Friday, 21 April 2017

Dearest Edward

What a surprise - four calling birds arrived this morning.  They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly - they make telephoning impossible.  But I expect they'll calm down when they get used to their new home.  Anyway, I'm very grateful - of course I am.
Love from Emily

12 Days of Christmas (Correspondence) - John Julius Norwich

Joan Elliott has gone for the modern Calling Birds (1909 version only) rather than the traditional Colly Birds (1700s onwards) which are blackbirds.  I expect she liked the blue rather more than black!

If you are interested in the different versions, check out this Wiki page - The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Two versions have Canary Birds, some have Coloured Birds and one has Ducks Quacking (1864), so Emily got off quite lightly there!

I have decided to stitch all the background parts of each block with just one strand so they don't overpower the main feature.  I also changed the French Knots to tiny over one crosses to make them more even.

Here is the whole piece so far.  I have stitched all the red on the second Angel and will continue the border this month.

Theme-tas-stitch is hosted by Kerry

Each month Kerry is giving us a theme to stitch to (or shoe-horn our existing stitching into).  We link up on the 21st of each month.  The theme this month is:

April Showers - What pieces do you have that contain water?  It might be rain, river, sea or lake - see how many stitches you can make!

We need a gigantic shoe-horn for this one, nothing watery at all unfortunately.  The first piece is my Just Nan So Many Stitches project.  I started this as part of March Madness for Theme-tas-stitch and then have continued to put 30 stitches per day into the project.  Today I added some Ice beads.  Ice is frozen water.

Stitched on 32 count Antique White evenweave

That was the small shoe-horn, now the large one.  What needs water to survive?  What do we always say when it rains?  "Oh well, it's good for the garden".  So here's a little garden:

This is Just Nan's Spring in the Square - Day 112.  So that's 1,120 stitches doing just Ten-a-day for the FB challenge.  Recently I've been adding lots of colour to the flowers.

Here's a larger garden:

This is Gathering Honey by Jannlynn.  Last time I stitched on this I completed the top left hand corner which was very time-consuming with all the colour changes and fiddly fractionals.  This time I have finished the entire border (yay!) and the top right corner.

I stitched the bees first:

And then added the honeycomb around them.  For the bottom left corner I will backstitch the bees after the honeycomb because some of their legs got a little lost doing it first.  The honeycomb is three strands of thread and the legs are only one.

Hopefully I can complete the bottom left this month and then focus on the bottom right next month.  That's more fiddly flowers.  Then there's some writing to add top and bottom and it's done!  So if not a May finish, then it should be one for June.

Finally, thanks to everyone who took part in the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.  The competition is now closed and I will be drawing and announcing the winner in my TUSAL post on Wednesday.  My Blogaversary draw will continue until the end of the month.  Don't forget, anyone who links up for GG gets an extra entry into that draw.  

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness April Link-Up Post

2017 GG

Welcome to the April link-up for Gifted Gorgeousness.  The linky will stay open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to join in.

Once again I have a good mixture of gifts to and from people to share with you.

First up is a finish which is a gift for my cousin's baby Mary.  We went to visit my cousins last week and Mary was suitably uninterested in her gift but that is because she is only 100 days old!  Her parents loved it and I am sure she will in time.  She did appreciate an Auntie Jo cuddle which was nice.

stitched on 32 count Sunlit Heath from Crafty Kitten

I also made two new starts using the green linen Sarah sent me which I showed in my last GG post.  These were both for my March Madness Just-Nan-a-thon:

Start 4 - Victorian Rose

Start 6 - Snow Forest
blue and purple fabrics included to try get colour to show accurately!

Here's my progress on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas which was a gift from my MIL:

We travelled by train to visit my cousins, six hours stitching (3 there and 3 back) saw the bulk of a new start done and another two days at home saw it completed.

Drawn Thread - Spot of Spring
stitched on 35 count Country Mocha

birdies and bunnies and sheepies!

The final piece I picked up was a gift from a friend who has stopped stitching.  She passed me a lot of her stash and asked that I stitch this for her in exchange.  It is long overdue but as she has a special wedding anniversary this summer I am planning to get it done by then.  This will be my focus for the next couple of months until it is finished:

Gathering Honey by Jannlynn

I stitched some boring border and started some bees!  Two of the corners have complex floral patterns which take ages to stitch and the other two corners have bees and a honeycomb which should be much quicker.  Once you decipher what colour the backstitch is supposed to be!

And last of all, a gift for me!  I won Vickie's giveaway by default as no-one else wanted to tackle the Kingsland chart.  It needs three different fabrics, one to stitch the main centre design, another to stitch the border which is then folded around a mat and a third to stitch the hardanger heart which you cut out and attach to the centre.  A great focus project for one month next year, it's going on my "18 in '18" for sure.  The other chart is a Just Nan band sampler I don't have.  It's got 12 bands so I am thinking about making this a monthly GG stitch.  If I did this for every JN band sampler I own I would just about finish them by the time I reach the age I mention in my header! 

And now it's over to you.  This is where you link up your post for this month.  Please use your name or your blog name in the field and NOT the words "April 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.  


Finally, the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop is now up, as is my Blogaversary giveaway.  There is a prize for each and anyone who links up for GG gets an extra entry into the other competitions (if they have entered them).  So please spend some time this holiday hopping around to meet other bloggers.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2017

Welcome to this year's Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop!

I have a great line-up of blogs for you to visit and collect a letter from each one.  The letters will form a short phrase if you visit them in the listed order.  Or you can be clever and visit them out of order to get an anagram!  Remember time zones so some people may not have posted if you are hopping early in the day on the Eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean.

When you have finished hoppity-hopping and have the mystery phrase come back here and leave a comment.  All commenters will be entered into a prize draw, all picture posters get an extra entry and anyone who has already entered my Blogaversary giveaway (see previous post) gets an additional entry into that draw!

You have a week to enter this competition, I am moderating comments until the 21st April so you can't copy each other LOL.


I've been finish-finishing some Easter stitchings this week, I scrapbooked Lizzie*Kate's Easter Sampling as seen above and made a cube from San Man's Easter.  Here they are together:

And here is a side-view of the cube:

The backing and side fabric is an upholstery sample.  Several years ago a box of fabric sample books were dropped off at the church where I run my Toddler Group.  The cushion-makers took their pick and I got three books which were left.  This fabric cost £75 a metre according to the book!

Finally, we have a new Blogger of the Week so don't forget to hop over there and find out who it is this week.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Now I am Six

I'm as clever as clever
So I think I'll be six
now and forever

It's my Sixth Blogaversary today!  I remember being six quite well, I was in Miss Pearce's class and I got a Timex watch with a red face and a blue strap for my Birthday.  I got the watch because I could already tell the time and Miss Pearce often used to ask me what the time was because her watch didn't keep time well!  We had been living with my grandparents and were moving into a house of our own.

Here are my blog stats:
6 years
650 posts
682,174 pageviews

A little check of my Happy Dance blog tells me that I have completed 372 pieces since the start of my blog.  That makes my couple of dozen WIPs pale into insignificance!

I'd also like to wish my Blog-Twins Susan and Calamity Jr a very Happy Birthday too!

This week I've been stitching on my Hallowe'en and Christmas pieces:

Winged creatures from Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating

Four Calling Birds from Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas

I also did a little finish-finishing and framed a piece from last year:

Mulberry by Shepherd's Bush

I drew a little mulberry sprig in the corner to decorate the mount:

Now for the fun part - a giveaway to celebrate!  I haven't got anything in particular in my stash I want to part with at the moment and postage is so high right now so I thought a PDF would be the best idea.  The one I have chosen is quite versatile, it comes in 9 parts and can be stitched as a large sampler or several smaller ornies.  Best of all, proceeds from the sale go to charity.  Four parts have been released already so I would send them to the winner straightaway and then send each piece as it is released throughout the year.  The giveaway that keeps on giving!  Have you guessed what it is yet?

The nice thing about this prize is that if you already have the first four parts then I can still send you the next five, you don't have to miss out just because you've already started it.

So how do you enter this draw?

The usual, be a Follower via the button on the right, leave a comment here saying you'd like to be in the draw AND telling me what your favourite quote is.  It doesn't have to be one from the Stitchrovia SAL, it can be anything you like - serious, inspirational, funny, subversive etc.

You will get one entry for commenting here and an additional entry for each of the following:

Being a participant in the Easter Treasure Hunt on Good Friday
Entering the Easter Treasure Hunt and guessing the Mystery Phrase
Linking up for Gifted Gorgeousness this month.

So the Giveaway is open until the 30th April when the GG link-up closes.  If you do not comment here with a quote, you will not be entered into the draw, even if you do the other stuff, they are for bonus entries!  If you don't want to stitch any of the Quotes, you may nominate a person from the other comments to be gifted the chart on your behalf.  You can do this publicly by commenting or anonymously by emailing me.

Finally, we have another Blogger on the Blogger of the Week blog, don't forget to go over and say Hi!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

When is a UFO an FO but not an FFO and yet remains a UFO?

When it's Brooke's Books' Stitcher's Alphabet, that's when!

stitched on 28 count afghan

Spaceship, spaceship!

The latest block of the Stitcher's Alphabet is now complete, it's full coverage so it took ages!  The flying saucer is metallic and there are beads too.  

So it's an Finished Object but it's not a Fully Finished Object as we still have V-Z to stitch but it remains a UFO in the picture!

Progress on Joan Elliott's 12 Days is slow as the Small Boy has decided a 30 second dip in the water is sufficient and then another 10 minutes of being told "Back in the bath".  So no photos until I have stitched this month's block 4 Calling Birds.

My two Sew Many Stitches projects are going well.  In March I started 23 Just Nan Smalls and the plan is to stitch 30-a-day on one until it is finished and then move on to the next one.  I should average one a month that way.  The first is smaller than average so will be a nice quick finish.

Here we have the first six days of Christmas Rose (the first photo is two days' progress not one)

stitched on 32 count Antique White evenweave

Meanwhile Spring in the Square is in it's 95th day!  950 stitches looks like this:

And the full 95 days looks like this:

That last big box is intentionally blank to keep the proportions of the other boxes the same!

Finally, we have exciting events coming up - my 6th Blogaversary this weekend and the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop the following weekend.  And of course, more Bloggers of the Week each Friday.  Life is just one long social whirl!

🌟🌟  Blogger of the Week  🌟🌟

Saturday, 1 April 2017

The Uplifting and Useful Alphabet Unit

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.

This was one of my favourite blocks from the Dark Alphabet SAL - Urmahlullu, the well known Mesopotamian Protector of the Toilet.  Half Lion, Half Centaur, and the colour of an Andrex Puppy.  You can read more about him on A Note of Friendship.

The first Saturday of this month is as early as it can be so I haven't quite finished stitching the block on Brooke's Books' Stitcher's Alphabet, which is quite appropriate in a way because it is U is for Unfinished Object!

stitched on 28 count afghan

It's a full coverage block as there's quite a bit to go too.

What other UFOs have I got?  Depends on your definition of UFO really!  I define it as something which has not been actively stitched since the beginning of the previous year.  So anything which hasn't been stitched since the end of 2015.  Now, I did the Longest Day Marathon last year so everything got a little attention!  These are the ten projects which I am counting as UFOs as I have no plans to stitch on them this year and they only got that one day last year!

You can find all the information about each project on The Longest Day post.

U is for Unicorns and I have stitched two.  The first was a Teresa Wentzler unicorn from The Fantasy Sampler.  I stitched the four corner motifs separately, on aida!  With all those fractional stitches too.

I also stitched a Joan Elliott unicorn for a Round Robin back in 2012:

I do have quite a few unicorns in my stash, all in books.

Top left - Julie Hasler
Top right - Julie Hasler
Bottom left - Joan Elliott
Centre - Lesley Teare
Bottom right - Joan Elliott

I don't have any U designers in my stash and there is really only one well-know one; Ursula Michael.  She is well-known for her typography designs, this one is Wicked!

The blog roll is a real challenge this month!  Lee's blog is a bit of a stretch:

and she has a YouTube channel

I could shoehorn U-tube but I'm saving that for Y.


Finally, I hope that you enjoyed the double helping of interviews on the Blogger of the Week blog.  If you would like to be featured or if you can think of anyone you'd like to see, please email me.