Saturday, 18 April 2015



It's TUSAL time again!  For those of you new to blogging, the TUSAL is a project run by Daffycat, click on the button on the right hand bar for more details.

Here is my ORTS jar posing with the current stitching project:

This week I have been stitching different things almost every day.  On Monday I finished another project from my 15 in '15 - Joan Elliott's Cherub from the 2013 Diary.  Tuesday was Satsuma Street day.  On Wednesday I went on a train journey so took Trick and Treat because it's all one colour, on Thursday I picked up Just Nan Winter Typography and Friday saw another finish for a DUCJC project - Sweetheart Tree's Tudor Rose.  Today is Saturday and a work day so no stitching so far!

Way back in December 2012 World Of Cross Stitching magazine had their most popular cover gift ever, a diary featuring 12 Joan Elliott designs.  I intended to stitch one a month that year.  Then I revised that to exclude three of the more cutesy designs then I revised it again and actually managed three finishes and one start!  February was started in February 2013 and was in last year's 14 in '14 (unsucessfully) and now in 15 in '15.  As ever, the crazy thing is that it only needed three days stitching to complete it.  Two were pretty full-on days though, we're talking four or five hours a day.

Stitched on 28 count evenweave dyed with fruit tea
(which smells lovely when you are stitching!)

Mounted in my scrapbook.
I need some more gold heart stickers, I only had silver.

I used the recommended colours except for the heart because they were too pink.  I also left off the border of backstitched hearts.  That saved a couple of hours!

Tuesday is a SAL with Linda and Kate on Satsuma Street's Pretty Little London:

(It's the scanner that makes the linen look weird)

This week I stitched more of St Paul's Cathedral.

The Sweetheart Tree Tudor Rose was very nearly completed last week but I wanted to save the beading for a day when the boys were at school.  Beading and the Small Boy are not really compatible!  Here are several photos of the finished piece:

Stitched on 32 count Light Mocha linen.
I substituted plain DMCfor the border and used DMC throughout.
The beads and charm were supplied with the chart.

I had stitched the centre last (as instructed) and noticed that it was quite raised where the eyelets had pulled the fabric so decided to make a stuffed ornie.

With the intended backing fabric:

All finished:

And hanging in place:

The chart was a gift from Vickie and will now be travelling on to Gillie as a prize for leaving my 7000th comment a while back.  I gave her first choice before I chose the Giveaway charts and she picked this one.

Finally, the Giveaway of the other seven charts is continuing.  To be in with a chance, just leave a comment on my Blogaversary post.  Anyone who links up for the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL gets an extra chance.  You don't have to do anything to claim that, if you have commented and linked up then my spreadsheet will automatically put your name in twice.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness April Link Up Post

  Gifted Gorgeousness

For newbies, this is my first year long SAL.  Click on the picture above for the full details.

We will be posting and linking up on the 15th of each month, because it is 2015.  Should be easy to remember.

There has been plenty of Gifted Gorgeousness going on this month, both giving and receiving.  I visited my Aunt and was able to present Baby Albert with his very own sampler.  I also completed the square for the Stitching Out Stigma project and sent that off to the organisers.  You can see the squares they have already received in their Gallery.

But mostly I have been stitching on pieces which were gifts to me:

Scarlet Letter - Elizabeth Shephard

Prairie Moon - Thine is the Trick and the Treat
Sweetheart Tree - Tudor Rose
(very close to finishing this so only showing a small part!)
Lizzie*Kate - Autumn Sampler Snippet

I also received a lovely stitching related gift from Jocondine.  She has been hosting a great quiz each week based on French towns all of which relate to needlework in some way.  So far we have visited Alencon, Bayeaux, Pont l'Abbe and Richelieu.  My name and Jacquie's name were the first two drawn to receive a little something and here it is:

A close-up of the cup-purse

Thanks you, Jocondine!

