Welcome to Brownie's Chair, my blog about all things cross stitch. Feel free to have a look around, and email me if you have any questions or suggestions!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

20th Day of Advent Blog Hop

Hello readers!  Today I am proud to co-host (with Cheryl) Day 20 of Jo's Advent Blog Hop.  I've admired Jo's blog hops for almost 2 years now, so I'm very excited to be participating for the first time. 

Jo has asked us to share some Christmas stitching with you all and then share our Christmas Eve traditions.  So I thought I'd share a photo I snapped of Mill Hill's Holiday Stamp before I sent it off to my exchange partner.  Ornaments always look better hanging on a tree don't they? 

So now onto Christmas Eve traditions.  Growing up, and even still now, I don't think we ever have a "typical" Christmas Eve.  Our activities change a bit from year to year, although there are two constants: family and putting out stockings. 

Of course when we were little my brother and I would always put out milk and cookies for Santa and then pick out which stockings we were going to use and choose some for our parents as well.  Although we had a fireplace growing up, we never hung the stockings up, rather draping them over the couches and chairs in the family room.  This left more room for extra presents of course.  The years my Mom and Dad got sick of wrapping presents at 2:00 in the morning there would be more things piled around the stocking than in the years they started the wrapping earlier in the month. 

Now that my brother and I are adults, we still put out stockings for the family on Christmas Eve.  Then we take turns sneaking up to them in the middle of the night to fill them with goodies.  We have collectively taken on the Santa role I guess. 

What we fill our time with during Christmas Eve before the stockings go up varies from year to year.  We often enjoy doing a Christmas puzzle, so sometimes we will pull that out early and put one together on the card table while watching Christmas specials on TV in the background.  One time we gathered around the tree and read the book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever out loud in turn.  Which, by the way if you've never read that book, I highly recommend it.  Lately it seems Christmas Eve is reserved for snuggling up in your favorite cozy blanket and putting in a favorite Christmas movie.  My brother will probably opt for Elf while I'll fight for A Muppet Christmas Carol.  Although with the new Star Wars movie coming out a few days ago, I sense there might be a movie marathon in the works instead. 

Thank you for joining me on this blog hop!  Don't forget to check our Cheryl's blog for another Christmas stitchy post today, and you can catch up on any advent posts you've missed on this page at Jo's blog

Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Almost there!

We're in the final countdown to Christmas; are you ready?

I was able to get some progress done on my ornaments, although not as much as I wanted.  I need like 4 more days added to my weekend. *sigh*  In the end, I decided that my final to "maybe" projects that I was hoping to get done before Christmas will absolutely not get finished before the holiday.  So I've decided to save those two for next year and find an alternative small present to send to my aunt and uncle. 

I did finish-finish up my Holiday Stamp project, so that was ready in time to be sent off to my exchange partner:

So that left me free to focus on starting what will now be the last gift stitching project for the year.  This is Floral Watering Can by Mill Hill. 

I will be finishing it up as an ornament as a present for my paternal grandmother who loves gardening and flowers.  When we were younger and her garden was much bigger every trip my brother and I would tail her around the garden in the morning helping her water the plants with her beat up green plastic watering can.  I had a babysitting job Saturday night so I made some decent progress on this start after the kids went to sleep for the night. 

I was able to finishing the beading on Love Potions and attach the backing paper and bead hanger in preparation for it's "finish-finishing".  Now I just have to cut it out. 

I decided not to do the bead swags that were charted because I didn't really like them and didn't think they added much to the design, but I think they look oka without it.  Luckily the heart treasure covered up the giant green space left when I took out the "No 9" as charted, so overall I'm liking how it looks. 

I also finished the same steps on Stars and Stripes.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  The beading totally makes this one.  I made a few boo boos on the placement of blue and yellow in the lower left corner of the star that I had to improvise a bit to fix, but hopefully it doesn't look too bad. 

If there's one thing I'm disappointed in with this one it is that it is rather small, even for a Mill Hill kit.  It was originally intended to be a pin, so I guess that's why.  But I think the recipient will hopefully not mind the smaller size.  This was my favorite of the Americana kits I could find, and he is very patriotic.  I just need to cut this one out and it will be done as well.

