Thursday, 23 October 2014

TUSAL of Tea

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.

This year I am intending to stitch The Little Stitcher's Twelve Days of Christmas as a monthly project.  Laura has designed twelve charts with a different theme for each one to represent the days of Christmas.  She has invented the different themes herself using her lovely imagination!

This week I have stitched The Day of Tea.  Here it is as part of my TUSAL photo:

And on its own:

It's a lovely little tableau featuring a woman with an oversized cup about to have a nice gallon of tea!  I suspect there are many of my friends who would drink that much tea but probably spaced over the course of a whole day.  Despite being English I am not a tea drinker.  I drink instant coffee or cappucino if I am out.  But not the little biscuits that come with a cappucino because one of the children usually want it!

My Dad is not a tea drinker either, he likes a cup of sugar with a spoonful of coffee!  My Mum and my Brother however are avid tea drinkers.  They only have a small kitchen but one entire cupboard is devoted to teas of all types for different times of the day and the year.

So how about you?  Tea, coffee or something else?

For fans of The Little Stitcher there is a lovely Christmas design in this month's Just Cross Stitch magazine:

Here is the other project I have been stitching this week, Madame Chantilly On the Beach.  This will be a birth sampler for my cousin's baby.

Stitched on 32 count Kynance from Sparklies

In the last post I said I wasn't happy with the blue stripes charted in DMC 926 so I switched them for 799 which looks much better.  I exchanged the light blue for 800 and will also change the darkest blue for 798 when I get to it.  I think this is going to be a nice quick design and I promise to take some better photos!  This was taken in artificial light on a dull evening and doesn't show the fabric to its best but the scanned version just whites it all out!

The Spooky Countdown is continuing, here are the collages for days 9-16 and 17-23:

Days Nine to Sixteen

Days Seventeen to Twenty-Three
Finally, one last call for the Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop sign-up.  Just leave a comment (making sure I can contact you via email - Hazel D please contact me) and then a few days before the 31st October I will contact you with a letter to display on your blog on the 31st along with some Hallowe'en stitching of your own.  I will list all the blogs in order and people will hop around collecting the letters to SPELL out the Mystery Phrase.

To see how it all works, check out last year's Blog Hop here 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Stitch from Stash October Update

Stitch From Stash 2014
Stitch from Stash is hosted by Mel from Epic Stitching

Essentially the idea behind Stitch from Stash is that we are limited to spending US$25 (or £15) per month. There are various exemptions (Birthday money, existing mag subs, clubs etc) but the idea is not to try and pervert the rules and to stitch some of that stash!  I will be posting on or around the 20th of each month because that is when I get paid!

Money from Christmas 2013
£ 40.00
January Budget
£ 15.00
January Spend
£ 25.84-
February Budget
£ 15.00
February Spend
£ 18.99-
March Budget
£ 15.00
March Spend
£   8.42-
April Budget
£ 15.00
April Spend
£ 16.19-
May Budget
£ 15.00
May Spend
£   0.00
June Budget
£ 15.00
June Spend
£ 51.00-
June Bonus
£ 30.00
July Budget
£ 15.00
July Spend
£ 17.00-
August Budget
£ 15.00
August Spend
£ 29.72-
September Budget
£ 15.00
September Spend
£ 29.08-
Birthday Money
£ 80.00
£ 88.76

Crafty Kitten 4 x fabrics
£ 37.89
JBW Rocking Horse chart
£   4.28
Glendon Place Fall chart
£   4.63

£ 41.96
October Budget
£ 15.00
Birthday Voucher for CK
£ 25.00
Available to carry forward to October
£ 81.96
Allowed purchases:
Jodyri Threads of Month Club : £ 5.54

As you can see from the above list, my Birthday continued for the rest of September!  The very stunning Alicia the Crafty Princess sent me a voucher to spend at Crafty Kitten which has in theory left me quite alot of Birthday money still to spend.  I say "in theory" because it doesn't actually exist any more!  I seem to have spent it on the Large Boy's Birthday.  Hmmm, perils of being a parent!

