Wednesday 29 February 2012

Theme-a-licious Looking Backward and Forward II plus my Oldest UFO

February's theme was Fan Girl February, stitch your favourite designer's work.

I managed two of my four favourites - Joan Elliott and Just Nan.

The two Just Nan pieces can be seen in this mid-month update and the Joan Elliot piece was my contribution to the JE RR starting imminently on the Yuku WWRR Board.

I've decided on the Flower Fairies series.  There are six of them and seven stitchers in the RR so I thought I'd do the centre piece featuring each of the flowers.  The mock-up can be seen on the post linked above.  Here's the pic:

 I've not stitched any metallics, beads, backstitch or leaves yet.  That will all be added when it returns to me in November.  I was unsure about having any leaves but I really like the pop of green on the Chrysanthemum so I will be adding some more at the end.

The whole thing:
The blocks have been stitched in tacking cotton to show the placement.  I don't want solid lines around my fairies, I want their hair and tendrils to flow outside the blocks.  I've spent ages drawing on the working copies of the charts to show which bits to stitch and which not!  I hope it all makes sense to the other stitchers.

Now I've got the blocks marked out I'm really pleased with it, there are two 50x50 blocks, two 40x60 and two 60x40.  All the fairies are facing inwards so they look like friends!!  I may stitch borders round each block when it returns, I'll see if it needs it.

The fabric is Sunlit Heath by Crafty Kitten, it's more green in real life.  I stitched Nimue's Baby Swing on it and Green Goddess.  Those of you who have mailed things to me may recognise the word "Heath" from my address.  Yes, the fabric is named for me!  How cool is that?  Thanks Dawn.

Looking forward - March is:
March Madness
Stitch or knit on something different every's madness...of the funnest possible kind.

Now, anyone who knows me as a stitcher will know that's just not for me!  But Heather says we can be loose and imaginative in our interpretation of this, just step outside our comfort zone a little.  So I thought I'd see how many different designers I could stitch on without doing more than one by each person.  Unfortunately obligation stitching has already cause one glitch - I need to stitch two of the WOCS Flower of the Month cards and if I stitch the JE RR then I shouldn't stitch Green Goddess or vice versa.

But hey, it's my hobby so I can do it if I want to!  I'll just claim a "moment of madness" made me do it.

Finally, here's a little finish for the oldest UFO thing organised by Evalina Maria:


Those little frames are quite tricky to get the fabric in!  I'm not entirely happy with it, it's a little squiffy still.  I'll have another go tomorrow I think.  I have no idea where the chart comes from, there's no label or packaging at all.  I used threads from my scraps bag and subbed the coloured stitches on the tree for beads of the same colour

This was also part of the Christmas All Year Round fun and was my first finish for their our blog.  March is a free choice month so I may stitch one of the Heart Strings Santas Dixie Samplar sent me.  There's only 12 to choose from!!

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Madame Muriel goes to the Far East...

... of England LOL!

Just a fly-by post today, Madame Muriel will be updating you all with her latest adventures and plans for her next destination.

Do other countries celebrate their extremities in this way?  Apart from Cape Horn I couldn't actually name a single other cardinal point in another country.  Whereas I expect most people will know Land's End and John O'Groats.  Or that just my Anglo-centrinicity coming out again?!!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

TUSAL and TUPOST - Blogger won't let me post any writing other than the title of this post. I can't add pictures either. How frustrating is that? Hopefully it will come back soon. Happy Stitching Jo who has the longest post title ever!

Thursday 23rd February 18.40 - after 2 solid days of trying to post:

Hooray it's working!!

Here is my TUSAL photo:

TUSAL is posing with Madame Muriel, my page-every-other-day calendar and my framed Periphaeria Star SAL.

I used a nice big frame to show off the lovely Sparklies' fabric.  It is Purpleberry Spludge and the design is stitched over 1 on 28 count.  The frame was a dirt-cheap raw pine one which I coloured with my purple felt tip pen.

Here's another picture to show the purple of the frame (I've had to tweak the brightness to show the frame colour:

And here's a close-up of the bottom part:

It's funny how the density of the stitches affects the colour.  All the purple is the same skein of DMC 333 but where there is a single line of stitches it looks much paler than where there is solid stitching.  I've only noticed this effect on this piece of work.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Lovely Post of Loveliness from Lovely People

The title of this post comes from a friend of mine.  Her Mum is a big fan of the shop Laura Ashley.  We used to call it Lovely Laura's Lovely House of Loveliness because we thought it was funny!

