Saturday, 26 July 2014

TUSAL of Stories

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 Stories.  Here it is as part of my TUSAL photo:

And on its own:

I wonder what story the sitting up squirrel is telling its little friend?  Beatrix Potter's Squirrel Nutkin maybe? Or how about "The Little Squirrel Who Sneaked into a Round Robin for Bunnies" by Karen McEwan?

How many of you are reading to your children/grandchildren in the evenings?  It's one of my favourite times of the day and always has been.  We started with simple board books and picture books, limited to three stories and one poem book each night.  As my son grew older we moved onto "chapter books" working our way through the classics  from my childhood via anything with a dragon in it and a selection of proof copies from work.  I am a great believer in reading the book before the film so we often read books which are due to come to the cinema soon.  I also quote alot from books so that's another reason for choosing to read a book, so he recognises the quotes.  In the last year or so we have moved on from children's books to my great love, fantasy, especially comic fantasy in the shape of Sir Terry Pratchett.

We still read a poem each evening, we have two different books of A Poem A Day and alternate each year.

Thanks for the advice on the stitching over 1 for the Joan Elliott SAL, I also asked on the Mirabilia FB page because those stitchers do some beautiful conversions and the general consensus was to rechart and smooth the steps.  It is so amazing to have such a pool of stitchers to ask advice from, I really appreciate the knowledge we share.

Here is today's progress:

Stitched on 28count Snapdragon from Crafty Kitten.

Talking of advice, I noticed recently that my blogoversary countdown was stuck on 67 days, as was everyone else's!  I reloaded it and the same thing happened; changed the date, still 67 days.  So I have replaced it with a ticker which isn't quite as good (it's a bit wide!) but at least it's accurate.  If you have this gadget on your blogs you might want to check it out.  If you find a smaller one then please let me know!

Those of you on Facebook may have become aware of a new event - World Cross Stitch Day.  I don't know if there is a website or a blog or if this is just a FB thing but the date is Friday 8th August.  No time zone given, so if you start at 00.01 New Zealand Time and finish at 23.59 Baker Island (Pacific Ocean) Time then you actually get 48 hours of stitching time in total!

Finally, another card went out for the Summer Postcard Blog and this one came with a bonus picture from me.  Hop over to Krista's blog to see what that is all about.

First postcard from Marcy goes to Gracie at Needles, Pins and Dragonflies
Second postcard from Krista goes to Jocondine at Jocondine
Third postcard from Michelle goes to Sharon at Shebafudge
Fourth postcard from Mouse goes to Vickie at A Stitcher's Story
Fifth postcard from Christine goes to Marcy at Stitching Plus
Sixth postcard from Astrid goes to Krista at Just Stitching Along

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Hosted by Joysze of Random Ramblings

IHSW = International Hermit and Stitch Weekend, or in this case Week!  As well as spending quite alot of time stitching at the weekend I decided to spend the last two days of the term stitching too, just in case I don't get so much done during the holiday!

The first thing I completed was Just Nan's Moon Riders Jack:

This was stitched on 32 count lavender evenweave using the recommended DMC except for the moon which I used DMC 4090.  I also changed the border to a stripy effect.  He's very dinky, only 2 inches square.  There are two more in the series which I have room for on this same piece of fabric.  As yet I'm not sure how to finish them.

The next project I decided to work on the first face in the Joan Elliott SAL.  This is a FB exclusive featuring reworkings of previous releases.  This is Guardian Angel, previously released as a Festive Angel.  Joan has changed the colours to suit the SAL and make her less Christmassy.

There has been alot of discussion over whether to stitch this SAL over 1 or over 2.  Quite a few of us have decided to stitch the skin over 1 but leave the rest over 2.  The ones I have seen look lovely stitched like this. 
One question I do have after looking at some of the over 1 skin - when you stitch this way do you literally stitch four small x for every large X exactly as charted or do you rechart smoothing out the blocks?  The second method seems logical to me, but it is more work so I wonder if everyone does it?

As you all know the Summer Postcard Blog Hop is now underway.  I have sent out five postcards so far and all have been posted on the recipients' blogs.  It's not too late to join in, just drop me an email!

