and left with literary goodness.

All in all, May was a good month, and it gave me a lot of food for thought. I think the major takeaway for me with the book banning and passing of LB574 is that those things don’t magically make us – the LGBTQ+ community, women, and non-Christian people – magically stop existing. People can try to invalidate us, but they can’t make us cease to be. And maybe that’s what upset them so much. Maybe that’s what they’re afraid of.

So, I feel inspired to continue to fight for the right of all humans to exist regardless of gender identity, sexual identity, or religious identity. Furthermore, I’d rather be loud and proud about my sexual and religious identities, and ignore the scared, ignorant, small-minded few who can’t handle the basic facts of life – that not everyone is the same.