I also received a total surprise gift.  I've always enjoyed taking part in Round Robins where a group of stitchers take turns to stitch on a piece for each other.  Apart from the odd late mailer I've never had a problem until the Large Mirabilia RR in 2013.  Basically, mine vanished in the postal system.  I waited and waited hoping that it had been mistakenly sent by surface mail instead of airmail but nothing arrived.  The other participants were just as upset as I was and offered to restitch the piece.  And then it went quiet.  I tried to forget about it as I know that real life often gets in the way of our stitching. And then, out of the blue a parcel arrived from New Zealand.  I couldn't think of anything I was expecting so it was a complete shock to see a re-stitched Mirabilia Round Robin!

I'd chosen the Birth Month Fairies and asked everyone to stitch June, July and August leaving September for me as it is my birth month.  So here is my piece with the first three fairies complete and only the centre and September to be stitched by me:

Thank you Karen, Julie and Andie, you guys are the Best!

And now over to you - Here is the place for you to link up so we can see what Gifted Gorgeousness you have been stitching so far this year.  Please use your name or your blog name in the field NOT the words "April Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month.  
And link to the actual post, not just your blog.  
Thank you.  I can amend links if you make a boo-boo though.



Finally, I'm having a giveaway this month.  There are seven charts up for grabs, pictured on my Blogaversary post.  All you have to do is pop over there and leave a comment telling me which are your favourite three charts.  Everyone who links up for the GG gets an extra chance in the draw.  Draw closes 30th April which is when the link-ups close too.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

A Most Eggcellent Post

(sorry Christine!)
Last Friday was the annual Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop, where all my followers hop around like Easter Bunnies looking for the letters on the blogs listed to spell out the Mystery Phrase.  Today is the Big Reveal Day.  The phrase you all managed to find was
An Eggstravaganza
You all did Eggstraordinarily well to discover the phrase!
I would usually pick two names to win a prize but this year I am rolling it up into my Blogaversary Giveaway.  So if you were a picture poster or a treasure hunt hopper please have a look at the previous post to this one and let me know your top three charts from those listed.  Everyone who joined in with the Treasure Hunt gets an extra chance in the draw.
This week I have been stitching something very unseasonal, Lizzie*Kate's Autumn.  I have already stitched Spring in this series and have Summer in my stash.  All I need is Winter for the full set.
I stitched this over one on 28 count blue evenweave using most of the recommended DMC conversion.  The original design had a leaf button but I used a pumpkin instead.  I also had a cunning plan to avoid stitching all that green hill.  I coloured it in using a fabric pen!  I did the same on the Spring design and it looks great, as well as saving a lot of time.

I've scrapbooked the finish, just mounting it on two squares of coloured card along with a Knotted Tree design from the 2012 JCS Hallowe'en Ornie mag.  There is a companion to that which I will mount with these two once I have stitched it.

I also added some metallic leaf stickers:


As we've been at home for the school holidays I've had a little time to organise my stash.  I've been sorting through my charts to make sure I know what is where.  I'm also listing them so it's easier to see what I want to include on my targets next year.  Gosh, I'm looking ahead there!
Finally, I just heard from our dear mutual friend Jacquie that she is back in hospital again.  So if Hannah hasn't updated the blog for her, you know where she is.  She usually has internet access in hospital so will appreciate any comments you leave for her.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Happy Fourth Blogaversary to me!

That's me on my 4th Birthday!  I remember that car so clearly, it had pedals and we "drove" it round to a friend of my Dad who put eyes on the front of it.  The dress I was wearing was white with red polka dots and red ric-rac braid round the middle.  There was a J embroidered on the pocket.  My sister had a similar one with her initial and my doll Susan had one too.  My Mum made most of our clothes and always made a dress for my doll with the scraps.

I have no recollection of that rabbit and while it may be appropriate for this time of year my Birthday is in September!  Susan is the larger doll in the blue dress on the settee and the smaller doll was called Nina.  Apart from that rabbit I remember so much from this age and surprise my parents with how detailed my memories are.

While I think of it - Happy Birthday to Calamity Jr and Susan Yellow Flower Meadow too.