All of the stitching and backstitching has been done on Cookies for Santa.  I'm a little disappointed that the photo washed out the light green "sprinkles" stitching on the white star cookie, but I'm hoping once the beads are on it will stand out more.  Next up for this one is adding previously mentioned beads and then cutting and backing and hanging. 

This weekend I also made some progress on the 11 fleece blankets I'm tying for gifts this year.  Which leaves me with a pillowcase, an apron, two batches of soap, two batches of lotion, and 13 felt snowman ornaments to finish before 7 days are up.  But this weekend I also completed 2 sewing projects that I can't show yet in the very chance case the recipient reads this blog.  I was extremely proud of myself since I have extremely rudimentary skills and my mom is such a good seamstress I always feel embarrassed asking for help because my sewing always looks childish at best. 

Anyway, I'm very proud of this project, which will be extremely useful (I hope) once the cold weather hits full force.  We haven't had more than a half dozen nights or so that have been cold here in Mississippi yet, but since this is only my second winter here I'm not sure what's typical yet. 

Funny side note about cold in Mississippi and cats:

Last winter Brownie took to "burrowing", which is what I called it when he wanted under the covers with me so he could snuggle up closer to my body warmth.  I tend to "cocoon" myself when sleeping in the winter and seal myself up so no cold air can reach my body, but when Brownie burrowed in, I would usually leave the end of the blanket by my face untucked so he could crawl out when he was done with being under the blankets. 

Well, last night I was woken up by him pawing and nipping at my hand... which was wrapped in my blankets.  Apparently he either burrowed in while I was sleeping or I let him in and didn't remember it at all during the night.  It took my sleep deprived brain about 5 minutes to realize he was trying to get my attention because he was trapped under the blankets. 

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Countdown Progress Update

Most of my time these days is spent frantically trying to finish as many Christmas presents as possible before the looming deadline.  Which of course means that my Mill Hill stitching has been coming along.  So here's a quick look at my most recent updates. 

First off, I finished Holiday Stamp for my partner exchange:

I'll be finish-finishing it hopefully this weekend.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out; the petite seed beads are perfect for the scale of it.  I think the regular size Mill HIll beads would dwarf the design too much, but they fit perfectly here.

I also got the stitching all done on Love Potions:

I left the "No. 9" off the green bottle on the right, so I'm hoping it won't stick out because it's the one with the least amount of beading.  This will be hopefully be beaded by the end of the weekend, along with Stars and Stripes which I showed in my last update. 

I've also gotten quite far on Cookies for Santa now:

No longer just a green blob in the middle.  Just a bit more white to go, then backstitching and beading next for this one, again hopefully done by Monday.  Notice a pattern?  Then it's just 3 more kits to start and finish by the end of next week and *phew*, the Christmas stitching will be D. O. N. E., done.

Of course, then there are about 17 other projects I need to finish before the holiday that aren't stitching.  *sigh*

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mill Hill kits everywhere!

To my US readers, I hope that you all had a good Thanksgiving with lots of good food and good company.  And for everyone, happy first part of December!

I must admit, December is one of my favorite months, and Christmas is probably one of my favorite holidays.  I just love the ambiance of love that (usually) surrounds this holiday.  Around here I'm falling behind on production schedule of Christmas gifts though, so things are about to get crazy!  But here's what's been happening on the stitching front. 

Before Thanksgiving I managed up a finish on my band for the Antique Band Sampler project in my latest sampler Round Robin. 

Sorry for the black smudges, but I bled out my last name and city for security purposes, for what it's worth on the internet anyway.   I didn't really enjoy working on this one much, sampler bands just aren't my thing I guess.  But I am excited to see what project comes next. 

The day after Thanksgiving my cousin and I sat down and had a huge marathon of all 6 Star Wars movies back to back.  It took 14 hours, but was a good excuse to get a good chunk of stitching done.  The cross stitching and backstitch is all done on Holiday Stamp:

And as you can see, I'm starting to bead too.  I like that this kit came with all petite seed beads.  Not sure why, but those are my favorite.  Soon it will be ready to go to my exchange partner. 