Anyway, this post isn't about lifestyle shopping it's about the beautiful things I've been sent recently.  Over Christmas I entered a number of Giveaways and Prize Draws and was rather lucky!  Here is some of the stash I received.   BTW you can see my mad carpet behind some of these prizes!

This was the contents of a box which arrived from Dixie Samplar.  I am slightly obsessed with other people's followers' numbers and love it when I become a "round number" follower, eg 50 or 100 or in this case 200.  I said "Hi from follower 200" and Terri decided that was worth a prize!  Wow!  Look at this, Lizzie*Kate, a Red Alphabet by Sheepish Designs, 3 hand-wrapped parcels and not one but 12 Santas by Heartstrings.

Just as I was wondering how I would stitch all those Santas (one large piece of fabric, 12 small, 3 groups of 4 etc) I opened the parcels and found the perfect 25 count fabrics.  So that's decided for me, 2 groups of 6.  6 on each fabric.  My Mum thinks some of them look like certain nationalities, there's a definite Scandinavian one and a Scottish tartan one so maybe that will make a fun blog game - spot the country!

The little red, pink and silver things are the famous Hershey Kisses.  I have heard of these but never seen/tasted them.  I nearly didn't taste them this time thanks to the Large Boy but we have shared nicely.

The most beautiful pillow, so nicely finished with grosgrain ribbon and a lovely button.

See, perfectly chosen fabric to make the pillow co-ordinate with the stitching:

This lovely chart was a prize from Kathy of A Stitcher's Heirlooms as part of her Twelve Days of Christmas event.  It's called Noel Blanc.  The little Prairie Schooler Tree is a bonus prize and perfect for the Christmas All Year Round blog's February theme (if I get a round tuit this month!). 

This one is from Kaye of Kitten Stitching from her 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway:
Isn't the card beautiful?  The lovely green and red charm is a lucky Chinese jade charm and the Santa charts comes with five little Santa Charms too.  I have gone from having no Santa stitching at all to having a plethora of charts to choose from!

This cute reindeer is from Nia from Caixinha de Pirlimpimpim (which means Little Box of Pixie Dust in case you wondered!).  It seems I commented and posted alot on her Christmas Party Giveaway so I deserved a little something despite not winning a "big" prize!  This is a Jingly Bell Reindeer which had hubby and the postman wondering over the noise.  He comes with a little bib to stitch one of the designs on but it covers the bell up so I might hang it behind him and just stitch Nia's name and the year as a reminder of where he came from.

This is fresh from the Mouse House:
I've been coveting her Romantique Sampler (scroll down to the photos on this post to see it) for ages!!  Apparently it's not quite finished yet so I have to wait to steal it see photos of it.  Anyway Mouse kindly stitched me an excerpt from it on a piece of the same fabric beautifully finished into a pillow complete with pink ribbon and a lovely pearl-headed pin.

See the tiny neat stitches - they were stitched at night by an actual mouse with a teeny needle.  Mouse leaves her stitching out at bedtime with some thread and the mice come in the night and sew everything together (a little like the Elves and the Shoemaker).  This is the only possible explanation for such perfectly neat tiny stitches!

And finally, from Riona of Oubliette, I can Hear the Sea Call!  Along with some lovely theads from ye Olde Willow Stitchery.  They have lovely names like Byberry Township Green and Quaker Gold.  I think they will be just right for the Mary Wigham Sampler which I am still considering.  They are linen threads so maybe I need a piece of linen to stitch on?

I have seen a lovely piece of fabric for the Sea Sampler on the Polstitches website.  It's called Mystic and seems to be the perfect turquoise I want.  I've not bought from Jo before (but with that name she must be good!) but I've heard great things about her fabric and she's very nice on the forums so I have no worries on that score.  It's just that I feel slightly disloyal to the other two fabric dealers I usually buy from LOL!

Does anyone else feel like that if you use a different supplier to usual?  The bigger corporations don't bother me but since I've got to know the one-woman-bands well I want to put as much business their way as possible!

And finally, just for Michelle of A Stitching Love Affair here is a picture of some Real Men of Heavy Metal, not your American pretty boys LOL.  This is the exact picture which adorned the back of my History folder throughout High School.  You should check out Michelle's blog, she's stitching Enchantment of Winter and does post pics of that too, not just old rockers!
edit - actually Michelle's in New Zealand so they are not technically her pretty boys.  All she gets is rugby players and a few hobbits to call her own!

ps How many times did I get "lovely" into this post?

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Theme-a-licious February Update

Fan-Girl February is this month's theme.

I plan to stitch on a choice from my four favourite designers - Joan Elliott, Just Nan, Nora Corbett and Teresa Wentzler.

So far this month I have stitched two different Just Nan projects.  The first one to be completed is one of her smalls, Spring Peepers.  I have had this chart and charm for eons and the fabric for a couple of years.  Thanks to the Just-Nan-a-thon it finally came to the top of the list.

Stitched on 28 count blue evenweave.
The design is very simple, mostly plain cross stitched with a few eyelets and some beads.  I used standard beads rather than the petites (because I didn't have the petites!).  There are four backstitched frogs in gold.  To liven up the lilies I added four straight stitches to each one using DMC Light Effects (the pink one!).  This made a huge difference to the piece, I love them!

Here's how my Just Nan smalls are displayed:

Some of them aren't Just Nan but rather than have gaps they're up there too.  My Dad made this shelf based on one I bought from a House Clearance shop which was just 10mm too small all round to fit the frames.  Typical.

The second Just Nan finish was for the Yuku Board Band Sampler Round Robin.  Kathy's theme was Just Nan in blue.  Here are my bands:

My bands come from the Burgundy Stocking and the Evening Star Sampler.  I changed the colours to fit in with Kathy's scheme.  I also added the beads to my band as I noticed Kathy had stitched the same band in different colours so I echoed her bead placement.

And here is the whole piece so far:
It's now off to Sophia to finish and return to Kathy.

This evening I started my Joan Elliott Round Robin piece based on the 6 Flower Fairies.  The other 6 participants will be stitching a Fairy each and I'm stitching the centre piece made up of 6 of the flowers.  I don't have a progress pic but here is my plan produced on the computer:

Finally a Big Thank You to everyone who took part in the Secret Stitching Sweetheart event yesterday.  It was such fun visiting all the blogs and seeing everyone guessing who'd sent which piece.  The bonus piece on my blog was by Mouse.  I will be doing it again next year, and if you can't wait that long, there will be an online Easter activity too.  All you will need is an Easter or Spring related stitched picture to join in.  Keep your eyes open for the sign up sometime towards the end of March.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Secret Stitching Sweethearts Revealed

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!  I hope that those of you in relationships got well treated today.

Over the last few weeks my email inbox had been receiving Hearts and Love in preparation for the Secret Stitching Sweetheart activity.  I have a lovely spreadsheet and each person has now been emailed a picture from a random participant.

At some point today they will post the picture they receive on their blog and wait for their Secret Stitching Sweetheart to reveal herself by leaving a comment.  Ooops that should say "reveal her identity"!  This is not that sort of activity!

We were lucky enough to have 14 bloggers taking part in the first annual event, perfect for February the 14th!  They are:

Even if you haven't taken part this year why not take a tour round the blogs and see if you can guess who sent which picture.

Here's a little bonus pic just for you all:

Can you guess who sent this one in?  No prize, just for fun!

Finally, I scheduled this post to appear automatically in the early hours of Valentine's Day, did you spot what I did with the date and time?  Small things make me happy!

Tuesday 7 February 2012

February WIPocalypse

Progress for the WIPocalypse - not much, the world cannot end just yet!

Part 1 - my 12 in '12 -
Here is Green Goddess:

The Dark Alphabet progress pic was posted at the weekend.

My Lovely Sewing Tools, no progress since I last posted, here's a reminder:

Part 2 - Just Nan-a-thon:

This is Spring Peepers, a 1998 chart stitched on 28 count blue evenweave:

Part 3 - Theme-a-licious: Jardin Janvier and Fan-Girl February:

Green Goddess - see above.
WOCS Violet Birthday card, backstitched then hand-coloured:

Just Nan - see above plus my Round Robin (pic to follow when my band is finished.)
That's this month's round-up, looking forward to seeing your's.

Just remembered, the violet card is for the Needlecraft Haven Birthday Exchange.  There isn't an April birthday in that exchange so if your birthday is in April, please let me know as I need a recipient for the April flower!  You don't need to be in the NH exchange, this will be a private thing just so I can stitch the whole set!

Sunday 5 February 2012

In which Some Old Finishes Finally get some Love.