Some Blogaversary stats:

4 years,
434 posts,
253,087 page views
I've had a look back at my first post and some previous Blogaversary posts.  It is traditional to reflect on past projects and compare them to current posts.  On my first post I was stitching a Mirabilia Mermaid and A Dark Alphabet.  Both of which are now finished.  I was also working on a piece for the Craftivist Collective.  I don't currently have a Mirabilia on the go but I did start a Nora Corbett piece in January and I have a bit of a special Mirabilia project to show you for part of the Gifted Gorgeousness post this month. 
Yesterday I spent most of the day stitching on my Satsuma Street SAL with Linda and Kate.  Here is my progress on Pretty Little London:
I filled in Big Ben's clock face and stitched St. Paul's Cathedral in the bottom right corner.  And the raised portions of Tower Bridge.
The other tradition for a Blogaversary is to have a Giveaway.  This year I have made it complicated for myself by amalgamating my Easter Treasure Hunt, my Blogaversary and the Gifted Gorgeousness Giveaway into one larger giveaway!  There will be 7 different charts up for grabs (2 for Easter, 4 for Blogaversary and 1 for GGG).  Picture posters for the Treasure Hunt get one entry, Mystery Phrase guesses get one entry, comments on this post get one entry and link ups on the GG post on the 15th get one entry.  All clear?  Don't worry, I have the complicated stuff to do, you just have to leave a comment as below:
To enter the Giveaway please leave a comment here stating your top three choices of these charts:
A - Lizzie*Kate Friends are Angels
plus Peace, Love and a Cure (not shown)
B - Christmas Number 1
C - Christmas Number 2
D - Christmas Number 3
E - Told in a Garden - The Courting
F - Told in a Garden - Piecemakers I
G - Told in a Garden - Voice of the Shepherd
The first chart is one I have stitched myself and want to pass on and the others are the charts I bought from Needleprint for the express purpose of using them as giveaways.  There were some Lavender & Lace charts I wanted in the same bundle and I kept my favourite Christmas design too.
Finally, the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop is open until the 11th April so if you haven't hopped around yet please do.  It's always good to meet new blogging friends and you'll get an extra chance in this giveaway.


Saturday, 4 April 2015

April WIPocalypse Speciality Stitches

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "15 in '15"which are 15 charts I want to stitch in 2015 (following on from my "11 in '11", "12 in '12", "13 in '13" and "14 in '14" - imaginative, eh?)

This month I got side-tracked by the design for the Stitching Out Stigma project so I only managed to stitch on two of my 15.

Here is the final corner of Prairie Moon's Thine is the Trick and the Treat, you can see how close to a finish I am now:

Stitched on 40 count hand-dyed fabric
The other piece I stitched is Primitive Hare's Hallowe'en Cubes, the letter L:
Stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen
I also got baby Albert's sampler framed and presented to him:
A nice simple frame from Wilkinsons, the perfect dimensions for this piece and therefore the other three in the series which is good to know! 
This is the mast in his room!  Daddy is in the Navy so the nursery has a nautical theme.
Measi also sets us a conversation topic:
April - Which speciality stitches do you love doing on projects?  Which do you dread?
I do enjoy a variety of speciality stitches, the fact that I love Just Nan and band samplers is evidence enough of that!  I don't really have a particular favourite although I do love Bargello or flame stitch:
A Note of Friendship - Dark Alphabet 
There are quite a few samplers in my 31 DUCJC starts which include speciality stitches so I am getting lots of practise.  I don't even mind French Knots which so many people hate.  But the one stitch I cannot get the hang of is the Lazy Daisy.  No matter how much I try the "loop" always becomes two straight lines when I put the tying stitch in.  Or if I leave the thread a little loose it becomes a lop-sided loop.
Finally, the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop went online yesterday and by now everyone should have posted their letter.  You have until the 11th to post the answer to the Mystery Phrase in the comment section of that post.  Good Luck!


Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2015

Welcome to the 2015 Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop
Just Nan - Dewdrop Bunny

All you have to do is visit each of these blogs in order, note down the letter above the Easter / Spring themed pic and remember the short phrase they make up.  Come back here for the last letter and leave a comment saying what the phrase is.  Usually I select two people to win a small prize, but this year I will be hosting a larger joint giveaway for this, my Blogaversary and the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL on the 15th.  Suffice to say, any correct entries on this post will gain the poster an entry into the Giveaway.  So make sure I can contact you.

