Friday 30 September 2011

Mermaid framed

I collected her from the framer's today.  This is not the best photo because it was taken in artificial light but I couldn't wait to post it!  I might have another go tomorrow and re-post.

We decided not to have a matted mount as I wanted all the gorgeous fabric to show.  Instead the framer used a thin silver frame around the fabric then put the glass on top of that and mounted the whole thing in the wider top frame.

This evening I finished off the September freebie challenge from the Needlecraft Haven group, a Gazette 94 design.  I will post a pic when it's be published on that forum.  I wonder if any of my French speaking followers would mind reading the final Au Revoir post and telling me if the blog will be staying visible after December 2011 or not.  I know she won't be adding to it but some people have said it will actually be disappearing.  Many Thanks.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Progress on iStitch and the Mystery solved

Here is my progress on iStitch's SAL.  The theme has now been guessed correctly, the piece is based on a printer's tray, with each block being a little stamp.  It'd be great if all the designs were available as stamps!

I solved the Mystery of the Gift Voucher.  I phoned Willow Fabrics and asked them who had purchased it.  Unfortunately their system doesn't show this information BUT when I was chatting I mentioned I thought it could have been a magazine competition win, this rang a bell and she went off to check.  Yes, Cross Stitch Collection awarded me £10 for my useful tip on what to do if you spill beads on the floor.  This tip was published in Issue 202 released this week.  So, not a secret admirer but very nice anyway.

I also received the chart for Home of a Needleworker from Nicola (the Obsessive Cross Stitcher) with a lovely surprise, a fresh new skein of each of the colours!  There is something special about new threads all co-ordinating together.  How very generous of her, I will be passing the chart on when I've stitched it.

My presents are still rolling in.  My Sparklies fabric arrived, the Tigerlily is perfect for Passione Ricamo's Autumn Fairy but the Monarch is scaring me!  I thought it would be nice for Nora Corbett's Trick or Treat Fairy being in two shades of pink and purple.  But the piece I have has lots of yellow in it.  It's amazing but I'm a newbie for such wild fabrics.  The Purpleberry Spludge is the wildest I've used so far and that's subtle compared to this.

So, any ideas of what to stitch on it?  Or do I just frame it as modern art?  The ladies over at the Mirabilia Yuku Board are coming up with some great ideas but the more the merrier!

Saturday 24 September 2011

Tree of Stitches and a mystery gift

As promised here is some more information on my Tree of Stitches.

This was issued as a SAL for the Yahoo group The Specialist Stitches and has been incredibly popular with trees popping up all over the blogging world.  The SAL is finished but they are keeping the charts available until at least the end of October so HURRY UP if you want to join in.  I have two favourites; Wendy from Stitch & Sparkle and Charbs of Bumpy Dog fame.  Wendy's is a pink blossom tree on blue fabric and Charb's is an Autumnal tree the first of all four seasons she's planning.  She has also used the most darling little buttons for the owl and rabbit.

My tree is also an Autumnal tree stitched in DMC 51, a lovely variegated thread in shades of orange from yellow through to red.  Some of the stitches I have stitched as it comes, with others I have "forced" the colours by doing the bottom half of the stitches first then the top half with another colour length.  This has worked really well on the Rice Stitches and the vertical Rice Stitches (they're Jerusalem stitches apparently).

The Mystery gift arrived today, a gift voucher for Willow Fabrics.  I have no idea who has sent it to me!  I suspected the squeaky person but she says "No".  I won a prize from her recently but that is supposed to be a stitched something.  I don't remember winning anything else, but I am older this week so my memory may not be as reliable as it was!  If not a prize then it is a very nice belated Birthday present.  I think most people are aware it was my Birthday recently?

If you sent it, then Thank You very much, please own up so I can send a Thank You letter.  I was very well brought up and always send Thank Yous and insist the children do too.  Do you make your children send Thank Yous or do you think a phone call/text/email is sufficient in the 21st Century?

Friday 23 September 2011

Birthday Stash

It's been a busy week here, back to school means back to running my Toddler Group and Road Safety Club.  I also had a couple of appointment including a haircut!  So here we are, nearly a week after my Birthday and I still haven't posted pics.  In fact it is the Large Boy's Birthday today.  He was due on 28th August, then they changed the date to 11th September and he finally arrived on 23rd September, weighing in at 8lbs 3oz.  So 9 years ago to this minute I was puffing and panting having "an active birth".  He arrived at 12.50 lunchtime.

