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Monday, 8 February 2016

February TUSAL

Tusal

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 projects:


The one on the left is Nora Corbett's C, shown here with all the plain cross stitching done and the backstitch about to be commenced.  I ordered all the beads and Kreinik for all four today, so this one should be done by the end of the week.  Roughly 24 days spent on her in total, which means I should just about be able to complete all three by the middle of the Easter holidays!

Stitched on 32 count Oceanic Fantasia by Crafty Kitten

Here is the piece on the left, Strawberry Sampler by The Sampler House.  I am focusing on the DMC colours and will add the Perle at the end.  Some of those are pulled threads so I like to have the plain stitching all complete.
stitched on 32 Antique White linen

Short post today, I have lots of blogs to read and emails to answer!

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Finally, the last call for the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop which will be taking place on Valentine's Day.  Full details can be found on this post but basically you email me a photo of something suitable for a lovely friend and I send you a photo from a mystery friend which you post on your blog to wait for your Secret Stitching Sweetheart to find you from the list of participants on my blog.  Have a look at last year's Hop to see how it all worked:

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Gorgeous and Generous Alphabet Group

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.


G is for Gargoyle from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's Note of Friendship blog.

G is also for Granny Squares 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 fabric

G completes the second page of my little book:


And here is the whole thing so far.  The blank area is going to have the words The Alphabet Club and the dates, once I have designed it.


G is for Ghoulies and Ghosties, more of which on the Hallowe'en Blog.  I have stitched a few designs with ghosts in:




My biggest and best G finish is arguably Green Goddess by Joan Elliott:


I have one G WIP - Gathering Honey by Jannlynn:


If you want to see real progress on this, pop over to Jacqui's blog because she's stitching it and will probably overtake me this weekend!

Blog I follow beginning with G:





(great for wildlife photos too)

And the home of the freebie:


The other Big G is, of course, Gifted Gorgeousness; my year long SAL now in its second year.  The SAL came about because of the Generosity of my fellow stitching bloggers who had gifted or organised so many Giveaways I wanted to stitch everything I had!

This week I have continued with a piece which was a prize giveaway from Lee Under The Mountain.  A little band sampler called Strawberry Sampler:

stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

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Finally,  the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop will be taking place on Valentine's Day.  Full details can be found on this post but basically you email me a photo of something suitable for a lovely friend and I send you a photo from a mystery friend which you post on your blog to wait for your Secret Stitching Sweetheart to find you from the list of participants on my blog.  Have a look at last year's Hop to see how it all worked:

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Another DUCJC 2015 Happy Dance

I took part in the DUCJC last year for the first and only time (probably) because I wanted to honour Debbie's memory that first year.  I worked on 31 different projects in January 2015, many of them new starts and this year I am focusing on finishing as many as possible.

And here is the latest!


Yes, Book of Spells by The Goode Huswif is a finish!  I started this piece on the 10th January, 2015 and then put it to one side until the end of April when I had finished Prairie Moon Thine is the Trick and the Treat.  Book of Spells took its place as my bath time stitching!  The Small Boy's bath, not mine.  I stitch while I supervise him playing with the bubbles.

I took another break just before Christmas to focus on the Plum Street Sampler 12 Days of Christmas then picked it up again in January.



The fabric is a 40 count linen called Jewel Butterbeer by Under the Sea Fabrics.  It was a gift from my friend Karen (who doesn't blog anymore but you might remember her as Stitchy Woman?).  I used the DMC conversion with a few personal changes.  The moon is 4145 (greys) and 4130 (oranges).  It took a long time but is one of my favourite parts now.


This photo includes a ruler so you can see the final size of the piece.  A little over 9 inches or 23cm.  The plan I have is to get it colour photocopied and use that as a cover for a notebook and frame the original.


Since I finished this piece I decided to pick up another DUCJC start, a small this time:


This was my Day 7 start, a prize from Lee Under the Mountain, an older hand-drawn chart from The Sampler House called Strawberry Sampler.  I'm stitching this on 32 count Antique White linen.  I do love these delicate band samplers.  This one reminds me of the Shepherd's Bush series I also started, so maybe I'll move on to one of those next.

I've just checked back on the page for the DUCJC.  At the end of 2015 I had completed 17 out of the 31.  And now I've added another 2 finishes to that total.  Still leaves 12 WIPS to be slain!

I've also been making great progress on Nora Corbett's C Fairy, thanks to the Fifth Friday in January I had a free weekend which I dedicated to my Fairy:

Stitched on 32 count Oceanic Fantasia by Crafty Kitten

I have now stitched all the colours and just have white (or Cloud) to add.  That will be highlights on the waves and the rest of the wing.  Then it's backstitching in DMC and Kreinik and finally the beads. 

