Thursday, 26 May 2016

May Smalls SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I have two Small Challenges:

For the Hallowe'en Blog I have done something a little different this year, I've chosen a band sampler by Just Nan called Counting Bats and each band corresponds to the monthly themes on the blog.  May's theme was Spiders and I stitched this band:

stitched on 32 count lilac linen

That is one giant spider!  I am not surprised the ghosts are fleeing.

Here is the whole piece with my special scissors and fob:

The theme on the Christmas Ornie SAL blog was Reindeer and I decided to stitch one of Daffycat's cute little reindeer freebies.  In the event, I stitched three of them!  Jinglebell, Holly and Mistletoe.

I also completed another Small, this time as part of the Stitch Maynia Colour-a-Day SAL, which was Red.

stitched on 28 count Platinum linen

This was a gift from Vickie so I will be sending it back out into the world as part of June's Gifted Gorgeousness post.  So keep your eyes open then!  I used the charted DMC 902 for the darker red and substituted 3722 for the charted 3726 which looked too brown to me.  I also used standard size beads instead of the charted petite.  The standard beads filled the spaces much better than the petites.  Plus I had them in my stash and didn't have the petites!

Having completed that piece I needed something simple to start straightaway and chose the second in a series called Winter Woods by The Little Stitcher.  Only a couple of evenings bathtime stitching and a lunchbreak at work and it was done:

stitched over one on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

Here is the previous piece in this series:

There is one more and I'll scrapbook them together.

I almost forgot my other Small! Inspired by our host Heather, I stitched on the Teresa Wentzler Byzantine Ornaments too.  I used burgundy fabric and changed the colours too:

more details in the post here

Finally, in my last post I showed a picture of Just Nan's Haunted Pumpkins Tree and said I couldn't remember what happened to it.  I found it!  In a sensible place, surprisingly.  I had put the finished piece into the bag with the chart and put them back into my Just Nan bag.  There are a LOT of charts in that bag.  Maybe I'll pull out a JN small to start tonight.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

May WIPocalypse Looking Back at Last Year

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


And now for the progress report:

I have worked on 4 out of 16 projects since my last WIPocalypse, plus 3 from my series list.

4. Little Snowy Cottage by Nora Corbett - Finish

stitched on 32 count Blue Hydrangea opalescent by Crafty Kitten

5. Little Snap Dragon by Kustom Krafts - WIP

stitched on 32 count Evening Sky Murano by Crafty Kitten

11. Elizabeth Shephard by Scarlet Letter - WIP

stitched on 30 count linen
I stitched the green border and the brown at the bottom

16. Counting Bats by Just Nan - WIP

stitched on 32 count lilac linen

And for the series:

6. Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books - WIP

9. Spring Typography by Just Nan - Finish

16. Byzantine Ornaments by Teresa Wentzler - 1 finished


Measi always gives us a topic to discuss too:

May - What were you stitching this time last year and have you finished it?

For the May 2015 WIPocalypse post I had three finishes and one new start which I finished very quickly:

stitched on 28 count Chocolate Orange evenweave from Crafty Kitten

The question is - did I frame it, and if so, where is it?  I don't recall framing it.  I must find out.  I didn't scrapbook it because of that charm.  So where is it...

On the 20th May I blogged about another newish start; Pretty Little London from Satsuma Street.  Now that one I did scrapbook and here it is:

So I did pretty well.  Elizabeth Shephard is still an active WIP from last year but apart from her, most of the pieces I was stitching on have been completed.  The ones that haven't were starts for the DUCJC which are on the list to be worked on this year.

Finally, I didn't do the DUCJC this year or the Stitch Maynia this May but I did see a Flosstube made by Tracy P where she attempted to start all 15 projects in one evening.  She managed 7 before collapsing!  But it got me thinking about attempting something similar.  A WIP marathon on the Longest Day of the Year.  Which is Monday the 20th June this year.  I could start at 9am when the boys have gone to school, stitch for 4 hours, break for lunch, stitch for another 4 hours, break for tea and possibly manage another 90 minutes in the evening.  Allowing 30 minutes per WIP that would be 18/19 projects in one day!  So that would be all my WIPS, some of my UFOs, and the rest would be from my Series list so not really lots of new starts.  Who else is in and who just wants to watch the fun?!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

A Little Dragon Progress

I first saw this design in an advert in a cross stitch magazine back when I didn't have the internet at home.  I thought it was lovely and wondered where I could get it.