Back to the stash!  This is just a selection of what arrived on/before my Birthday.  The Just Nan is from the large boy, he chose it from my Wishlist on SewandSo's website, great idea, I select half adozen charts I'd like and he chooses one so I still get a surprise.
The charms are the small boy from an Ebay company called Ang's Attic, only 99p to £1.39 for a bag of 10.  Now there was some confusion here as some of the bags are mixed (the nautical and Christmas ones) and some said you could choose from a selection.  I picked and chose thinking I was getting 2 witches, 2 crows, 2 pumkins etc when actually I was getting 2 PACKS of each!  Luckily Ang was very understanding and deleted the extra packages for me, refunding the money.  It does mean I have rather alot of Hallowe'en charms so will be popping some into any stitching parcels I send out!
The books are from my brother, apparently werewolves are the new vampires.  He also gave me the Twilight plasters (band-aid to Americans), the way to wear them is on your neck to suggest you have been nibbled by a vampire!

My parents are paying for Bluebeard's Mermaid to be framed, so my brother chose mermaid themed wrapping paper for his presents, he cuts the tags out from the paper itself so they co-ordinate.  The paper is too lovely to throw away!

Here is my cake, it is a fruit cake with hard icing and marzipan, my favourite cake.  We used food-colouring pens to write on the cake.  The large boy decided we should use all my names and did the writing for me (except "daughter" and "sister" which I did).  The red splodges are icing sugar which I put too much food-colouring in, it looked great and tasted vile, glad we didn't do the whole cake!

My in-laws gave me money and I treated myself to a grab-bag from The Crafty Kitten (four random pieces of 9x12 fabric) and this chart: light-and-shadow-firewing-designs  Four silhouette dragons which fit perfectly onto the grab-bag fabrics!  Dawn has a small range of charts with a discount available if you buy the fabric at the same time.  She is testing to see what is popular and is very open to suggestions.  Particularly mine, which is why there are a number of Firewing Designs, I can't find them anywhere else in the UK.

I also have some fabric on order from Sparklies' sale which will hopefully arrive soon.  Hubby is paying for the frames for my Just Nan Seasons and also anything random I added to the credit card in September!

I almost forgot to add some stitching pics (blush):

Tree of Stitches:
 Gazette 94's Autumn Heart
 Joan Elliott Green Goddess:
 Periphaeria Star SAL:
These are all WIPS so I will talk more about them later, fabric, threads, links etc.

And finally, this week's random question (no prize!) is : 
Which are you:
a. Team Edward
b. Team Jacob
c. Haven't a clue what you're on about.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Giveaway Results

Finally!  I get round to choosing and posting the winners of my very first Giveaway!

I'm glad everyone enjoyed the little competition, it was certainly fun reading the answers.  Most people got at least one right, well having a Z made it slightly easier!

The correct answers were:

Me - Mary
Hubby - Mark
Large boy - James
Small boy - Zack (full point for Zac, Zach or Zak and half a point for Zachary, Zachery or Zacharias)

Fizzy Moon bear will now show the winners:

I drew Rachael xxx from the people with the highest scores then the large boy drew Bec's name from the pot!

Please could Rachael and Bec let me know their addresses so I can (eventually) mail your winnings.  There will be a little stitched something in there so please allow time for me to actually stitch it!!  You will definitely get your prize before Christmas, I promise! 

Also, Sarah-Beth came up with the most amazing Z name - Zeddakia, I would love to know where this name comes from as I have never heard it before.  Sarah-Beth, let me know your address too and there will be a (very) little something coming your way for the most different suggestion!

I had a lovely Birthday yesterday, lots of stash, some still on the way, some framing on the way and lots of Birthday messages on FB.  I also won a chart from Nicola the Obsessive Cross Stitcher due to my scaring off the oppostition hahaha evil laughter!  Anyway my guilt at this compels me to PIF when I have stitched it.  So watch out for that.  Birthday photos will follow when the camera has recharged it's batteries and can chat to the computer again.

