Thursday, 19 January 2012

Secret Giveaway, Guest Blogger and my oldest WIPS/UFOs

As well as the 7 Epiphany Giveaways I also had a secret surprise giveaway going on behind the scenes.  I like to look at the stats page on my dashboard and see where everyone is coming from.  I was so pleased that in December I had nearly 4,000 hits thanks to the Advent Calendar activity!  Anyway I looked at my comments list and saw I was nearly upto 1,000 comments.  I've been keeping an eye open and the 1,000th comment was made by Calamity Jr (aka Mary Jane).  She will be receiving a special gift in the (near) future.

I expect many of you will recognise her name from comments on your own blogs even though Calamity Jr doesn't have a blog (yet!) so I invited her to share a little about herself on my blog.  Here's what she said:

"I can't say when I started stitching, since it seems like it's been forever.  I started with crewel embroidery probably in junior high, which was a very long time ago, haha.  Somewhere I learned about counted cross stitch, and it became my number one needlework love.  For awhile I had a stall in a craft mall, where I sold a few cross stitched items (no way to make back what you put into them, though) along with hand painted things, like sweatshirts and address book covers.  When there was a LNS near, I stitched quite a few of their display pieces, and it was always fun to go in and see my work on their walls.   Until recently I have stitched mostly larger, framed designs, and most often as gifts.  However, since I've discovered the world wide community of bloggers who also prefer to live with needle in hand, I've managed a few smalls and even kept some for my own home!

On the personal side, I met my husband in January of our senior year in high school, married 3 1/2 years later, and we've been blessed with one amazing daughter, Jen, who's in school in Kansas City, MO.  (I won't get started there; it would take too much typing and I always pop buttons because I'm so darn proud of her.)  We have a 5 1/2 year old golden doodle (golden retriever and standard poodle mix) who is a great buddy and who keeps me exercised, since he really likes his daily walks.  I work in a dental office very close to home, which is great because I get home for lunch with my "boys" every day.  I do all the office type work - phones, scheduling, insurance, checking people in and out, etc.

And that's me - Calamity Jr aka Mary Jane or MJ."

And here are some pics of MJ's work:

This last one is on my "To Do" list for the large boy because we say it to each other all the time!

I hope you all found that as interesting as I did, it's great to learn more about your followers.  And I'm not at all worried about stitching something now!  Nothing like stitching for a semi-pro to make you feel nervous at all!

I must remember to give Thanks to Daffycat for the idea of a secret giveaway, I think it's such fun because it's rewarding the people who comment anyway.

If any more of my non-blogging followers would like to share their stitching (and life stories) here please send me some pics and info.  It's so great to meet you all and find out more about you.  Basically I'm just really nosey.

I also have to thank some of the bloggers who've been talking about their oldest WIPS and UFOs.  I can't remember which blog is hosting this event but here are mine which I found in this chest this afternoon:

I saw these completed on someone's blog over Christmas.  I started these years ago (mid 1990s) and have stalled slightly as you can see.  The trouble is I just didn't feel like stitching on them at any other time than December!

Here's a close up of the "L".  Please do NOT click on the pic and look at the hardanger!  Hopefully that has improved in the intervening years!

This one is a total mystery.  I can't even remember starting it.  There is no thread, just a photocopy of a chart, a scrap of blue aida and a display hoop.  There is a clue to the age as there is a price list for Barbie clothing which I bought as a Christmas present for a friend's 7 year old daughter.  She must be at least 26 now!  Luckily the threads listed are all DMC so I can easily finish it.

Mini competition (no prize, just a feeling of being old but clever) - can you identify the shop the bag belongs to?  The kit didn't come from that shop, it's just been stored in it for at least 17 years.  Clue - they were proud that most of their produce was Made in Britain.

And finally, here's a little scrapbooked finish.  A Gazette 94 freebie for the New Year.  Cute as ever from Claire.

Stitched on 28 count green evenweave.
The "scrapbook" finish is deliberately very simple. 
I do not want to "over egg" these designs as I am inclined to do sometimes!

edited to add:  The oldest UFO is hosted by Evalina here.  I have to post on the last day of every month (if I've stitched on them that month).  Oh goody, another date to remember LOL.



gracie said...

I have been lucky to have CalamityJr as one of my followers and count her as a friend. Congrats to her for winning a special gift!

Unknown said...

Your secret giveaway was a clever idea, and yes, I have seen Calamity Jane's comments before. Thanks for giving us an opportunity to get to know her a little -her work is lovely! Isn't it funny how we can come across some oldies that we had forgotton about? Cute idea to make scrapbook pages out of our smalls!

Shirlee said...

The very first giveaway I did was a secret one! Such fun : ) I love CJ's Cast Your Cares sampler. Had to Google it right away & it's now sitting in my 1-2-3 cart : ) Blessings, Shirlee

Jennifer M. said...

Great Projects Jo! The blog hosting the The Oldest UFO challenge is Evalina's. She's got a page just for it.

Jen :)

CalamityJr said...