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Finally,  the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop will be taking place on Valentine's Day.  Full details can be found on this post but basically you email me a photo of something suitable for a lovely friend and I send you a photo from a mystery friend which you post on your blog to wait for your Secret Stitching Sweetheart to find you from the list of participants on my blog.  Have a look at last year's Hop to see how it all worked:




Sunday, 31 January 2016

I Like Pie

And I'm sure you all do too!  So let's start with the January Pie:

You can see what I spent most of January working on!  And here is the progress photo:

Stitched on 32 count Oceanic Fantasia by Crafty Kitten

I've only actually got two colours, the backstitch and beads to do.  But there is a LOT of each of those two colours!  Thankfully the patterned fabric means I don't have to stitch all the charted background.

Stitch from Stash is no longer running but I thought I'd track what I'm spending this year anyway.  So far I have purchased the Crescent Colours for the letters and paid for a quarterly magazine subscription.

Threads:        £ 20.80
Magazines:   £   8.72
Total Spend: £ 29.52

I also promised you the photos for how I made my cube finish for Poinsettia Christmas by Acorn House Designs.  This design featured in Just Cross Stitch magazine Christmas Ornie Special 2013.  I stitched it at the end of 2014 and it sat there waiting for me to finish-finish which I finally did this January!

First all of I cut out four pieces of thick mounting board.  Two were 14cm by 14cm and two were 7cm by 14 cm.  I'm using cm because you can be more accurate without going into fractions of inches!

In the first photo you can see the sparkly evenweave facedown on the table with the left and right edges taped to the back of the mounting board.  I put a piece of wadding between the fabric and the board to give it a nice padded feel.  You can see I have cut a thin sliver off the other piece of square board. (about 4mm) this is to make the back slightly smaller so the cube will tilt back just a little and not fall forward on its face!  It makes it easier to see the stitching too.


Then I chose my backing fabric and taped the left and right edges to the board.  I use double-sided tape for ease and because this is not an heirloom piece, it's for my pleasure now.  If you want it to last 100 years, then lace the backs properly.


Next I used tape along the 14cm edges of the side pieces to fix them to the front and back pieces so we have a long jointed piece.


 This photo shows all four pieces joined together into a parallelogram shape!


I don't have a photo of the side piece laid out but basically it's a long piece of thin card covered in the same backing fabric.  The card is 60cm long allowing for four sides of 14cm plus an overlap.  I could have used more wadding to pad the sides but I didn't have any more!

You can see the bottom of the box isn't covered with fabric.  Because the back of the box is slightly smaller, the edge piece will meet at an angle on the bottom of the box so you will need to trim it to fit.  Then I used a piece of dark green felt to cover the gaps and make a nice base for it to stand on.

I taped the card to the top of the box and to the bottom on the box.  That's when I noticed the sides gaped.

At this point I realised my no-sew-cube was going to have to be a low-sew-cube!

This photo shows me using invisible thread to whip stitch the edge of the evenweave to the backing fabric and closing the gap.  I also did the same on the back of the box.


And voila!  The finished piece:


The clay poinsettia is available direct from Acorn House Designs.  I attached it using more invisible thread around the lower petals.  The ribbon came from a box of chocolates and was in my ribbon stash box.

Side view:


And the back:


Because I used thick mounting board for the main piece it stands very well as it is.  But you could weight it down with some kind of stuffing.  Old clothing is suggested in one place which seems like a good recycling idea.  I have plenty of pairs of Small Boy jeans where one leg would fill a box nicely.

I hope you enjoyed the photos!  It's a nice project for a Sunday afternoon.

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Finally,  the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop will be taking place on Valentine's Day.  Full details can be found on this post but basically you email me a photo of something suitable for a lovely friend and I send you a photo from a mystery friend which you post on your blog to wait for your Secret Stitching Sweetheart to find you from the list of participants on my blog.  Have a look at last year's Hop to see how it all worked:




Thursday, 28 January 2016

January Small 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.  So January was Winged Creatures and I stitched these bats:


Kaye has chosen the themes for the Christmas Blog and January's was Music.  I am stitching Primitive Hare's Christmas Cubes for this challenge and here is C:


I also had a really small Small finish, the Mona Lisa by Mr. X-Stitch.  While rummaging through my stash cupboard I found this display of frames I bought from a house clearance shop a couple of years ago.  One of the frames was the perfect size for Mona:



Edit - The finished piece is 1.75 inches by 2.25 inches.