First postcard from Marcy goes to Gracie at Needles, Pins and Dragonflies
Second postcard from Krista goes to Jocondine at Jocondine
Third postcard from Michelle goes to Sharon at Shebafudge
Fourth postcard from Mouse goes to Vickie at A Stitcher's Story
Fifth postcard from Christine goes to Marcy at Stitching Plus

Finally, I got a real life postcard myself, from my band sampler Round Robin!  Here is the postcard:

And here is the sampler sunning itself on the beach:

Isn't it nice when your stitching is better travelled then you are yourself?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Stitch from Stash July 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
£ 39.56

Lavender & Lace 2 charts
£ 10.00-
Just Cross Stitch Hallowe'en Ornie Issue
£   7.00-

£ 22.56
July Budget
£ 15.00
Available to carry forward to August
£ 37.56

Allowed purchases:
Jodyri Threads of Month Club : £ 5.54
World of Cross Stitching Subscription : £8.99

I didn't include the June Bonus in last month's accounts but Mel reminded me about it so I've added it this month.  The two Lavender & Lace charts were an impulse buy from Willow Fabrics.  They are selling a whole load of L&L and Mirabilia charts for only £5 and I could not resist these two:

Enchanted Alphabet and Fairy Grandmother

New Starts from Stash: Just Nan Moon Riders
WIPs and UFOs worked on: A Mon Ami Pierre Noel Blanc, Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown, The Little Stitcher 12 Days of Christmas, Just Nan Winter Typography

Just Nan - Moon Riders

A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc
Alphabet completed!

Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown

The other two can be seen on my WIPocalypse post, there has been no progress since then.

Finally, the Summer Postcard Blog Hop is now taking place, for more details of how to join in click on the garden picture to the right.  Here are the links for the four cards sent so far, why not pop over and leave a comment?

First postcard from Marcy goes to Gracie at Needles, Pins and Dragonflies
Second postcard from Krista goes to Jocondine at Jocondine
Third postcard from Michelle goes to Sharon at Shebafudge

Fourth postcard from Mouse goes to Vickie at A Stitcher's Story
Fifth postcard sent out but not posted yet...

Friday, 18 July 2014

The End of Term Approaches...

Only two more days of one school and three more for the other.  The Small Boy did his last day of term at his mainstream school today so I had to remember the wine for the teacher and his one-to-one TA and chocolates for them to share with the other two TAs (and a random work experience girl!).    No-one gets a cross-stitched gift this year because he will be continuing in the same class next year.  There will be wine and chocolates for his other school next week, he is going up a class there next year but I didn't realise in time to stitch something so it will have to be done over the summer for the first week back!

The Large Boy has had a brilliant teacher this year, she has really made their final year in Primary lots of fun as well as working them hard.  The league tables and SATs results are making headlines in the UK this week and our school is celebrating with a big improvement since last year.  In fact we believe we came top out of all the Primaries in our area, not bad for a school which got a "requires improvement" at its last Ofsted inspection.  Hah, what do they know?

Anyway, a brilliant teacher deserves a brilliant gift and hopefully this is it:

Teresa Wenzler Futurecaster conversion

I wanted a dragon and I wanted books, maybe a little dragon sitting on a pile of books?  So I googled around and found this conversion on Deviant Art.  She took the standard Futurecaster chart and changed the crystal ball to a book!  Perfect.

Teresa Wentzler designed this dragon to be easily converted into any colour scheme you like.  There is an ornate border and she recommends choosing a variegated thread for it then matching the colours for the dragon.  I left the border off and chose a scheme based on one in the Gallery.  Here are my colours:

A - 3817
B - 3816
C - 3815
D - 501
BS - 3818
1 - 745
2 - 743
BS - an orange, didn't note number!
+  927
BS - 924
Book - 919
Pages - white
Gold - 5282
Green Metallic - E703
Beads - 10023 green
02011 gold 

Finally, the Summer Postcard Blog Hop is now taking place, for more details of how to join in click on the garden picture to the right.  Here are the links for the four cards sent so far, why not pop over and leave a comment?

First postcard from Marcy goes to Gracie at Needles, Pins and Dragonflies
Second postcard from Krista goes to Jocondine at Jocondine
Third postcard from Michelle goes to Sharon at Shebafudge
Fourth postcard from Mouse goes to Vickie at A Stitcher's Story

Saturday, 12 July 2014

July WIPocalypse 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 four of the list.  Here is the current stitching status of each one:

6. Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown, the bottom half of a cat!