That was fun, Jo! Thank for sharing my story, but please don't think of me as a semi-pro. I've been amazed and humbled by the beautiful stitching I see all over blogdom. As for finishing, my sewing machine and I haven't been on speaking terms for many years, so I'm really lacking in that department, lol. I am excited, though, about your secret giveaway and thank you ever so much for sharing.

Billie said...

I was just wondering how your "guest" is doing? I believe I have not read a report from her in quite a while ;-)

Christine said...

How nice to "meet" another stitcher through your blog.
I love the Hardanger banner, it will be stunning when its done. The scrapbook finish is beautiful too. The carrier looks like Marks and Spencer green to me?

Stitchabilities said...

How lovely to feature a fellow stitcher on your blog!
I have the Noel chart somewhere, and I do intend doing it one day!

Lovely Finish!!
No idea about the bag, except now that Christine says M&S that rings a bell!!

cucki said...

it is so nice to meet another lovely stitcher through your blog..thank you for sharing it with us all..
very sweet finish..
noel banner is so sweet..
lots of love for you xxx

Kerryp77 said...

i love the hardanger, i know what you mean about only stitching chritmas stuff in december too.

Mouse said...

ooo where to start :) well done on Calamity for wining a secret prize and *waves paw helloooooo ... and Bentley says hi to his fellow paw mate ;) loved hearing about your story :)
well done on finding that NOEL hardanger cooooo you will have to finish that now heheheh
and can't recognise that bag either :(
love your scrap book finish as well :) love mouse xxxx

Giovanna said...

Congrats to Calamity! I really like your Noel WIP, I hope you'll finish it someday.

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing Calamity's story. And what a great idea for a give away. I have the hardanger Noel in my stash, it's not started yet, but now that I've seen yours I'm sure it will start screaming soon. Hmmm, oldest WIP/UFO? I'm not sure but I think Marsh Marigolds on Logan's Creek (there's a progress pic on my blog). I'm only saying that as it's stitched on 14-count Aida and I haven't stitched on that in ages so I'm guessing late 80s/early 90s. I am determined to finish it this year and am really, really close. Cute finish and the scrapbook presentation is perfect.

Nicola said...

What a lovely post and such a nice idea to guest blog Mary Jane.

Denise said...

Congrats MJ! Love the surprise give away. And Bonne Annee - that piece is gorgeous!

geeky Heather said...

What a good idea!! MJ if you come back and read comments, please start a blog! Then we can all leave nice comments for you as you do for us. =)

I love that "NOEL" hardanger piece. That would be the perfect thing to work on in Jolly July. =) I love the scrapbook finish. Perfect and classic!

Mindi said...

Thanks so much about sharing the information about MJ. She's left comments on my blog, but I didn't know anything about her since she doesn't have a blog of her own. Great idea to have her as a "guest blogger" and to post the secret giveaway.

I love your hardanger Noel piece. Its been ages since I've done any hardanger, and I'm not sure if I even remember how. I love those Cross n Patch charts.

Topcho said...

Calamity's works are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing them and her story!
The Noel projects is really cute! I enlarged the picture (lol!) and I loved it! No matter in which month you decide to work on it, I'll be waiting to see it :)

Joysze said...

Lovely to read about Calamity. We lived in KC, MO for 7 years and it's a beautiful city.

Yeah, I really like Daffycat's secret giveaways too.. i think we talked about it a bit ago hmm? I just might spring a surprise one of these days too. :D

Jan Gartlan said...

Lovely work Calamity. I hope she gets a blog soon. Thanks for sharing for hardanger - I can't see anything wrong with it!

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing Jo and your hardanger is beautiful!

I can't believe I've missed so many of your posts lately, sorry! it appears that even though I'm a follower your posts aren't coming up in my reader. .. hmmm the delights of blogger!!


♥ Nia said...

What a nice secret giveaway!! Congrats to the lucky winner :)
I love you to the moon and back is so adorable!! =) Really cute!
hahahah that's not nosey! It's nice to know a little more about our followers :)
Maybe you'd like to read this post, it's an interview, tells a bit about me : Hope you'll enjoy! :)

I think that's a great idea, that challenge to finish old wips along the year. I can't join because I don't have wips hehhehhe but if I had, I'd join for sure! It's great to give some extra motivation and finish our works :)
I do have pieces all stitched but not finished into something yet. All cross stitch is done but now I need to frame or sew, it's my goal now! ;)

Southpaw Stitcher said...

The NOEL project is stunning. You really ought to finish it! Thanks so much for the profile of Calamity Jr. She has commented faithfully on my blog for the past year, and now I feel like I know her a little bit more.

Anna van Schurman said...

I like your guest blogger feature. It's always nice to meet the lurkers! Your "oldest wip" is beautiful. And young. ;)

Anne said...

I like the idea of the secret giveaway! I've been thinking of doing that too for my regular readers, but I'll have to wait until I get my other gifts for my family done (so belated!!!) It's great to read up on other bloggers!! Lovely stitching she has done!! I love your Noel too. Good for you for trying out hardanger! So Brave!!

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

Congrats to Calamity,JR....She really needs to start a blog. Her work is very pretty. I love the idea you had to show case someone who does not have a blog. That's a great idea. :)

Blessings always