Friday 31 May 2013

Theme-a-licious Looking Backward and Forward V

Theme-a-licious is hosted by Heather of It's Geek to Me

Each month Heather thinks up a theme for us to stitch to, or in my case, a theme to somehow shoe-horn my existing stitching into, no matter how tenuous the link!

Monochrome May
Pick a colour, any colour, then stitch only on projects that contain that colour for the month!

My first monochrome project was Green Goddess which I worked on for the first half of the month.  I've posted this picture a couple of times already but one more won't hurt! 

The rest of the month was spent on my Round Robin mermaid which is not monochrome so no pic today.

During the daytime I stitched on two more monochromes, the first was my JBW alphabet kitty for May.  Thanks to everyone who gave their opinion on which backing fabric I should use.  I'm pleased that each of my choices had their fans, just proves I'm not totally colour blind!  You were clearly all channelling your inner Pioneer Woman and the gingham was an easy leader.  Always reminds me of the late great Bill Hicks "gonna get me some gingham, what's gingham?  Ah dunno but chicks dig it!"

The other monochrome is a card for a friend so watch your postboxes, friends! I actually forgot to photograph it before mailing so I'm hoping my friend will do the honours for me.

And the final photo is my "Anti-Theme" piece, the opposite of monochrome has to be multi-coloured and you don't get much more multi-coloured than a rainbow.  Here are the first eight hearts from the Thread Pickerz Hearts SAL on FB:

I'm using a De Havilland artificial silk in rainbow on 32 count white evenweave, the picture is a scanned one so not the best of the fabric but I'll take some nice ones once the SAL is over.

Looking forward, this is the theme for June:

Jumanji June 
Is it a jungle out there in your stash? Give some love to the projects with animals or birds.

This should be ok, a mermaid is a sort of fish... And she's on a round robin so that's a bird.  The next things on Green Goddess are the moths and dragonflies.  Alphabet Kitty is a cat, as is my choice for the Hallowe'en SAL.  So plenty to stitch there in theme.

Finally, I haven't forgotten the draw for 400 followers, I've been putting together the blog post along with links to all the wonderful people you chose so it'll be up some time next week.  Patience!

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Ornament SAL May Update

Stitching Lotus Ornament SAL

This is the Ornament SAL hosted by Stitching Lotus

I have three different ornament challenges running this year, the JBW Alphabet Cat stitched in a different colour scheme each month, the Dragon Dreams 12 Dragonlets of Christmas, a FB exclusive and the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL blog.

wanted a spring blossom feel for the Alphabet Cat and chose green thread on pink fabric.  I'm not 100% certain about this colour scheme and am still wondering whether to stitch it again in pink on green.  I also can't decide which backing fabric to choose either!  So which do you prefer?  Option 1, 2 or 3?

Option 1 - Gingham

Option 2 - Random Floral

Option 3 - Geometric Floral

Here is the fifth Dragon Dreams FB exclusive Dragonlet of Christmas, Five Gold Rings:

The choice for May's Hallowe'en Ornie was Ghosts.  This is a sweet little design from JCS 2012 Hallowe'en Ornie Special issue.  A new designer for me, Val's Stuff:

And here he is with the backing fabric I'm planning to use:

Boo is stitched on 32count twilight blue linen, it is very stiff!  The stars are little smyrna crosses.

Finally, I've told a couple of people that the theme for the Summer Blog Hop is "No Place Like Home" as suggested by the Needlecraft Haven choice for last month.  I'll do a proper official announcement at the beginning of June.  I'm saving it for a day when there's not much stitching to show.

ps don't forget to chose your favourite backing fabric, leave a comment.  Thank you.

Monday 27 May 2013

Weekend Stitching

It's a Bank Holiday Weekend here in England and hubby has been working 20 hour days so it's just me and the boys and some stitching!

The first piece to be finished is Joan Elliott's April design for the 2013 diary.  This was the cover gift with World of Cross Stitching magazine last year and there are a group of us stitching-a-long on Facebook.  So far I have completed January and April and most of February.  I'm starting June's Wizard next and would like to complete him actually in June!

Here are my dragons:

The fabric is a piece from a Crafty Kitten grab bag, a sort of blue sky effect.  I used all the recommended colours but added backstitch in metallic purple to the purple fronds and also metallic silver bs to the wings.  The Large Boy is dropping heavy hints about needing this one in his room!

I have also been stitching away on the Mirabilia Round Robin, this is Shimmering Mermaid for Karen:

The bling arrived from SewandSo this week so it's all ready when I reach those parts.

Here's a finish from Thursday, the Needlecraft Haven Freebie Challenge for May.  A great design from The Little Stitcher called "There's no place like Home":

I stitched this on a piece of Emerald Green aida using DMC threads and a thick Madeira metallic red for the shoes.  I got the Maderia threads free from a magazine and I'm not a fan but it was good for this design.

I found a great scrapbooking website that had alot of Wizard of Oz themed papers so I'll be ordering some soon and mounting this for my book.

Also on the schedule was the next part of the Thread Pickerz Heartz SAL and the Hallowe'en ornie, pictures to follow.

