Friday, 23 September 2016

More Gifted Gorgeousness!

The gifts have been coming in thick and fast this week so I thought I'd dedicate a post to them.

First of all - a huge THANK YOU to everyone who posted for the Big Birthday Blog Hop on the 17th.  It was incredible to hop around all the blogs reading everyone's anecdotes and seeing what stitching they had chosen.  Not surprisingly there were a lot of spooky Hallowe'en designs, some dragons and some samplers.  People had obviously taken the time and trouble to look through my blog and see what I liked.

The first gift to arrive was from Margaret in New Zealand, she was worried about the international post so sent it early and it arrived very quickly!
Margaret does gorgeous hardanger work and this is just exquisite!

Cheryl made me a lovely card inspired by an alphabet design she's been stitching.  You can get the chart from her if you'd like to stitch me a card for next year.  Or for the Jo in your life!

Mini also made me a card, aren't the strips of fabric beautiful?  She also made a little stitched pouch which is so pretty.

Mouse sent some threads for my Chatelaine and a lovely piece of Polstitches fabric.  I haven't started my Chatelaine yet, I need to order the fabric for it using my Birthday money.  There's also a "friendship" needleminder hiding in the bag!

Julie sent me these lovely satin threads, they are perfect for adding a little bit of luxury when you're stitching fabrics.

Tiff also sent some threads for my Chatelaine and some Nora Corbett charts she scored in a  thrift store for extremely cheap bargain prices!

The extremely creative Jocondine excelled herself this year.  She sent me this beautiful vintage embroidery pamphlet, some dragon bookplates and a stitched gift-tag:

Look at the date on the pamphlet!

The piece de resistance is my board game!  Click on this photo and admire the details!


Jocondine has included all my blog hops (go forward 3 squares) and penalties if you miss them!  There are stitchy pictures, free charts and some of Jocondine's favourite characters from her blog.  When we were children my sister and I were always making games like this so it fitted into the theme of the blog hop perfectly!

And then there was this little wooden spool with a stitched message:

I unwound the fabric to read the message:

And then when I held it up to show hubby, I saw the reverse!

How adorable is that?

Nicola sent me a beautiful card featuring one of the samplers she has charted for Hands Across The Sea Samplers and this lovely kit to make a beaded scissor case and fob:

Preeti sent me an awesome hanging featuring the Superhero Unstoppable Jo!  She also included a gorgeous silk zipper bag with some buttons and charms and some pretty fabric which I thought was just the small plain turquoise flowers until I opened it out for the photo. Isn't it lovely?

Close-up of the hanger:

Bea sent me these three spooky needleminders from No More Lost Needles, I really need a metal board to display them when not in use:

Phew!  And Leonore sent me a Crafty Kitten voucher!

That's enough of the goodies from other people, what did I get for myself?

It was well-packaged!

There's approximately 20 feet of bubblewrap there!

A lockable display case for all the goodies I have been sent!

Kim's beautiful porcelain pencil tray inspired me to finally sort out some display space for the many lovely things I have been sent.  I needed something secure and with a glass top to protect things from prying fingers and dust.  This case is made by a company who make cases for antiques and collectors fairs and is lovely, very good quality and quick, safe delivery too.

We spent the day of my Birthday in Norwich which is our closest city.  I wanted to go to a craft fayre where my friend had a stall.  Unfortunately she was ill!  So I had to spend some pennies on other people instead.  

I bought a "cactus-you-cannot-kill".  Apparently crocheted cacti are a "thing", two stalls were selling them but this was the nicest.

I also bought some cards, a notebook, some wire ornie hooks and a lucky dip parcel.

Close-up of the lucky dip (chosen by my son)
How appropriate was that?
I had to tell the stall holder all about my Blog Hop!
The charms are all Alice in Wonderland themed which is perfect too.