Another big thank you to everyone who entered my very first Giveaway, hope you enjoyed it and will be entering the next one.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Sheepie Dance and Green Goddess

Happy Dance down on Sheepie Farm!  This cute little design is a freebie from Bronny's Bits.  She is having a sheep year.  Have a look at her blog if you want to see lots of cute sheep.  Last year was Snowmen, who knows what next year will bring!  Her entry for 7th August tells you how to get the chart.

Stitched on 28count pale green evenweave.
I have changed the colours and one of the sheep into a piggie.  The reason is the book under the photo.  The small boy has 4 favourite books which we read every bedtime.  They are all published by Barefoot Books and written by Clare Beaton.  The illustrations are all photos of fabric collages and are lovely.  I really recommend them for pre-schoolers.  The theme of How Big is a Pig is opposites, each animal is shown representing a pair of opposites - so "some cows are thin; some cows are fat", "some dogs are quick; some dogs are slow" with the same refrain "but how big is a pig," then a rhyming question "can you answer that?" "Do you think you know?"  Slightly less repetitive than many books!

And here is the progress on Joan Elliott's Green Goddess after 4 evenings:
Stitched on 32count hand-dyed Murano
She's getting her own Progress Page now!  I am moving the pages back upto the top of my blog, I don't think they're very noticeable down the side.  I like having all my followers up the top too, I can see ALL your smiling faces!  The giveaway is going well, 25% of my followers have joined it and the prizes are all popular which is good.  Don't forget, I will be giving away TWO prizes, one for the game of skill guessing our names and one will be a random draw of everyone who enters.  This gives everyone an equal chance of winning something, even if you get all the names wrong!

Wednesday 7 September 2011


Yay!  Over 100 followers!  Although in true Blogger style they seem to think I have 102 followers but there are actually only 101.  So Hello Pam Grouette who is number 100.  And how fitting that number 101 is Giovanna who has been a reader of the blog since the very beginning and was actually the very first person to comment and now is an official follower.

As promised there is going to be a Giveaway.  But you have to put your thinking caps on for this one.  Remember the Victorian Doll's House I stitched?  There were four sets of initials (in the path, Joysze!) which represented hubby, myself, the large boy and the small boy.  So what I want to know is:

What are our middle names?

Here is a picture of the house to remind you:

Hubby's initial and mine are both "M"
Large boy's is "J" and
Small boy's is "Z"
All our names are normal English names, the boys do not have Jumper or Zebra as middle names!

There will be 3 different prizes. 
The first option is the Doll's House chart, one small caveat, the key just lists colours not numbers so you will have to choose your own colours.  The cover picture is very clear and will make it easy.
The second option is "The Cute Collection" as shown below.  Over the years I have collected several cute charts which are not really my thing, so here they are altogether.  There is a Somebunny calendar, Tatty Teddy, Forever Friends, Newton, Fizzy Moon, 2 Margeret Sherrys and a button booklet.

The third option is the "Mystery Option", basically if you aren't likely to stitch either of the above then I'll try choose something you will like.

As well as the charts there will be a random selection of things, such as fabric, trimmings, embellishments, something stitched, a postcard, anything I think "oooo, she'll like that".

So, to enter:

You must be a follower
Leave a comment with your 4 guessed names
Let me know which prize you would like.

I have enabled "blog owner approval" on all comments so no-one can copy the girl in front!  All comments will be displayed when the Giveaway finishes which will be next Wednesday 14th September noon BST (British Summer Time).  The first winner will be randomly chosen from the people who get the most names right.  The second winner will be chosen at random from all the people who chose different prize options to the winner.  (for exampler - If the first winner chooses the Cute collection, I draw the second winner from the Doll's House and Mystery people).  So even if you don't get any names right you're still in with a chance of a prize.  Fair to everyone? 

If you are an overseas person and do not understand what middle names are, then please email and I'll explain!

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Diabolical Pact

Here's my latest two blocks.  I love this Kelpie!  The K stitch is Kelim for his mane.  I used 2 DMC variegated threads to stitch this.  The first was the darker blue which is one of their original variegateds (numbers in the 100s) and the other, the pale sea blue, is one of the newer ones (numbers in the 4000s).  The newer ones are much more variegated, the colour changes more quickly as you can see.   The darker blue is much more subtle.

A Lightning Bird - "A mythological creature in South Africa the Lightning Bird is the size of a human, black and white in coloring and it summons thunder and lightning with  it's wings and talons.  It is associated with witchcraft and has quite an appetite for blood.  Sometimes it takes on the image of a young man to seduce women." 