Fast forward a few years and I started blogging and entering giveaways.  Lesley from Lesley's Stitching Diary was the host for one of them.  Can you believe my luck when back in April 2012 I won the chart I had seen all those years before?  Little Snap Dragon is designed by Dyan Allaire for Kustom Krafts.   Later that year I received the threads for the design in a magazine exchange with Kathy (I sent her a UK mag and she sent me the threads plus a very long Joann's receipt!)  And there they sat, in my stash binding their time.

That time came last year with the DUCJC and my Gifted Gorgeousness SAL.  When I was sorting our my GG stash I knew Little Snap Dragon had to be included.  In fact he was the first project of the DUCJC2015 started on 1st January, 2015.  And here is how far I got:

And then back in the box for the rest of the year!  I included him in my "16 in '16" this year and the lucky little dragon's number came up this month!  I restarted him on Monday 16th May and here he is after another four days' stitching:

Lots and lots of green.
Not one or two greens but
nine different greens.  So far.
Plus one dark navy,

This is quite confetti filled unlike my preferred Mirabilia and Joan Elliott designs where the colours flow nicely alongside one another.  Here's an example:

Look at all those different symbols to make green and navy!

Anyway, it's looking lovely and my highlighter pens are doing overtime.  The fabric is another 32 count Murano from Crafty Kitten.  This one is Evening Sky.

Finally, another shout out for my Birthday Blog Year - The Years of Jo's Life.  If you decide to take part, I will allocate you a year and an event which you blog about and include a photo of something you have stitched that you think I will like.  Drop me an email if you need more details!  The blog hop will take place on the 17th September this year.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness May 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:

Elizabeth Shepherd by The Scarlet Letter - a gift from Nicola:

stitched on 30 count linen

Counting Bats by Just Nan - a gift from Epic Mel:

stitched on 32 count lilac linen

Those scissors were a gift too, from Heather of It's Geek to Me.  The scissor chain was made by a friend of mine too.

We had a Happy Dance on Nora Corbett's Little Snowy Gray Cottage - a gift from Nataly's Needle:

stitched on 32 count Blue Hydrangea Opalescent by Crafty Kitten.

And continued progress on The Sweetheart Tree's Finger Fun 1 - a gift from Vickie:

stitched on 28 count Platinum linen

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 "May 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.



I'm not aware of any GGG (Gifted Gorgeousness Giveaway) this month, I'm not hosting one myself but if you are, let me know and I'll add a link here!


Finally, The Days of Jo's Life Big Birthday Blog Hop was been launched and is taking sign-ups.  The Hop will be on the 17th September.  To take part all you have to do is leave a comment or email me.  Nearer the date I will allocate you a Year of My Life and on the 17th September you do a blog post about that year or that life event in your life or what you were doing at that age (assuming you are that old!).  Also, post something you have stitched which you think I will like.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Friday Finishing Frenzy!

I was intending to post on Wednesday or Thursday this week to space the posts out but I was so close to finishing Little Snowy Gray Cottage I wanted to push on and have a Happy Dance post!

So without further ado, here is Little Snowy Metallic Gray Cottage:

Look at all the bling in that!

Design Details:

Little Snowy Gray Cottage by Nora Corbett
Started on 19th January, 2015 for DUCJC2015
Recommenced on 6th April, 2016
Completed on 13th May, 2016 (22 days stitching in total) 
Stitched on 32 count Blue Hydrangea Opalescent by Crafty Kitten
Recommended DMC and Kreinik except for the following:
B5200 for Blanc
Emerald Forest by Jodyri for the Caron Waterlilies
Kreinik 001HL and 014 blended for snowflakes instead of RG Arctic Rays

The Rainbow Gallery Arctic Rays is weird stuff, it's like metallic Whisper and likes to form hairballs on the back of your fabric!  Where the two sides of diagonal stitches meet in the middle the fabric is a little puckered (you can see in the last photo) but hopefully it won't show so much when it is stretched and framed.  

It will need a deep rebate on the frame because of those huge beads on top of the wall posts.

The nicest thread was the Kreinik 9294 used for the walls of the house, I love the colour and ir was so easy to stitch with, a pleasure!

I finished the Cottage this morning which left me some stitching space for the afternoon.  The second Friday of the month is for the Christmas Ornie SAL which is usually my Primitive Hare Christmas Cubes.  But there isn't a Cube which fits this month's theme of Reindeer.  So that gave me the excuse to finally start a series I have been hoarding for about five years!  Daffycat's annual reindeer freebie!

Jinglebell Reindeer from 2008

I didn't stitch him twice but I couldn't decide which photo looked better.  The colours are more accurate in the top one but you can see him better in the bottom one.