As the title says, we all have old finishes stored away in our stash chests (or wherever) just pining away for some love.

The first piece is a very old cover kit from Cross Stitcher magazine issue 39, January 1996.  It was a lovely peacock bookmark which has lived in a box ever since.  When Calamity Jr made the 1000th comment on my blog I decided it would make the ideal gift for her.  I used a piece of the fabric samples I acquired last year to cover a bit of board, then stuck the peacock on with double sided tape.  I bought these lovely peacock cards from the local craft shop, they're for card-making and have lots of gold on them.  The piece of braid was the handle from the fabric sample book.  Waste not, want not!  I glued a piece of card on the back to finish it off,  Voila!

Do not adjust your set - this photo IS on the huh.


Calamity was absolutely over the moon with her gift which made me very happy too.

The second elderly lady in need of some attention (the peacock being the first, not Calamity!) is this one:

Just Nan - Winter Romance stitched on 28 count linen.

I stitched all four of these at the turn of the century (21st not 20th!) and they have languished in a box every since.  I got four frames for my birthday and fully intended to get them all up last Autumn.  One down, three to go!

This is the most beautiful piece in real life, probably my favourite of the four and the first of them that I stitched.  The colours are more vibrant now it's been backed and mounted.  I have fallen in love with it all over again.

I'm on a Just Nan roll now, I charted my part for Kathy's Band Sampler this afternoon and started a small last night - Spring Peepers.  These are both part of Fan Girl February on Theme-a-licious.

The third old lady is Madame Muriel, the Travelling Granny.  She's been a little quiet just lately I'm afraid.  I did have a couple of plans for her but real life has the annoying tendency to get in the way!  So my current plan is to try take her somewhere vaguely interesting during Half Term week and then make plans for her to be on her merry way.  Do not ask to host her yet - wait until you see her rider!

Finally, here is the current state of play on A Dark Alphabet.  It is now too big to fit on my scanner so you only get the bottom half.  There are four more blocks completed since I last showed you.  Phantom is based on the Lon Chaney phantom rather than the Andrew Lloyd-Webber one that I am more familiar with.  Maybe that's why it's not my favourite block.  The Queen of the Night is amazing, the tiny witch is so cute and the skeleton is just crazy.

You can see how close to finishing we are, only 7 more letters and the personalisation block to go.  The Large Boy and I have ideas for all the remaining letters except for X.   We are stumped.  He wants Ectoplasm to be spelled Exoplasm so we could have that.  The right hand border will have another column of stitches, I just got bored!

I did attempt some tiny Queen Stitches for Q but did 4 sided diamonds with one vertical stitch.  That is the only drawback to stitching over 1, the speciality stitches either don't work or are just too fiddly and don't show.  On the plus side it's a manageable size (A3) and I love the delicate look of over 1.  It's a 28count evenweave.

Friday 3 February 2012

An Award

I received this lovely award from Topcho of Bla. bla? bla! recently.  It's German for "Favourite Blog"  Here's what I have to do:
  • Put the award on your blog - done
  • Link the blogger who nominated you - click on award to go to Topcho's blog 
  • Choose 5 other bloggers - see below
  • Visit their blogs and let them know - they all visit mine so they'll find out that way haha.
I decided to choose 5 blogs who run great fun events for us all to join in with.  Having done the Advent Calendar and the Secret Stitching Sweetheart for Valentine's Day I can really appreciate the effort which goes into a bigger event.  So here are the blogs:

Daffycat - for services to the Totally Useless (the SAL not the bloggers!)
and also because whenever the Large Boy sees the Dancing Cow he does the Daffycat Dance.
This would be available on Youtube except for the fact that hubby does not let me exploit my children.  Damn.

Measi - for helping us all face the End of the World in a more organised state.

Joysze - for giving us an excuse to hide away and Hermit once a month.

Heather - for enabling us to think there is method in our madness by giving us a theme each month (and letting me flex my imagination to see how I can shoe-horn Green Goddess in there every month).

Nia - for the best Christmas Party ever and inspiring all the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways (which I was very lucky with!)

I've just noticed that Topcho already gave Joyzse the Award so I'll add:

Evalina Maria - for making me dig out two very elderly Christmas UFOs and shaming me into stitching them (sometime this year).

OK, Award ceremony over, frocks and jewels all go back to Rachel Zoe.  I die.  Bananas.  Shut. it. down.