  And here's the whole piece so far:

Those of you that follow A Note of Friendship's blog may know I have challenged anyone who wants to enter into a smiley: devil"Diabolical Pact"smiley: devil with me to see who is first to finish this piece.  I will treat the first person to complete the letters (not the personalised blocks) before me to something from ANOF's website shop to the value of US$10.  And Julie will add a prize too.  She will also be giving a prize to the first person to beat her.  And she's a long way behind me!  So if you've been debating stitching this or have been stitching in secret then let me and Julie know you're in the pact!  The blocks are actually quite quick (apart from C and I) and would be even quicker if you were sensible and did them over 2 smiley: laugh so there's still time to catch up.

Other news:  I have found a rotation method which seems to work for me - daily rotation.  The trouble with a weekly schedule is I never want to put the piece down and my "weeks" stretched into 10 days then it seemed like a long time until I could pick the piece up again.  But with a daily rotation I can work on 2 or 3 pieces and still stitch them every other day.  So here is the current schedule:
Day 1 - Periphaeria Star SAL
Day 2 - Bronny's Sheepie Farm
Day 3 - Sssh, surprise stitch
Day 4 - as Day 1 etc
Day 1 - Joan Elliott Green Goddess
Day 2 - Autumn RR
Day 3 - as Day 1 etc
As I finish each piece another one is waiting in the wings ready to start, we have 2 Gazette 94 freebies and M is for Mummy coming up in the next available slots.

Of course, the Large Boy goes back to school on Thursday and we start the weekly voluntary work schedule which will cut into the daytime stitching quite a bit.

And finally, Look - 99 Followers!   Only 1 more to go (or 9 days).

Saturday 3 September 2011


WOCS is World of Cross Stitch the popular magazine and here is the cover kit from Issue 181, a lovely Margaret Sherry Christmas design.  Stitched exactly as it said in the mag with the supplied material - hard aida and non-specific threads.  Margaret's designs are very popular so I will be putting the chart and leftover thread into my 1st giveaway.

GOS is Gift of Stitching, another very popular magazine, but a virtual one this time.  I've had my 3 issues for $3 and have now subscribed for a year.  I made sure I did this in plenty of time and saved 5%, then 2 days to go until the end of the month I got a "Save 25%" offer from them.  aaaaaghhhh, so much for being organised.  Oh well.  The new issue is great, two whole samplers and a partworks one too which I will be stitching.  There's another Treasure Hunt later this month and more stitching competitions on the way.  If you do decide to sign-up then mention "joanne p" in the Tell-a-friend bit and I get a free month's sub.

RAK relates to the Travelling Pattern (which has safely reached the Mousehouse).  You may recall I asked you who your stitching blessing was which made very interesting reading.  I wrote down all the names of individual people (not groups or "everyone on the internet"!) and we put them in Chaffy's nest for the large boy to select one from.  Who is Chaffy?  I hear you ask.  Chaffy is a small fluffy creature who hides in various places around the Chaffy-verse.  A cuter version of Wally.  The large boy and his Uncle (my little bro) are obsessed with Chaffy.  If you look on Deviant Art you will find some of bro's plushies.  He made 10 different ones.  Strange things, boys.  In case you are worried, Deviant Art is alternative culture not something to do with BDSM!  If you don't know what BDSM is, don't Google it, you'll get a shock.

Here is Chaffy sitting on the scraps of paper:
 Here is the large boy removing one piece of paper:
 This is the name of the person whose Stitching Blessing will be receiving a little something from me (in the not too distant future, definitely before Christmas!):
Notice the one space in the large boy's room we found to do this.  The rest is covered in toys.  This space is by the door.

Finally two more framed pieces, the first is The Travelling Pattern itself, I added the names of the stitchers so far to the sides.  That was fun.  I carefully charted the names making sure the four on each side would be the same length when stitched (pair longest with shortest).  Then started stitching.  Then remembered the weird count which made the letters very wide, so I had to freehand them which is why they're not the same length but still look okay.

nb Charity shop frame - £1
The final picture is the September Challenge freebie from The Needlecraft Haven.  Each month they choose a freebie and we stitch it but have to save it for the Big Reveal in the last weekend.
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