Finally, one of the requests made to participants of the Big Birthday Blog Hop was to include a photo pof something stitched I would like.  Here they all are!

ps my Birthday Blog Hop post also saw my 12,000th comment!  From the lovely Rhona.  What great timing.  How serendipitous!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Days of Jo's Life - Big Birthday Blog Hop

It's here!!  I have timed this post to appear at the same time I was born, so please think of my poor Mum when you see it.  I do have a Happy Dance to share with you all later, I'm sure you can guess what it is.
aged 9 weeks with my Nana and Grandad

The blog hop starts with me.  It is August in the year 1966, England have won the World Cup and a young couple are expecting their first child.  The husband is in the army and away from his wife who is staying with her parents.  Each weekend he comes home expecting to see his newborn baby.  Each weekend he goes back to the barracks, childless.  Finally, we reach September the 16th and the baby is on its way!  Hurry home Dad!  Dad hitch-hikes over 200 miles home, bursts through the door "Where is the baby?"   "Oh, baby will be a while yet, we believe there is a good book in there too".  Eventually I appear at 2,15am on the morning of Saturday 17th September.  "Saturday's Child works hard for a living" - they got that right LOL.

aged 9 months - look at me with my duckies all in a row

To read more of my thrilling life story follow each link in turn.  Remember some links will appear later than others as people live in different time zones.  There are a couple of blank years where nothing much happened!  If you did anything exciting in one of those years, please feel free to blog about it and join in belatedly.  Leave a comment and a link.

1967 - Vickie
1968 - Ariadne
1969 - Lesley
1970 - Beth
1971 - Gillie
1972 - Carolyn
1973 - Cheryl
1974 - Christine
1975 - Deborah
1976 - Katie
1977 - Astrid
1978 - Cathy
1979 - Melinda
1980 - Geeky Heather
1981 - Gracie
1982 - Heather
1983 - Jocondine
1984 - Justine
1985 - Kerry
1986 - no link
1987 - Leonore
1988 - Elfie
1989 - no link
1991 - Tiffany
1992 - Kaye
1993 - Mini
1994 - Mouse
1995 - Stephanie
1996 - Diya
1997 - no link
1998 - Preeti
1999 - no link
2000 - Barb
2001 - no link
2002 - Riona
2003 - Sarah
2004 - no link
2005 - Sharon
2006 - Pat
2007 - Kim
2008 - Noni
2009 - Susan
2010 - Rachel
2011 - Barbara
2012 - Jackie
2013 - no post
2016 - Bea

Welcome Back to the Present!  Here in the present we have the promised Happy Dance for Ghostly Mandala by Ink Circles.  Earlier this year Rachel sent me some gorgeous dark fabric she just couldn't get on with and thought I would like.  I decided it would be good for the Ink Circles series of Mandalas.  I have three of them from Just Cross Stitch and only need to buy the fourth.  Because the Ghosts were charted for coloured thread on white fabric I had to switch them and used B5200 for the outline.  There is a stitcher on FB who has done the reverse, she has stitched the actual ghosts in white rather than the charted outlines.  They do look good that way if anyone is considering it.

stitched on 32 count Autumnal Woodland by Crafty Kitten using B5200

Finally, I will keep this brief because there's a lot of reading in those links!  I hope you all enjoy the Blog Hop, BYOC (Bring your own cake) and loved the stitching shown.  I have several stitchy parcels already which have been arriving throughout the week so I'll be back later with some more Gifted Gorgeousness photos to show you all.

Friday, 16 September 2016

September WIPocalypse Memory Lane

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.

The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "16 in '16" which are 16 projects I particularly wanted to concentrate on in 2016.   The full list can be found on my WIPocalypse page where you can also find my secondary list "16 Series in '16".

My main goal is to keep to my rotation of one small every Friday and the rest of the month working on my focus piece until it is finished.  I also have a number of SALs I want to keep up with:

The Alphabet Club - a different letter on the first Saturday of each month
Gifted Gorgeousness - post anything gifted on the 15th
Hallowe'en Ornie Blog - a different spooky theme each month
Christmas Ornie Blog - a different festive theme each month
Smalls SAL - last Thursday of each month


I have worked on 2 out of 16 projects since my last WIPocalypse, plus 2 from my series list.

1. Gathering Honey by Jannlynn:

16. Counting Bats by Just Nan:

And for the series:

1. Christmas Cubes by The Primitive Hare:

6. Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books:

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss:

September - Tell us the story behind a piece with special memories.

The design I've chosen is Angelica by Lavender & Lace.