Speaking of Friday again, since one of my gift recipients who is normally home had to work on Friday, I pulled out Love Potion, which will be for her, while she was at work.  I got a good part of the stitching on this one done, and now it looks like this:

I also pulled out Stars and Stripes just to change things up a bit.  This one is the smallest, so it had the least amount of stitching to be done.  I hadn't worked on this one since last year's January challenge, but now it's done and ready for beads. 

I didn't have Holiday Stamp with me to finish during my last stitching session, so I pulled out what will be the next kit to work on.  This one is called Cookies for Santa:

Not much to see yet, just a green blob.  I love the design of this one, but it will probably go slower than the others because it has a LOT of color changes and detail stitching.  But at least it seems to have more minimal beading than some of the other designs, so that will help. 

So other than these WIPs that leaves 1 more kit to start and finish before Christmas, 2 more I would like to start and finish (but it's okay if I don't), and 11 fleece lap blankets to fringe and tie in the next two weeks.  Plus a secret project that's a present for another family member that needs to be finished and ordered ASAP.  Whew!  I'm going to be BUSY!!!!

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Vaction Stitching

Well, I'm back from a vacation last week, and managed to snag a bit of stitching while I was in the airport waiting for various flights.  The main project I worked on I can't actually show, since it's for someone for Christmas that sometimes pops in and reads the blog, so that one will have to wait until after the holiday to show. 

I pulled out the Mill Hill Love Potions kit to work on since I forgot Holiday Stamp at home in my work bag.  Not much progress, but the first of 3 bottles is mostly done now (sorry for the blurry picture):

After getting home, I put a significant dent of progress in my project for the latest round of the sampler round robin I am participating in on Facebook. 

This project is an antique band sampler, choose your own band.  Which when I read that I went AHHHHHHHHHH because I've never done a band sampler before and had absolutely NO ideas on what to do for it.  But since I'm familiar with blackwork, I found a nice pattern of leaves and vines that I figured I could make into my band.

In other news, I've already put up my page for the Debbie's Crazy January Challenge 2016.  For some reason thinking ahead and planning this is way more fun than actually doing the stitching sometimes.  Once my Christmas gift stitching is done, I will be back to doing a few charity squares, since the last two themes that have been opened in one of my groups really appeal to me.  January will be on us before you know it!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Back with more stitchy progress

I guess my intentions to blog more than once a month have been in vain so far.  Work has been so busy: we got a new computer system a few weeks ago and things have been crazy and in turmoil since then.  Makes me just want to go home and sleep when I get off. 

But I have managed to do some stitching, mostly round robin progress again.  First off, I finished the last round for the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin.  It's a little acorn to go with my night sky from last update:

After that, I worked on the next round in the Sampler Round Robin, which was this Tulip Sampler design by Rosewood Manor.  Since it's been so long since my last update, I actually completely finished it before I could post any updates:

And speaking of the sampler round, here is some progress to show on Halloween Quaker.  This is the project I'm sending around, so not all of the stitching is mine, but it gives you an idea of how it's coming so far. 

I also have a long overdue new start to show you.  This is for an ornament exchange, and is called Holiday Stamp by Mill Hill:

The stitching itself is almost done, then some petite beading and a few backstitch and french knots and it will be done.  I haven't really worked on one of these Mill Hill kits since last January, and I forgot how fun they are.  I have a few more of these to complete for various gifts over the next month or so until Christmas, so I need to stitch faster!
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Friday, October 16, 2015

Progress: Mostly Round Robin stitching

Well, it's been almost another month since I posted, so I guess it's time for another update.  I haven't been getting too much stitching done lately, mostly round robin stuff.  Actually, now that I think about it, all round robin stuff.  Although I have my stitchy bug pretty much back all the way, I have had some health problems that have really slowed me down. 