7. The Little Stitcher - 12 Days of Christmas

9. Just Nan - Winter Typography

12. A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc
Look, a lovely alphabet after all that long border!

Measi also gives us a topic to discuss:

July 12     
It’s halfway to Christmas.  Do you start your holiday stitching this early?  If so, what do you hope to accomplish this year?

Well, I think the pictures speak for themselves this month!  I don't usually start stitching for Christmas until after Hallowe'en which is my favourite stitching holiday.  But when I started stitching Noel Blanc for last year's WIPocalypse it became obvious that unless I stitched it during the year I would not complete it for many Christmasses to come.  So I started my habit of stitching on it each day when my younger son is in the bath.  So just one or two threads an evening and it's gone from here:

January 2014
to here:
Not bad for six months.  Slow and steady does it.

As well as Noel Blanc I will have the 12 Days of Christmas by The Little Stitcher completed.  I am unsure how I will finish them.  I am leaning towards a 12 apeture multi-frame with some nice wintery mounts for each one.

The rest of my festive stitching will be based upon whatever grabs me from the JCS Christmas Ornie issue.  I try not to plan too much in case something grabs me and demands to be stitched!  I've just looked back at last Decemeber's blog posts and discovered the only seasonal piece I stitched was the Advent Calendar by The Little Stitcher.  Here's a reminder of my Advent Tree:

Finally, back to Summer!  The Summer Postcard Blog Hop is underway.  To take part just email me a photo of something you have stitched on the theme Gardens with a nice message, plus an optional photo of your own garden.  For more details click on the Garden photo to the right.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Brace of Round Robins

I've been working on Rahenna's Band Sampler for the Round Robin and was taking some photos when I realised that I never posted about the previous instalment of this RR.  So here's a double dose of Band Sampler glory.

Rahenna had terrible problems making decisions about her Band Sampler until inspiration struck in the form of this little Pokemon:

Snivy is Rahenna's favourite Pokemon so she used the colours as inspiration!  She also sent us a lovely collection of Lesa Steele and Patricia Ann samplers to choose our bands from with strict instructions not to use any other colours other than those provided under threat of being attacked by an angry Pokemon!

(quick joke - how do you get four Pikachus on a bus?  You poke 'em on)

My bands chosen from Lesa Steele's Sweet Harmony

Side shot to show beads

The whole piece as it goes on to Measi.

The previous RR was Karen's Sweetheart Tree Autumn themed sampler.  Here are my bands:

I chose my bands from Heirloom Roses but changed the flowers into acorns and added the squirrel.

The whole piece as it left to go to Measi.

Finally, the Summer Postcard Blog Hop is underway.  It's not too late to send me a photo, in fact you've got until the middle of August to do so.  For more details click on the garden photo to the right.

First postcard from Marcy goes to Gracie at Needles, Pins and Dragonflies
Second postcard from Krista goes to Jocondine at Jocondine
Third postcard from Michelle goes to Sharon at Shebafudge

Friday, 4 July 2014

Here be Dragons

I've been working on three WIPs since the last post.  The first one is the Teresa Wenztler dragon I am stitching as an end of term gift for the Large Boy's teacher.  She gave me some secret news this afternoon that I can't share yet, but let's just say she really deserves this special gift.

Teresa Wenztler - Futurecast

I'm using one of the colour schemes recommended by a previous stitcher with a couple of changes.  The darkest green was too turquoise compared to the other three so I changed that, and the yellows were too pale on this fabric so I moved two shades darker for each one.  All that is left is his book, the metallics, the backstitch and the lettering.  Not bad considering we still have two and half weeks to go.

The second WIP is the weekly stitching on Spooky Countdown:

Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown

I've gotten a week behind on this one because I started Dragon at the weekend instead.  But it's OK, I have allowed 10 weeks at the end of the SAL for the header and footer pieces so if I don't catch up before then I will still have plenty of time.  I did all this block on the train and I have another journey planned for next week too.