Anyway, here are my Crafty Kitten fabrics:

Top left - Moondust 32 Murano (Dragon Dreams Dragon of Winter Sun
Top right - Love in the Mist 32 Murano (Nora Corbett J and E letters)
Bottom left - Blue Hydrangea 32 Murano Opal (Nora Corbett Little Snowy Cottages)
Bottom right - Moonlit Water 32 Murano (Madame Chantilly Hallowe'en Town)

New Starts from Stash: No new starts from stash
WIPs and UFOs worked on: A Mon Ami Pierre Noel Blanc, Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown (finished!), The Little Stitcher 12 Days of Christmas

A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc
I am so excited about this one!  You can see how close I am to the end.  I have to finish that C and then there is one snowflake which fills the corner and I am done!

Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown Day Twenty on my tree.
I spent today making a coffin to keep all the tombstones in.
Photos to follow.

This one is not listed under New Starts from Stash because it is a new chart which I bought last month.  I have been waiting patiently for the special fabric from Sparklies to make a start on it.

The chart is Madame Chantilly On the Beach and the fabric is called Kynance and is half blue/half yellow.  If you contact Kate she will let you choose whether to have the split portrait or landscape and if you want the dividing line to be higher or lower than the halfway point which makes it a very versatile choice.  I went for landscape and about an inch below the centre.  Only a small part is visible in this photo.

I have only stitched one stripe of the centre hut and I am unsure about the colour.  It is DMC 926 which is a grey blue but the picture shows a nice baby blue.  Since this is for my cousin's new baby I am thinking of changing it before I do too much more!

Finally, it's time to sign up for the Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop.  Just leave a comment (making sure I can contact you via email - Hazel D that means you!!!) and then a few days before the 31st October I will contact you with a letter to display on your blog on the 31st along with some Hallowe'en stitching of your own.  I will list all the blogs in order and people will hop around collecting the letters to SPELL out the Mystery Phrase.

To see how it all works, check out last year's Blog Hop here 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Spooky Counting Down

I've been counting down to Hallowe'en with my Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown tree this year.  Here are a few photos of the tree so far:

All the ingredients laid out ready to start

The scrapbook paper I used to make the markers from

First Eight Days

Days Nine to Thirteen

Regular readers may recognise that tree from last year's Advent Calendar!

I have been stitching away in black the rest of the time, on the Blackbird Designs Spell of the Moon which Kaye sent me recently.  I finished the black this afternoon during a Game of Thrones marathon TV catch-up session for my husband's birthday!

There is some grey and a yellow moon to add as yet.  It's a nice fun design although quite large on 32count.  Too big for an ornie really.  I bought a little canvas and easel during the week which I can stretch the fabric round and display it like that.  I like the way the border varies, it's not all the same zig-zags all the way round.  Much  more interesting to stitch,

Finally, it's time to sign up for the Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop.  Just leave a comment on this post (making sure I can contact you via email) and then a few days before the 31st October I will contact you with a letter to display on your blog on the 31st along with some Hallowe'en stitching of your own.  I will list all the blogs in order and people will hop around collecting the letters to SPELL out the Mystery Phrase.

To see how it all works, check out last year's Blog Hop here  

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

October WIPocalypse Hallowe'en or Christmas Stitching?


WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi of Measi's Musings.

The main focus of my WIPocalypse this year is my "14 in '14" a list of 14 projects I wanted to complete in 2014.  In the last month I have worked on three of the list.  Here is the current stitching status of each one:

6. Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown

7. The Little Stitcher - 12 Days of Christmas

12. A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc

Look at that progress on Noel Blanc!  In just 7 days I have stitched the rest of Decembre, all of B and most of L!

Measi also gives us a topic to discuss:
Are you a Hallowe'en or Christmas stitcher?