If you don't enjoy reading about personal issues, you can skip down a few paragraphs.  But for anyone interested, I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease about a year and a half ago.  Graves is a form of hyperthyroidism, which means my body makes too much thyroid hormone.  It's sort of like my body's thermostat is permanently set too high. 

Anyway, long story short, I've tried a few different treatments, gone through a lot of tests, and my doctor and I came to the conclusion that either my thyroid needed to come out, or it needed to be killed.  So at the beginning of the month I took a large dose of radioactive Iodine 131 isotope, which left me in quarantine for 5 days.  I'm still kind of dealing with the after effects of that, which is why things have been slow in the stitching front. 

So personal issues over. 

In other (more happy) news, our little kitten is getting so big.  Her official name is Bitty (as in itty bitty) because she was so tiny when we found her and we decided that it will be ironic when she's full grown.  She and Brownie have finally decided they kind of like each other.  I snapped this pic of them being all sneaky and sleeping together in the same cat bed when I was in my 5 day isolation. 

On the stitching front, I finished my portion of the Gingerbread Lane project for the second to last round of the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin group on Facebook:

Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the whole thing as it looks so far before sending it off, but it was a super cute project that I might stitch myself one day. 

I also started on Autumn Sampler, which will be my last project for the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin (except finishing my own project, of course).  This pattern was temporarily discontinued, although the designers brought it back after popular demand.  I bought the winter version of this in February or March, and I'm liking this one so much that if they also decide to re-release the spring version, I might just also purchase autumn, spring, and summer so I have a full set. 

For my piece I'm stitching 2 of the 25 boxes the sampler is divided into.  I've finished one, a night forest landscape with a big harvest moon, and have started on the second, an acorn with oak leaves.  Here's what the forest looked like when I finished with it:

I also finished my first project for the Sampler Round Robin that started in September.  This is what my portion of the Jane Austen sampler I showed last time looked like when done:

And here's what it looked like as a whole before sending it off.  It's really cute, I bet it will look great when it's all done. 

Next I need to start my second sampler project which I just got in the mail.  That one will be a quilt block style sampler if I remember correctly (still need to pull it out of the envelope).  The sad thing is, I still haven't started up my Christmas gift stitching, and I really need to get that done if I want to finish in time.  Hmmmm...

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Latest Stitching Updates

Well, I kind of fell of the stitching bandwagon for awhile, didn't I?  I can't believe it's been almost a year since I posted anything.  To be honest, I've kind of lost my stitching bug a bit in the last couple months as well.  I think I may have taken on a little to much this year, and it burned me out in the year.  Don't get me wrong, I love monthly SALs and everything, but I think I will lay aside all the obligation they present for the rest of the year and just focus on what I want to stitch.  Of course, I will be doing the Crazy January challenge (31 projects, one for each day in January) again this year, or at least I plan to right now.  But other than that for next year I'll just see where life takes me.

So although I got burned out, I have been doing a little bit of stitching.  I finished the Cinderella/October block in my latest Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin piece, and got that sent off.  Here's a (kind of dark, sorry) photo of my finished portion:

Once that was sent off, it was time to pick up the next RR piece, since I'm a little behind.  The next one is Gingerbread Lane.  My part is to stitch the skaters on the pond below the middle house.  This is what I have so far:

I love this pattern so much, it's really fun to work on.  I'm ashamed to admit that I got burned out on the Once Upon a Time pieces, even though I love fairy tales.

Speaking of the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin, I got my piece back recently (yay!) but forgot to take a picture of it.  Darn!  So I guess I will save that for another post.  

The other project I've been working on is for the newest round robin I've joined.  This one is sampler themed.  I sent out my Halloween Quaker project that I've stalled on to be worked on, so when I get that back, it will be almost finished for me!

The first project I'm working on is Simply Jane Austen, a Motif Sampler by The Sampler Girl.  This blog has a picture of what it will look like when finished.  I love Jane Austen, so although my part in this piece is pretty small (4 words and key) I'm enjoying it a lot.  Here's the latest progress pic:

We're taking a road trip this weekend, so I'm hoping to get a lot done during that (at least the first leg of the trip).  I need to finish up these Round Robin projects because I'm down to crunch time on Christmas projects!