And here is the ongoing saga of Noel Blanc:

I started that long reverse L of border back in January (2014), stopped at the beginning of March to work on the deer and the left hand borders.  Recommenced at the end of May and discovered a massive frog sitting on it.  Several frogs to be precise which meant nearly all of it needed to be ripped and restitched.  Now I can finally reward myself with a lovely alphabet.  Happy Days are here again.

Finally I will be sending out another postcard for the Summer Postcard Blog Hop this evening.  Keep an eye on your Inbox in case it's for you!  Still time to enter and send in your photos.  Don't forget to visit these posts and leave a nice comment too:

First postcard from Marcy goes to Gracie at Needles, Pins and Dragonflies
Second postcard from Krista goes to Jocondine at Jocondine

Monday, 30 June 2014

Theme-a-licious June Update

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!

June Jolt
School's out for the summer! Let's work on things with sunshine in them or REALLY bright colours. Summer is here!

As soon as I saw that first sentence I thought Alice Cooper!  Actually my first thought was "no it's not, in England we don't break up until the third week in July" but then I thought Alice Cooper!  I found a great monochrome design of his face but it was for beading and didn't translate directly to stitching.  I'd have to rechart it to get the dimensions right, he came out very long and thin so I abandoned that idea.  I did consider buying this one from PixelPower but I'd left it rather late in the month.

So what did I stitch this month that could possibly fit into the theme?

These lovely Summery Joan Elliot butterflies:


These were stitched as the centre part of the new JE Faces SAL on FB

Fabric is Snapdragon by Crafty Kitten

The rest of my stitching consisted of an Autumn Fairy, some Hallowe'en Countdown pieces, three different Winter projects and the Bride of Frankenstein's Monster.
(Two Winter projects do feature B5200 which is Bright White...)

Today, however, I did start a piece that will come in for the end of term in July but I've started it in June so it totally counts.  Each year I have stitched an end of year sampler for the Large Boy's teacher.  I always try to get something suitable for the person, something they like or a topic they have covered that year.  This year was tricky, she is new to the school and is a brilliant teacher.  We've got on really well and have chatted about books alot.   She recognised the influence of Terry Pratchett in the last piece of written work the Large Boy did so I decided on a Fantasy Book theme for her:

What I was looking for was a small dragon on a pile of books but googling around didn't come up with anything.  Then I found a dragon reading a book on DeviantArt.  The dragon looked familiar, and lo and behold the stitcher revealed it was a Teresa Wentzler freebie, amended to be holding a book instead of an orb.  Futurecast was designed for stitchers to choose their own colour scheme and Teresa has given great instructions on how to do so.  She also has a Gallery of finished designs so you can use their schemes if you want.  The school colours are green and yellow, there was a lovely dragon there in those exact colours so that is the one I went with.  I won't be stitching the border because I want to add the teacher's name and the school's name and year.

Finally the Summer Postcard Blog Hop (which fits in nicely with the Theme) is now underway.  The second postcard went to Jocondine and her eponymous blog.  Follow the link to see her card, message and who sent it to her.  There is still time to join in with the Blog Hop, just click on the garden picture on the right hand side bar to find out more details.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

June Just Nan SAL

Just Nan SAL
Just Nan SAL is hosted by Zeb of Keep Calm and Cross Stitch

Once again I have been stitching on Winter Typography.  I toyed with the idea of stitching a small instead but really want to finish this one this year!  It is taking so much longer than the Autumn one did.  No idea why.

Here is how it looked last month:

And here is the latest picture:

I stitched quite alot more white, two WINTERS and filled in some of the pale blue stitches in the white snowflakes.  They look really nice in real life.  There is a rabbit, a bird, a snowman, some more WINTERS and alot more border to do before I start on the beads.

The second postcard in the Summer Blog Hop went out today.  So watch out for that appearing in your Readers and Dashboards soon.  Once the recipient posts it to her blog I will put the link up.  Don't forget there is still plenty of time to join in.

Finally, Chiara the Grey Tail hosted her second Enigma challenge recently.  She has been posting a series of clues to a piece she is stitching.  Very enigmatic clues which have foxed everyone except Heather who had the inspired correct guess after just one clue.  Anyway Chiara reveals the answer today.  If you haven't been following the Enigma you should start with this post and work forward to see how long it take you to work it out!