Now I just need five more miniature Old Masters to complete the set!  If anyone has any ideas please send me the links.  I found a cute Van Gogh from Cloud Factory which is a start.

In an attempt to keep up with my scrapbooking I mounted this little tree in a new frame made from an old Christmas card:


And here's the whole page:


Another thing which has got smaller is my list of followers, you may have noticed the same.  But do not panic!  Blogger has simply decided not to allow people to "follow" with accounts other than Blogger ones.  If those ex-followers use a Reader they should still be able to see your posts.

Finally,  the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop will be taking place on Valentine's Day.  Full details can be found on this post but basically you email me a photo of something suitable for a lovely friend and I send you a photo from a mystery friend which you post on your blog to wait for your Secret Stitching Sweetheart to find you from the list of participants on my blog.  Have a look at last year's Hop to see how it all worked:

Sunday, 24 January 2016

January WIPocalypse Introduction

WIPocalypse
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.  Measi always gives us a topic to discuss too.

January - Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

I think you all know who I am by now!  The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "16 in '16" which are 16 projects I particularly wanted to focus 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

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And now for the progress report:

So far this month I've worked on five of the main 16 and four of the series list.  Although there is one overlap there!

Here are the main projects:

6. Poinsettia Cottage by CCN - Finished


8. Book of Spells by The Goode Huswif - WIP

I've actually done a lot more on that house

11. Elizabeth Shephard by The Scarlet Letter - WIP



13. C by Nora Corbett - WIP



16. Counting Bats by Just Nan - WIP


And the series:

1. Christmas Cubes by Primitive Hare - WIP


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

(you're not getting a close-up until the block is finished!)


14. 12 Days of Christmas by Plum Street Samplers - Finished


15. Alphabet Fairies by Nora Corbett - see above


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Finally, a little bit more About Me - I run a number of Blog Hops throughout the year.  Open to old friends and new bloggers alike.  The next one will be the Secret Stitching Sweetheart on Valentine's Day.  Full details can be found on this post but basically you email me a photo of something suitable for a lovely friend and I send you a photo from a mystery friend which you post on your blog to wait for your Secret Stitching Sweetheart to find you from the list of participants on my blog.  Have a look at last year's Hop to see how it all worked:


II 

Friday, 22 January 2016

Continuing Progress on a Couple of Projects

That title is what you get when there isn't a SAL to post about!

I mentioned Nora Corbett's C last post but didn't have a photo, so here is one for you:

Stitched on 32 count Oceanic Fantasia by Crafty Kitten

Every time I stitch a Nora Corbett I remember why I love her designs so much!  This is a pure joy to stitch.

I'm using the Crescent Colours, now called Classic Colourworks because I discovered that most of them are used in all four of the letter I want to stitch which made it worth buying them.

Next up is today's new start - the letter G from Brooke's Books' Stitcher's Alphabet:


My 2016 rotation is working rather well.  I start a new small every Friday and stitch until it is completed and then I stitch my focus piece (currently C).  I am also stitching Book of Spells each evening when the Small Boy is in the bath.

The Large Boy has had a couple of days off school with a cold so we sat down to watch a film this afternoon (The Corpse Bride).  I decided to have a go at a Cube Finish in practise for the Hallowe'en and Christmas Cubes.  It's a design I actually finished back in 2014 which has sat in the folder waiting to be finish-finished.  I'd been debating over foam blocks vs polystyrene blocks when Susan sent me some instructions for making a box using mat board.  I kind of adapted them to make my own "no-sew" version.

At least "no-sew" was the idea but it turned out to be "low-sew" as the sides will need whip stitching to fill the gaps.

Poinsettia Christmas by Acorn House Designs

I also need some ribbon and to affix the poinsettia charm which came with this.  I've taken step-by-step photos and will share them when I've finished finish-finishing!

Thank you for all the comments about Mona Lisa on my previous post.  I did have to laugh at the ones about my "amazing eyesight".  I am actually chronically short-sighted and wear varifocals every day.  My distance vision is about a minus seven.  To stitch anything at all I have to hold it approximately three inches from my face and look over the top of my glasses.  Which means that 28 count over one is no more difficult than over 2 on any count.  And that is why I love my tiny stitching so much.

Finally it's sign-up time for the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop which takes place on Valentine's Day.  Full details can be found on this post but basically you email a photo of something suitable for a lovely friend and I send you a photo from a mystery friend which you post on your blog to wait for your Secret Stitching Sweetheart to find you from the list of participants on my blog.  Have a look at last year's Hop to see how it all worked: