Monday, 18 February 2019

February IHSW

IHSW or International Hermit and Stitch Weekend always starts on the third Friday of the month.  It's a chance to lock yourself away and focus on your stitching for the weekend.  You can take part on your blog or via the Facebook page.  Links at the bottom of this post.

Friday is usually my day to go to the Crafty Coffee Morning but the shop which hosts it is relocating this month so the last two Fridays have been Coffee & Cakes at my house instead.

I'm using this time to work on my Just Nan Smalls.  Since the last IHSW I finished Thanks a Bunch and started Fairy Roses.

Thanks A Bunch
stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

The little Floral Bunch charm is discontinued so I'm using a butterfly instead.

Straight on to the next one in turn:

stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

This one is quite unusual as it is not symmetrical.  The green stitches are quite random so I've made a working copy of the chart and colour each symbol in as I go.

The next project is one I've been working on for just over a year, stitching a little bit each day while my son is in the bath.  Linda was SAL with me and she finished recently so it was time to ramp it up and get it done!

Alice & the Flamingo by Mrs Peggotty Arts
stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

I really enjoyed this piece, the blocks of colour meant you didn't have to change thread too often.  I usually prefer stitching a monochrome at bathtime for this reason but with this project I could use the same colour all session most evenings.

The plan now is to stitch the Satsuma Street Nest Egg design and then start on Mrs Peggotty's Queen of Hearts.  I don't think I'll catch Linda up as she's already started her.

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Marie's Daffodil by Chromatic Alchemy

My main focus piece for IHSW was the Discworld Mappe.  Thank you to everyone who said how much they enjoy seeing this piece.  You're going to be seeing a LOT of it this year!

Here's where it was on Friday:

stitched on 32 count Murano custom-dyed by Sparklies

and here is where I am now:

I didn't quite finish the banner pink because it was so boring after a while, so I started alternating with some grey for the heraldic hippo instead.

A few people have said that they don't do Facebook and asked if I could host a link-up for them, so here it is! Just add your name and the link to your actual IHSW post, not just your blog home page.



The next IHSW will be 15th - 17th March so make sure you note the date in your diary or come and join us in the Facebook Group - IHSW on Facebook. If you don't do Facebook then you can check in here.

Finally, the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop was a great success.  Everyone posted on the actual day and now all the links go direct to the SSS post on each blog so you can still hop round quite easily.

Here's a collage of all the photos sent in:

(can you tell I have a new collage maker?

Friday, 15 February 2019

February Gifted Gorgeousness Link-up Post

2019 GG

Welcome to the February Gifted Gorgeousness link-up.  The link-up date continues to be the 15th and I will keep the link-up open until the end of each month so you have plenty of time if you are late posting.

The format remains exactly the same, there is a list of rules on the main sign-up page if you want to check what is required but basically anything connected to the word "gift" is allowed, whether it was a gift TO you or is a gift FROM you.

The first design is stitched on gifted fabric.  The lovely Tiff Stitches sent me this gorgeous piece of acid yellow from Chromatic Alchemy when I moaned about how difficult it was to find a good yellow.  I decided to stitch this Satsuma Street design titled Nest Egg which I call "Goose in a Bonnet" just for fun.

Here is where the piece was left last year:

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Marie's Daffodil by Chromatic Alchemy

And here is where I am now:

I'd love to have this one finished by Easter so I am doing a bit each day.

I worked on my Chatelaine for one week this month.  This was a Birthday present and a number of bloggers donated threads for it.  Here is where I left the second Garden last month:

And here is where I am now:

Noni sent me the lovely yellow I have been using.  

My Discworld Mappe will be a gift for my son, hopefully for his 18th Birthday in 2020.  Here is where is was at the end of last year:

I stitched on it for 2 weeks in January and I am now about to start another two weeks this month.  This is my starting point for today:

Now it is your turn to show us your Gifted Gorgeousness for the month. Please use your name or your blog name in the field and NOT the words "February 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, while I was hopping around last month I noticed that a few people are still using the 2018 logo and linking to the 2018 sign up page which is no longer a valid link.  Please have a little look and make sure you're linking to the 2019 page.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop

Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to the Secret Stitching Sweethearts Blog Hop.  My annual chance to show some stitchy love to our fellow stitchers.  Over the last month my inbox has been filled with various lovely stitched and crafted pieces on the theme of Love and Friendship.  Then I sent out them to randomly allocated participants who will be showing their Valentines on their blogs today.

Please hop round and see if they have found their Secret Stitching Sweetheart yet.  The following blogs are participating this year:

As the organiser of this Blog Hop I don't usually get a Secret Sweetheart for myself but this year two people sent in two photos!  This one is a lovely biscornu, why not try guess who it is from before clicking on the photo to find out?

This one features one of the designs already sent out, see if you can spot it as you hop around the blogs, no clues for this one!

I haven't got any new hearts for this post unfortunately but here's a design I will be starting very soon as a SAL with Linda:

Finally, most people are aware that I run a number of Blog Hops throughout the year, five in total.  Last year I launched the Five Hops Challenge, similar to the Five Peaks Challenge but with more stitching and fewer mountains.

We had a grand total of 11 mountaineers complete the challenge!  The aim was to take part in OR comment on every single one of the Blog Hop.  I appreciated that not everyone has stitching suitable for every hop which is why I allowed comments to count.  So a big round of applause for our intrepid 11 in alphabetical order!

Thank you to everyone who takes part in all the events and SALs I organise, it wouldn't be so much fun without you all!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Finally Fully-Finishing Fun!

Hosted by Rachel the Ten Hour Stitcher

There's a new SAL in town this month; a SAL designed to motivate us all to do something with that box of Finishes pieces instead of just storing them under the bed.  We will all be linking up on Rachel's blog on or after the 10th of each month (10 Hour Stitcher - 10th of the month).

This month I have been scrapbooking some old and new Christmas finishes.  I have three scrapbooks; one for Hallowe'en, one for Christmas and one for everything else.

Here's the latest pages:

Mill Hill Trumpet

Freebie from Kissy Cross blog

Stitchrovia from 2017

Rosewood Manor Festive Quaker Tree from 2009 JCS
stitched this January

Christmas Cottage Ornament from the 1990s
mounted in a Christmas card

JBW Antique Christmas Trees
stitched in 2017

Blue Ribbon Designs Roaming Reindeer
stitched in 2015

Blue Ribbon Designs Woodsy Winter
stitched in 2012
(seriously, this has sat in a folder for 6 and a half years!)

If you'd like to see more of my scrapbook pages without coming to my house, have a look at the special page on my Happy Dance Blog - Scrapbook Pages

And a professionally framed piece.  This is Dragon of the Winter Moon by Dragon Dreams, finished in 2017 and framed using my Christmas Gift Voucher.

A simple navy mat and silver frame to show plenty of the lovely fabric
which is 32 count Moondust Murano by Crafty Kitten

Finally, something else coming to a finish - Google Plus.  This was Google's attempt to create a social media network to rival Facebook.  They tried to force us all to change  our Google accounts to Google Plus despite the issues it caused with emails and commenting.  Now they have finally given up flogging this horse and are reverting everyone back to plain old Google accounts.  There is no need to panic or worry unless you use Google Plus to store your photos or have a lot of connections with people via it.  You will have been sent an email letting you know what to do.

My recommendation would be to go into your Dashboard and revert to the standard Google account NOW and see if that changes anything on your blog while you have time to fix it.

Monday, 4 February 2019

February TUSAL


It's TUSAL time, the Totally Useless SAL where we all show our ORTS and link-up on Daffycat's blog.

Here is my TUSAL jar with two projects:

The current rotation is as follows:
1. Christmas Ornament
2. Hallowe'en project
3. Gardens of London
4. Discworld Mappe
5. Something from my 19 in '19

So you can see we are on item 2 - my spooky conversion of Lavender & Lace's Enchanted Alphabet.

stitched on 32 count Murano in Tiger Lily from Sparklies

I completed all the letters last year and now I am adding various motifs to fill the gaps in.  Last month I added the gate and this month some cats are appearing.  The plan is to use Just Nan designs as much as possible so everything goes well together.  The gate came from Jardin Prive though.

The design on the right is my third finish for this year and my second Christmas design.  This is Poinsettia by Ink Circles from the 2008 issue of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Special.

stitched over 1 on 28 count green evenweave

Behind it is the backing paper I am going to be scrapbooking this piece on to.  You'll see that on the 10th for Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery SAL.