The trail starts with:

and then back here for this letter


Sheepish Designs - Easter Wabbit

Twisted Threads - Itty Bitty Easter Bunny

Finally, Comment Moderation is enabled and all correct comments will be withheld until the 11th April which is the closing date for this part of the competition.

Monday, 30 March 2015

March D.E.S.I.G.N SAL


The idea of this Blog Hop is to choose a different designer each month and do a post focusing on a piece of their work you have stitched on during the month.  Last month I focused on three very well-known designers;  Nora Corbett (AKA Mirabilia), Joan Elliott and Teresa Wentzler.  For the rest of the year I am going to concentrate on less well-known designers in the hope of spreading their fame across the Blogosphere.

The hosts of D.E.S.I.G.N ask us to answer a few questions on our chosen designer.

1. What designer are you talking about this month?

This month I have chosen Jody Rice from Satsuma Street and her "Pretty Little Cities" series.  I have been stitching Pretty Little London as a SAL with Linda and Kate.  Here is this week's progress picture:

stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

This week I stitched the blue and yellow under the bridge and the yellow for Big Ben's tower.

2. Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

No, this is my first Satsuma Street design.

3. Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again?  Why/Why not?

Yes!  I have already got two more in the City series - Paris and Italy (yes, I know Italy is a country not a city!) and I also bought Cross Stitch Crazy this month because it features an interview with Jody and three city charts, smaller ones this time and stitched on black.  These will look great with the larger city designs.  My plan is to stitch all the European ones first then move onto the rest of the world.

Cross Stitch Crazy issue 202

4. What made you choose this particular design/designer?

I love the bright blocks of colour using only whole stitches which make them super quick to stitch.  I chose London as the first one to stitch because this is the city I am most familiar with.  Several of my family have lived there and we visit as often as we can.  We love to do the tourist thing!

5. Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others?

As I mentioned before, Jody only uses whole stitches, she also rarely uses backstitch relying on the contrast between her colours to outline the various elements on the design.  I love the way she uses bright and outrageous colours for the usually grey buildings.  It would be so much fun to sneak out and paint the city in these colours for real!

There are interviews with Jody here and here, she also has a blog here.  One of the things she mentions in the interview is "I make sure that every single thing I put out in the world, whether it’s an Instagram image or a Facebook post, is consistent with my brand. From my choice of fonts to photo backdrops — even down to the choice of shirt I wear in a photograph for a magazine — I aim to keep a consistent look. "

 I found this fascinating because you can really notice it on her blog and her shop.  This is very similar to a designer called Helen Philipps, everything she does has the same vibe and feel including her blog.  She focuses on fresh pastel colours whereas Jody goes for the brights!  Even their names seem to reflect their different styles.

Finally, I have put together another little Pie chart of my stitching this month, just for fun!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

March's Small Smalls Update

Stitching Lotus Ornament SAL
The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I am going to have two monthly challenges:

1. The Primitive Hare Hallowe'en Cubes SAL
2. The Hallowe'en Ornie SAL themed blog.

I completed the first L from the Hallowe'en Cubes earlier this month:

Stitched on 32count Vintage Grain Linen

Because I have been focusing on my SOS piece I haven't stitched the March Ornie yet.  But I have six days left this month so there's plenty of time!

I have worked four out of five days so far this week so my stitching time is waaaaaaay down on usual.  I didn't even pick up Satsuma Street last night so I am planning on dedicating Thursday to that one this week.  The good news is that with the Easter holidays coming up I only have one day of work between now and the 15th April!  So expect some good picture-filled posts next month.

Finally, I saw this project on the Mr X-Stitch blog recently:

January 2015

The artist embroiders one square every day inspired by the weather that day.  I have seen scarfs with one row knitted every day in a colour relating to the temperature but never anything quite like this!  Each block is only 1.25 inch square but so detailed.  I love it!  I am looking forward to seeing how this progresses through the Summer into Autumn.