I was born at my grandparents' house and we stayed there off-and-on until I was six.  When I first started school we lived too far for me to come home for dinner (as most children did back then).  My Dad would drop me off at Nana's for breakfast, I'd go there for my dinner and again after school when my Mum would come and walk home with me.   In the late 1960s my Nana had developed a brain tumour which was operated on successfully but which left her dependent on her family for anything more complicated than light housework, cooking and local shopping.  She also clung to anything familiar which included her oldest grand-daughter (me).  In her final years she was fond of telling people she "had brought me up".

When Grandad passed away she had to learn to live alone which she managed with support from my parents and the "girls" from the Home Care Agency.  She was unwilling to accept strangers into her home but conceded she would allow ones who smiled!  I was working full time (6 days a week) but did my best to visit her regularly and when she went into hospital again I spent my day off travelling to visit a very grumpy old lady who did not understand why she had to stay there.  "My sisters will look after me" as they did when she had the first brain tumour.  Well, those sisters still with us were in their late 80s themselves and not able to!  Eventually I had a cunning plan and introduced her to "my friend Mandy who has a house where ladies can live with her".  Nana decided any friend of mine was OK and told her social worker she "wanted to live with Mandy"!   The residential home was only 5 minutes from my house so I was able to visit more regularly for short periods of time.

At this time I was stitching Angelica by Lavender & Lace, the Easter weekend was spent working on her over-one face.  When the care home phoned me to tell me that Nana had lapsed into unconsciousness and the end was close, I brought Angelica with me to work on while I sat with her.  Nana passed away very peacefully just after teatime with me holding her hand and talking her through all the people who would be waiting for her.  I don't know exactly when I finished Angelica, it was some time later that summer so she appears in my Happy Dance blog on Nana's Birthday.  Nana would have been 101 this year!

Finally, Measi's suggestion of a memory post brings me nicely to tomorrow!  This blog will be hosting a Retrospective View of The Days of Jo's Life featuring Guest Bloggers from Around the World and their Memories Based on Anecdotes from Jo's Life and  Appropriate Stitching.  Or a Big Birthday Blog Hop for short.  I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully will manage to visit everyone by Sunday evening.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness September Link-Up Post

Welcome to the Gifted Gorgeousness link-up post!  The link-up date will continue to be the 15th of each month but I will keep the linky open until the end of each month so you have plenty of time to join in.

The format remains EXACTLY the same as last year so I'm sure you are all aware of what can be included - gifts to and from you; charts, fabric or threads; shoe-horns welcome!

Since my last GG post I have worked on a few gifted pieces:

Beaded Trumpet by Mill Hill - a gift from Kim:

Gathering Honey by Jannlynn - a gift to and from my friend Sam:

Counting Bats by Just Nan - a gift from Epic Mel and a Happy Dance this month:

stitched on 32 count lavender linen

Ghostly Mandala by Ink Circles - fabric was a gift from Rachel:

this is literally how to close to finishing I am!

Sugar Skulls by Brooke's Books - a gift for my niece and her fiance:

Yes, my B5200 arrived!
Black Kreinik is still AWOL

Last month I hosted a GGG for one person to win some Tibetan Silver charms, chosen from these packets:

The winner is

Congratulations to Jocondine, I shall be mailing a selection of the charms to you, some time before the end of the month!

You may remember back in the Summer I hosted my first Tenuous Shoe Horn Blog Party on the theme Summer?  Well, I used the Random Number Generator to chose one of the participants to win a little Summer-themed something.

The winner is

Congratulations to Katie, I shall be mailing something to you too, some time before the end of the month!

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 "September Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month.
And link to the actual post, not just your blog.  It is easier if you copy and paste the link, rather than typing freehand.
Thank you.  I can amend links if you make a boo-boo though.



Finally, we are nearly here!  There will be another blog post tomorrow for the WIPocalypse and then it's the BIG DAY and time for the BIG BIRTHDAY BLOG HOP!   BYOC - Bring your own cake.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Solo September - Sort Of

Justine has hosted a series of OAAT months this year and we are currently in Solo September.  Because of my rotation I can't truly OAAT but I can do Focus on a Finish instead.  This month's focus is the Sugar Skulls by Brooke's Books.  I am stitching these on the recommended perforated paper as a wedding gift for my niece.

I've started on the Senorita Skull and have hit a snag.  I'm using 3 strands of B5200 which I'm also using for Ghostly Mandala and the Christmas Cubes.  And I have about three lengths left.  I ordered some during the week from a mega-cheap eBay shop and it duly arrived.  Except they sent 6 skeins of Blanc instead of 1 Blanc and 5 of B5200.  I rarely use Blanc and need the B5200!   The nice lady apologised and will send the replacements tomorrow.  So by Tuesday I can crack on with my white.