I stitched him over one on 28 count silvered white evenweave using the following colours:

Brown - 801
Green - 3346
Red - 815
Beads - 40557

I changed the red and green because colours can look different when you stitch over one and I wanted them to be a little brighter.

The reindeer himself took exactly one hour to stitch.  I timed myself.  The border took longer because my son came home from school and there were snack interruptions and I was needed to read the subtitles on a YouTube clip to him!

I have enough fabric to stitch eight of them, there are nine so far.  I plan to stitch six of them and finish into a cube ornament and hope that Daffycat does three more so I can have two cubes!  If not, then I will "flip" three of them and stitch them reversed.  I will have to get some more fabric though.

In the evenings I have been working on this sweet little chart from Sweetheart Tree:

stitched on 28 count Platinum linen

I am pleased with how well the blackwork shows up in the photo.  It is quite time consuming, the top border took two evenings to complete (doing about 30 minutes per session).

Finally, I joined a new-to-me FB group called Cross Stitch Finish Line which is all about celebrating different types of finishes, encouraging WIPs to become finishes and they host themed events too.  My shoe horn and I do enjoy a good themed SAL (I still miss Theme-a-licious).  The first one will be Sing Me a SAL starting 15th May.  Anything song-related will fit.  Now, I have completed another one of my 16 WIPocalypse projects so I will be continuing with one of the others.  Gathering Honey is earmarked for a later SAL and I have three dragon-themed projects to choose from!

So any suggestions for Dragon-themed songs APART from the obvious Puff the Magic Dragon.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Joyeous and Jubilant Alphabet Jamboree

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.

J is for Jack-in-the-Box  from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's Note of Friendship blog.

Here's what Becky said about this block at the time:

"Depending on the country, the story varies a bit in it's telling, but most involve a devil! In French the jack-in-the-box is called a "diable en boîte", which means "boxed devil".  One of the first jack-in-the-boxes was pictured holding a boot with a devil in it. Some believe that the name "Jack" was a reference to the devil, referred to as a jack - is this also where we get Jack-o-lantern?"

J is for Japanese Embroidery as shown in the Brooke's Book's Stitcher's Alphabet piece I am stitching for the Alphabet Club SAL:

stitched on 28 count afghan 

I found this lovely quote on a website dedicated to Japanese Embroidery:

"The embroidery not only reflects the state of the inner heart, but it also reveals the embroiderer’s lifestyle in the way he or she selects colors and uses the various techniques. There is no way that a vague and superficial life will create work that will touch people’s hearts."

If you think about our stitching, the pieces which are a journey or have a personal meaning are the most interesting ones to blog about and which attract the most comments.  Both of my first two pictures have a story behind them which elevate them to something more than simply attractive decorations.  One was a gift for a friend, as part of a group project for her church and the other was a gift from a friend, a connection across the ocean.  A friend who could do with some prayers right now, so say a quick one for Shirlee please.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed her new house works out, which is making stitching difficult!

Here are two Joyful pieces:

Joy from Jeanette Douglas
from JCS Christmas Ornie Special 2010

Elizabeth Designs Joyous Noel
Joyous Noel by Elizabeth Designs

Just Cross Stitch magazine is one which will be very familiar to my American followers and probably most of my RoW ones too.  (RoW = Rest of World, an insurance expression for a country which did not fit into one of the main categories!).  According to my Happy Dance Blog I have stitched 21 different designs from JCS;  14 Hallowe'en and 7 Christmas themed designs.

Designers beginning with J is such an easy one - two of my favourites; Just Nan and Joan Elliott.

Here are the three Typography designs from Just Nan that I have completed, only Summer to complete the set:

And here are four of Joan Elliot's monthly designs from the Year of Magical Stitching charts:

only another eight to do!

Both those series are part of my WIPocalypse 16 series in '16 list.  I also have Jannlynn's Gathering Honey on my list.  Last seen here:

Day 20 of the DUCJC 2015

And a completed J is for Joanne from Nora Corbett:

Another favourite J designer is JBW, I stitched a Year of Kitties in 2013 and here are January, June and July:

And now on to my Blog Roll.  Several of my favourite bloggers begin with J:

(and the Lighthouse-Loving Jeremiah's Grandmom too)

(our wonderful artistic French friend)

(the ever-cheerful Jacquie)

Just Stitching Along (with Krista)


Finally, one more J which is me!  I will be celebrating the Years of Jo's Life in September with a special blog hop.  I am hoping to get one blogger for each year of my life.  Which is a lot!  So if you'd like to take part just leave a comment or email me.  I will allocate each participant a year and a life event which they will blog about plus show a photo of something stitched they think will appeal to me.  I have such varied tastes, that shouldn't be too difficult!