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Friday, August 28, 2015

August Stitch from Stash B

Here we are at the end of August, and I've been quite quiet lately.  Sadly, I've kind of lost my stitchy bug the past few weeks, and I haven't been stitch nearly as much lately. But I'm taking a trip this weekend, so maybe I will get that bug back a bit during the trip since I don't have to drive.
Month: August
Spent: $26.40
Earned: $0.00

As you can see, due to the loss of my stitchy bug, I didn't have ANY finishes for this month.  A first for me this year!

I did end up buying some stash though.   Last month one of the patterns I bought was one called Summer Designs by Bobbie G. Designs.  Well, doing some research into that pattern, it turns out it was a series of patterns and I got it into my head one day that I needed the other 3 seasons to match it (you know how I am with seasons and monthly patterns).  Sadly, my go to supplier (since there's no LNS to be found near me) 123stitch.com failed me and didn't have them in stock.  But I did find another website called Stitching Bits and Bobs that did have them, and what do you know, they were even on sale.  So added to my stash this month were Winter Designs, Spring Designs, and Autumn Designs.  I have to say spring and winter are probably my favorites of all of them.
And while I was poking around, I ended up adding another pattern to my cart.  This one is called Americat from Val's Stitching Stuff.  Val has lots of cute primtive-y cat patterns, and with my love of both cats and all things patriotic, I just loved this one so much.  And since it was another thing 123stitch didn't have currently in stock, I had to add it to my order so I could get combined shipping, right? I normally don't go for primitive type patterns, but they're starting to grow on me, and I find I really like Val's patterns (although so far I haven't stitched one).  I will probably even save up for both the Just Another Button Company buttons and hand dyed floss for this one.

I wish I could have found bigger pictures for you to look at (or even had the foresight to take some of my own) so you could see all the amazing details and colors of these patterns.  Of course, when they arrived in the mail I discovered that (gasp!) the Bobbie G Designs have quite a few blended threads.  Oh frogs.  I haven't done blended threads yet, been too chicken to try them, but I suppose these patterns will be as good of an excuse as any to try them out.

In other news, the Cross Stitch Crazy 2016 group (home of the Crazy January Challenge) has opened, so I'm already planning my starts for next January.  And sheesh, I still have Christmas present to finish.  I need to get this stitchy bug back soon!  Otherwise, I will completely fail SFS Part B.  I need more earning bonus, LOL

Starting balance from July: -$33.00
August budget: $25
Finish bonuses: $0   
Total:  -$8 to spend in July
- Total stash purchases: $26.40

Ending balance: -$34.40

Hey, my red balance only went up by a dollar...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back with more progress updates

Yikes!  I can't believe how quiet I've been around here lately.  That little kitten is still keeping us pretty busy.  I guess I underestimated how much time can be taken up by playing and cuddling and all those things kittens are good for.  She's still really active, so stitching with her around can be a little bit of a mess, but she did decide to settle down with me the other day. 

She squeezed herself into that tiny spot between my leg and the next couch cushion and fell completely asleep.  Little stinker. 

So despite my lack of blogging updates, I have been stitching some, although maybe not at the rate I was before.  I finally finished up the Rapunzel block of Once Upon a Time for the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin.  Here's what it looks like finished:

This particular project had a lot of pattern modifications made by the project owner, and some of them are really neat, so here's a complete picture of the whole project as it looked before I packed it up and sent it on:

The sunlight really washed out the colors in this photo.  The fabric was a beautiful color, closer to the Rapunzel picture above.  But man, was it difficult for me to work with!  Between it being linen, which I am slowly getting used to but not used to completely yet, and the dark color, and almost only being able to work on it at night, this block definitely went slower. 