In the meantime I've started the flowers for her hair.  I would have stitched the black Kreinik too but it's playing Hide and Seek with my black PTB somewhere!  My list said I had some but it wasn't in the Kreinik box.  It wasn't in the bag with the DMC metallics and I couldn't remember when I had last used it.  Blog to the rescue!  A quick search for Black Kreinik and I discovered I had bought it for Trixie the Hallowe'en Witch.  Which means it may be with the charts and once I have time I can search for them.

I think this pink Kreinik may be glow-in-the dark?  055F

In the evenings I have been focusing hard on Ghostly Mandala by Ink Circles and now have only this corner to complete:

stitched on 32 count Autumnal Woodland by Crafty Kitten

This is the next Christmas Cube by Primitive Hare, excuse the blur, I didn't have the macro on.  I'll take a proper one when it's finished:

stitched on 35 count Country Mocha from Willow Fabrics

I did a little FFo'ing this afternoon and made another cube.  Four done, five to go and we've got seven weekends until Hallowe'en.

I'm using the same fabric in three different colourways for the backs and sides of the cubes.  Each one is 4 x 4 x 2 inches.

Matt LeB5200 as Dr. Drake Ramoray

Days of Jo's Life Blog Hop

AKA The Big Birthday Blog Hop

Finally, I spent this morning typing out my life story in segments and emailing it to the participants of my Big Birthday Blog Hop.  So if you signed up to take part and haven't had an email, please contact me ASAP so I can double check.  For the rest of you, the Blog Hop will take place on my Birthday which is next Saturday 17th September.  I will have a list of blogs and which year they have been allocated.  You just hop around and enjoy my life story!  Provide your own cake and balloons.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

The Nice and Nifty Alphabet Needleworkers

It's the first Saturday of the month so it's time for detention!

"They only met online, but it changed their lives forever"

I think most of you know the lovely enigmatic Chiara who blogs at The Grey Tail?  We were chatting via email a while back and between us came up with the idea of an A-Z language challenge.  We batted some ideas around and are calling it the The Alphabet Club.  Chiara has the full details on that link but basically she will post a link-up post on the first Saturday of each month (Saturday being detention day in the film) reminding us of the month's letter and we will all link up with themed things, from stitching to designers and local customs.

N is for Necromancy from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's Note of Friendship blog.  I don't think there's too much raising the dead on this blog although I did show a Mummy last month and there will be a Zombie for Z (spoiler alert!).

N is also for Needle as shown in the Brooke's Book's Stitcher's Alphabet piece I am stitching for the Alphabet Club SAL:

Where do you keep your needles?  In a Needlebook of course.  I have Never stitched one of these but luckily I have one made by a dear friend, Margaret, it was one of the first stitched gifts I received in my first year of blogging.

N is for Noah's Ark and I've stitched a few of those, all as birth samplers.

DSC02117BlueTilefloral.jpg Blue Tile Floral
Joan Elliott

From Homes & Garden Cross Stitch book with Noah charted by me, based on the Little People toy.

Noah's Ark JBW
JBW Designs

N is for Noel (Christmas, not the name!)

N designers include Nora Corbett, and here's another chance to see her four Alphabet Fairies:

Less well-known is Nimue, a French designer with a unique style who designed this lovely Baby Swing:

Stiched on 32 count Sunlit Heath Murano from Crafty Kitten (named by me!)

You can read more about this design here.

I had several Ns on my WIP list earlier this year, all Nora's but now I have None.  I do have a few Northern Expressions Needleworks charts in my stash following a Giveaway by the designer.  Here are a few:

So, on to Bloggers!  On my Blog Roll we have:

(can we spot a theme here?)

and then there's

And not a blog, but a great stitching forum


Finally, it's September so it's my Big Birthday Month, yay!  Nearly time for the Big Birthday Blog Hop.  Some people requested they be advised of their year for the hop early due to holidays, so I have now done that.  For the rest of the participants, you will be getting an email from me in the next two weeks giving you all the information you need to know.  I still have a few spaces left, so if anyone is late to the party, leave me a comment and I can fit you in!