Well, I think most of my followers could answer that one on my behalf!  I love Hallowe'en stitching.  It is a festival not much celebrated in the UK until recently when Fireworks Night has become less popular and the supermarkets have realised they can make more money out of Hallowe'en!  Even so, my local craft shop stocks very little Hallowe'en merchandise, the odd scrapbook page or embellishment.  Unlike Scrapping the Magic online who has an amazing range!

And just to prove my love of Hallowe'en, here is another picture of my Spooky Countdown Tree:

Days 1 to 8

Finally, to further prove my love for Hallowe'en and to give you the chance to show your appreciation for all things spooky, it is time to launch sign-ups for the Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Mystery Phrase Blog Hop!  Just leave a comment on this post (making sure I can contact you via email) and then a few days before the 31st October I will contact you with a letter to display on your blog on the 31st along with some Hallowe'en stitching of your own.  I will list all the blogs in order and people will hop around collecting the letters to SPELL out the Mystery Phrase.

To see how it all works, check out last year's Blog Hop here  

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

500 Followers Mini-Blog Hop

I acquired my 500th follower recently and decided to host a mini blog hop instead of a giveaway.  So we all give some love and receive some comments and new followers!

Several people signed up and over the weekend I emailed them all the name of a fellow blogger to research and dedicate a post to today.  The posts should be appearing over the next 24 hours depending on where you are and whether people remembered to post!  Here is the full list of participants so you can pop over and see who they have dedicated their post to:

Don't forget to leave a comment on their blogs!

I had a lovely weekend in London with the Large Boy, we decided to visit The Art of the Brick exhibition in Brick Lane of all appropriate places!  The exhibition features the work of artist Nathan Sawaya who works in Lego.  All his artworks are made entirely with standard Lego bricks.  It was a fascinating exhibition, it started with some reproductions of famous works of art recreated and reinterpreted in Lego such as the Mona Lisa:

and The Scream:

This one really made use of the 3D nature of the bricks.

The other part of the exhibition was Nathan's own concepts, often expressing how he felt trapped in his career as a corporate lawyer such as this piece which shows the Lego builder escaping from his shell:

You could reproduce this in cross stitch with the stitching bursting out of the everyday you.

This one is a classic piece already as it has been used in the publicity for the exhibition:

I've got about 80 photos of all the pieces so if you want to see more, let me know!!

We also visited the Science Museum and had a quick look round the Natural History Museum too.

The Science Museum had an exhibition on Materials which was very interesting and included this massive sculpture:

The back of the feature: 

I am envisioning something similar using all the shades of DMC now!!

Finally, I suppose there ought to be some stitching in this post.  So here is the piece I worked on during the train journeys to and from London:

Blackbird Designs - Spell of the Moon
stitched on 32 count Cognac linen
(which is less orange in real life)

Day 7 on my Hallowe'en Tree

edit to add - As well as 500 followers, I blew through the 200,000 page views mark today!!  yay!!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Celebrating my Birthday Month

Birthdays in the Blogoverse always last longer than the day itself.  There are people who send their cards and presents in early so you have to be patient; there are people who get reminded by FB and wish you Many Happy Returns on the day; there are people who see you mention your birthday on your blog and wish you Belated Greetings; then there are people who spend weeks making you something thoughtful and beautiful but don't quite manage to finish it in time (that pesky Real Life stuff getting in the way) and then there are the people who promise to send you a chart way back in the year and send a whole bunch of stuff to make up for it being late so it becomes a Birthday present!

Here are a selection of photos representing many of those people:

Card and Strawberry Pincushion from Nicola

The pincushion with the one sent by Lee earlier in the year

DIY present from Shebafudge
That fabric is called Chocolate Orange!
Lots of lovely fabric pieces for ornies, some ric-rac. some threads (including some silk) and a beautiful one from Nancy's shop

Pass the Parcel present from Karen (it was inside two outer bags too!)
The fabric is some 40 count called Rock-a-Bye

Julie went shares with Karen on the lovely stitching bags (which are made by Karen's own fair hands) and she included these two dragon needle-minders.  They will make a nice collection with the one Mouse sent me last Christmas.