Finally, you still have time to sign up for the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop due to take place on Valentine's Day.  See previous posts for more details.  And if you have already signed up, don't forget to email the photo of your secret piece to me!  Obviously I can't take part in the Hop myself but I do enjoy seeing all the hearts and love in my Inbox in the run-up to the Hop.  So thank you for that.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

The People Chose Hearts

Regular followers will be aware that for over 3 years now I have run a themed SAL on the first Saturday of each month.  First we spent 26 months doing The Alphabet Club and then 12 months of the Zodiac.  Now I have decided to listen to the People and post about your choice of theme.  Each month I ask for suggestions on the blog and then make a poll in the IHSW Facebook Group from those suggestions.

February - Hearts
March - Freebies
April - Speciality Stitches

The Hermiters are a romantic bunch and chose Hearts for February.  I have stitched a lot of heart designs in the past and even have one as my avatar.  Here's a collage I made for the letter H in the Alphabet Club back in 2017:

You can see my avatar on the top left.  That one is by Heather Holland-Daly from her book Stitch Graffiti.  I stitched it on a piece of upholstery fabric using a piece of aida as waste canvas.  Not entirely successfully as it was hard to pull the fibres out from the densely stitched areas.  But it looks good if you don't look too closely!

Three Just Nan smalls I have completed since then:

Just Nan Christmas Rose Cross Stitch Ornament

And this beautiful little cube I stitched for last year's Valentine's Day Blog Hop:

Tiny Heart by Amint Kipatten
(that's a good link for heart freebies)

I've also been busy painting heart rocks to hide for Valentine's Day and bring some love and a smile to people's faces.

I have a new collage maker as the old one is being retired due to issues with Flash.  It's a lot more versatile and it's going to be fun playing with it.  You can find it here - Photo Collage

Now it's over to you.  All you have to do is make a post on the theme of Hearts, mention The People's Choice SAL (you can copy the picture I used at the top of this post and in my side bar) and my blog.  Please link up using the URL of the actual blog post, not the home page of your blog.  I look forward to seeing what you all post.



I shared one link for freebie hearts up above and here are some more.  They should all be "live" still but if you find one that isn't please let me know and I'll remove it.

Finally, I need your suggestions for the next poll.  Any thing, no matter how obscure, weird or random will go into the poll.  Keep the theme suggestions to a single word or two - so you could have Cats, or Blue, or Holidays, or Warmth etc.  Really anything which could be illustrated in cross stitch.

Looking forward to reading them all!

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Time for January Pie

Image result for january has 93 days meme

It certainly feels that way some years!  Anyway, we have finally reached the end of the month so it's time for pie and budgets.  Pie first:

I am very pleased with my pie this month, it looks exactly as I planned - 2 weeks for Discworld, 1 week for my Chatelaine and the rest of the time on smaller projects including the Christmas and Hallowe'en SALs.

This is where the Discworld Mappe was last time I stitched on it in 2018:

and here's where I am now:

I could have finished the banner but it turns out that I ordered a skein of the darker pink not the lighter pink when I was stocking up on threads for this design.  So I moved on to the island instead.  The island is called XXXX (or Fourecks) and is the Discworld equivalent of Australia.

"when Death requested a book about the dangerous creatures of XXXX from his library, he was subsequently hit by a large pile of books consisting of the various volumes of "Dangerous Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Jellyfish, Insects, Spiders, Crustaceans, Grasses, Trees, Mosses and Lichens of Terror Incognita", the total books going up to Volume 29C Part 3, while a request for information about the harmless creatures merely produced a note saying "Some of the sheep"."

Here is the total of the design stitched so far.  I started in the centre and worked upwards to ensure the dyed circle was in exactly the right place for the circumference of the Disc.  The darker blue represent the Deep Space the enormous world turtle Great A'Tuin is swimming through.

stitched on 32 count Murano custom dyed by Sparklies

Next month I will stitch another Heraldic Hippo and complete the banner.

I am doing Stitch from Stash once again.  This will be my 5th year so far.  I did the original blog versions in 2014 and 2015, skipped 2016 as it was my Big Birthday year then signed up for Stephanie's Facebook version in 2017, 2018 and now 2019.

Here is this month's spend:

Cross Stitcher sub £8.72
Mrs Peggotty Queen £5.20
Total £13.92

I needed the Queen of Hearts as I will be starting her as soon as I finish Alice & the Flamingo.  Mrs Peggotty happened to be having a 20% off sale this week so I grabbed a bargain!

Finally, don't forget the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop coming up on Valentine's Day.  I think I've posted about it enough now for everyone to be aware it is coming soon but just in case you haven't signed up yet - read a previous post and find out how to take part.