While I was finishing up that one, I also got the next project in the round robin, which also happened to be Once Upon a Time.  This will be my third and last time working on this particular pattern, since the RR is coming to a close with just a few more rounds.  This time I'm working on the Cinderella block.  Not much progress so far, just a bit of the elaborate border FP is famous for:

Sadly the terrible night lighting washed out all the beautiful Weeks Dye Works colors, so hopefully I'll get a better picture of this as it goes along so you can see those better. 

In other stitching, Sunshine by Satsuma Street is also coming along.  Just have the dark and light pink ring around the outside to finish, and then that yellow in the middle that I still need to pick up.  I just love how the colors on this one are turning out. 

Until next time, happy stitching to you all, and let's hope my next update isn't really far away this time!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

July Flower of the Month Check In

Welcome to the latest check in for the Flower of the Month SAL.  I can't believe I forgot to post this earlier!  Once again, I've been a very bad hostess and don't have any progress of my own to show this month.  (That new kitten has been keeping me busy!)  It's been so wonderful seeing all of your progress on July, and August is one of my favorite patterns, so this next month will be fun as well. 

Remember, if you are not currently a member of the SAL and want to join us, it's never too late to join!  The rules and official sign ups can be found on this page.  

Important Notes For Current SAL Participants: 
To earn an extra prize entry for this month, you must submit a check in (even if it's showing only progress and not a finish).  Your check in can be about the July pattern specifically, or any other month you are working on/have finished. 

If you have done a blog post showing your progress, please use the linking widget below to add a direct link to your check in post.  If you are a member of our Facebook group, you can also check in via that page.  You do not have to check in at both places, but you are welcome to if you wish. 

If anyone has any questions, please let me know.  I will leave the link widget open for a week (until August 13th), so please check in by that date.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July Stitch from Stash B

Well, it's almost the end of July (can you believe it?) and I almost missed my first reporting for Stitch from Stash B.

Month: July
Spent: $64.00
Earned: $6.00

Hmm, yes it seems I blew my first two months budget out of the water.   But I'm hoping to earn a good chunk of that back soon!

Let's start out with the good news.  I had two finishes to count for July, my Tropical Drink magnet and Fish Pond square for Love Quilts.  Pictures of both can be found on my Finishes page if you haven't seen them yet. 

As far as stash purchased, I have discovered the dangerous world of Facebook stash selling groups, which in addition to eBay was my downfall this month.  But I plan on stitching my way out of the red the next few months at least.

Here's a breakdown of what I bought:

$10 - Lizzie*Kate Sweet Tooth Boxers, Cupcake and Ice Cream

I guess this is a series of four designs, so now I need to track down Pie and Candy, which I have found on eBay, although both are the same price each that I paid for these two together.  These are sort of like kits in that they come with the fabric and embellishments, but not the threads to complete the design.

$20 Mill Hill Nutcracker set

Someone on Facebook was selling her entire set of Mill Hill Nutcracker Ornaments.  If there's two things I love about Christmas is the Nutcracker and 12 Days of Christmas, and I love Mill Hill kits too, so I jumped on the deal.  I am contemplating stitching these up and turning them into a wreath.

$12 Mill Hill Mask kits

Did I mention Mill Hill kits?  These larger ones are usually upwards of $13, so when I found 2 for $12 I was so happy.  I've been eyeing these mask ones for awhile.  Not really sure why, but something about the designs and colors just catch my eye.

$7 Bobbie G Designs
Starting in September I will be joining another Round Robin group (since our Frosted Pumpkin round is coming to a close soon).  This one is sampler themed, so I've been especially focused on sampler type patterns the past few weeks.  I contemplated doing this kitchen one from Bobbie G Designs, and the seller was offering them as a set with these two other designs.  In the end I chose something else as my RR piece, but I'm excited to stitch these patterns up eventually.

$15 Facebook closeout group

This was a set of several charts and kits I picked up from a lady who was closing out her Facebook albums because she was getting ready to move.  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture, so I will have to share those with you all at a later time.

Starting balance from June: $0.00 (new start!)
July budget: $25
Finish bonuses: $6   
Total:  $31 to spend in July
- Total stash purchases: $64.00

Ending balance: -$33.00

I definitely don't want to see that red sticking around too long! 

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