And here is the pillow Karen made!!  Wyldstyle from the Lego Movie!
♪ ♫Everything is awesome!♪ ♫
And look, at the bottom it says "you're the Special" which is true.

There are no prizes for guessing who sent the next gift!
Yes, it's from Mouse, the clue is in the card.
I was only saying this morning that I wasn't sure which Just Nan to start next and now I have the perfect chart.  I wonder what it would look like on that Chocolate Orange fabric?

And this is the bundle of delights Kaye sent me!!  I won the Nora Corbett "E" from her and she generously included one or two more charts in the parcel!  I had admired the A Mon Ami Pierre one on her blog, I think it will look great on the same fabric as Noel Blanc.

I think that's everything!!  If I have forgotten anyone then I am mortally ashamed and will go hide.

Of course, the presents did not go one way.  Karen's Birthday is at the end of September and as agreed I made her a little something:

This is a little freebie chart called Automne 2009 designed by Tara.
Unfortunately the link to the blog no longer works,

This gives a better idea of the size and colour of the fabric

And here it is finished as a scissor fob.

And with the card I knew was perfect for Karen as soon as I saw it!
Plus some squirrelly fabric.

This week I have been making little tombstones for my Hallowe'en tree:

Day Three

Finally, I have made some more progress on the Frosted Pumpkin Hallowe'en Town.  Which started off as a mystery but I did not keep up!!

Stitched on 28 count Moondust evenweave from Crafty Kitten.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

September Smalls SAL and Theme-a-licious Update

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Stitching Lotus

I chose three different monthly themes to follow this year:

Hallowe'en Ornie SAL - 12 different themes
Little Stitcher Fairy Tale 12 Days of Christmas - one per month
Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown - one per week starting 31st January

The theme for September on the Hallowe'en blog was Black Cats, there were so many different Black Cats to choose from this month it really was difficult to pick just one.  I searched through all my downloaded charts and my JCS issues, paper and digital and finally decided on this companion piece to Boo who is our logo this year.

The design is by Val's Stuff and comes from JCS Sept/Oct 2009.  I don't know too much about Val but she does cute designs.

I stitched this on the same 32count evenweave as Boo and changed the border colours to co-ordinate with Boo too.  I found the perfect button for the star but couldn't find a blue moon so I made a beaded moon instead.

Now I just have to decide how to finish these two.  Here they are together:

The Little Stitcher - 12 Days of Christmas

Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown is my Trump Card this month, it's part of the Smalls Challenge as it is 30 small designs plus a header and a footer but it also fits in September's theme too.  See below:

Theme-a-licious is hosted by Heather of It's Geek to Me

Each month Heather thinks up a theme for us to stitch to, or in my case, a theme to somehow shoe-horn my existing stitching into, no matter how tenuous the link!

Supersize September
Dip your needle into the vast swath of fabric dedicated to your BIGGEST projects!

Spooky Countdown fits in nicely here because altogether it is quite a large design and has taken all year to stitch it.  Here is my latest progress picture of the header and footer:

I've been haunting the local craft shop for finishing bits and pieces and now have almost everything I need.  I got the tree down from the loft and tomorrow I will be making 30 tombstone markers and a coffin container for them all.  Show and Tell to follow!

My other main BAP has also taken all year, it is Noel Blanc by A Mon Ami Pierre.  Regular visitors will be very familiar with this project.  Heck, anyone who drops by once a season will have seen it at least once!  Here is the latest photo:

I have got one more over 1 leaf to go on that mistletoe which seems to have taken forever!  To be fair I have been working on that one section since 20th August.  Once that is finished we are on the home straight with just some letters and one more snowflake.  Hopefully in time for Christmas.

Next month's theme is a particularly exciting one for me, chosen by a special Guest themer, pop over to this post to find out what and who!

Finally, I am having an impromptu Blog Hop to celebrate my 500 Followers, all details on the previous post.