Finally, I have been reading blogs and attempting to comment but the list keeps on growing so I never seem to reach the end!  Maybe I'll use the move to Bloglovin reader to trim my subscriptions and only follow the ones I comment on the most.  Maybe...

Friday 24 May 2013

May WIPocalypse

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi of Measi's Musings.

The main focus of my WIPocalypse this year will be my "13 in '13" a list of 13 projects I want to complete in 2013, click on top tab for the list.

I have been stitching Green Goddess as much as possible this month.  I really wanted to complete her face before I started the next Round Robin piece.  And I did!  Here she is as I left her:

I was hoping to start item 7 on my list, April's Word Play by With My Needle but that didn't happen.  So the next piece I'm looking at is Hear the Sea Call by Stitchers Hideaway.  I have the fabric, the threads and the little shells and stones to attach so it's looking good!

I am inches away from completing Joan Elliott's April Dragons and have the perfect fabric for the June Wizard so that's another one lined up for next month.

The Needlecraft Haven Freebie Challenge is all stitched up and ready to be emailed to Christine, I can show that one after this Sunday.

I still have to make a start on the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL piece so I think it will be the smaller ghost design. On the plus side, two of my giveaway prizes have arrived (the UK two) but I won't show them until the two overseas parcels have reached their destinations.

Finally, I am really enjoying all the answers left for my 400 followers giveaway last post.  I have replied to everyone except three "no-reply" people.  There are some great suggestions for names to include, some very well known and others new to me who certainly deserve to be better known.  I'll make a full list on the Winners Announcement page.  Don't forget, you have until Wednesday 29th May to enter, leave a comment on the previous post.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

400 Followers Giveaway

I recently acquired my 400th follower!  Wow, considering I've been blogging for just over 2 years, that's 4 people a week joining the blog!

Here's a picture to illustrate how I feel about the love and friendship we share online:

This is the latest instalment in the Thread Pickerz SAL on FB.
Stitched in De Havilland rainbow thread on 32count evenweave

I will be having a small giveaway to celebrate my lovely followers.  There will be something stitched, some cotton fabric (I have found a great shop that sells lovely fabric for backing ornies and want to share), maybe a cover kit or chart booklet from a magazine, some threads, buttons, ribbons, that sort of thing.

I've been trying to think of a good way to do the Giveaway, I do like to make you work for your prizes and it makes for fun reading too.  Then this morning I finally finished updating my Happy Dance Blog.  This has been a massive WIP in itself as I've been stitching for 20 years now.  I have added photos of every single piece I have and an entry for those I don't have photos of.  I have put exact dates where known and estimated when unsure.

One thing is clear - babies hamper your stitching!  Pre-baby I was averaging double figure finishes per year despite working 6 days a week.  For 2009 (Small Boy's birth year) I managed 2.  Since the discovery of the internet output has quadrupled!! Although to be fair, most of it is cards and small projects, freebie challenges and the like.

One of the entries I most enjoyed putting together was the Millennium Sampler.  Produced as a kit to celebrate the Year 2000 my Mum and I redesigned it between us.  I stitched a tree in the centre featuring my parents' and grandparents' surnames and mine (as it was at the time).  The outer squares I stitched as charted but around the middle there were several names of famous people who have made a great contribution to life in the last Millennium.  So why were there so few women?  Is that why it is known as His-story not Her-story or Our-story?  So Mum and I put our own list together.  We tried for a local flavour where possible, hence the inclusion of Constable and Cavell, a mixture of male and female, people from all walks of life (art, science, exploration, politics etc).  I also wanted the four House names from my Primary School to be included (Hillary, Drake, Scott and Columbus) and we wanted people that helped the poor as well as the rich.

Here's our final list with links to relevant websites -

Constable (John) - artist born in Suffolk and best known for his painting of the area
Cavell (Edith) - nurse born in Norfolk, executed during WWI for saving many lives, both Allied and German.
Hillary (Sir Edmund) - mountaineer/explorer, first person to reach the summit of Mt Everest, my "House" at Primary School
Earhart (Amelia) - aviation pioneer, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
Elgar (Edward) - composer, best known for Pomp and Circumstance
Sharman (Helen) - first Briton in Space (Interview here)
Drake (Francis) - English sea captain in the time of Elizabeth I, one of the "Houses" at my Primary School
Fry (Elizabeth) - Quaker and prison reformer
Dickens (Charles) - Victorian author and social critic
Curie (Marie) - physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize Winner, see also the Cancer Care Charity named for her.
Chanel (Gabrielle "Coco") - fashion designer
Pankhurst (Emmeline) - leader of the Suffragette movement which won the right for women to vote
Jenner (Edward) - physician and pioneer of vaccination
Bronte (Anne, Emily and Charlotte) - 19th century authors
Scott (Captain Robert) - Royal Navy officer and explorer, known as Scott of the Antarctic, one of the "Houses" at my Primary School.

The fourth "House" at Primary School was Columbus (Christopher) and he was already featured in the main squares so I didn't add him to the middle design.

So, back to the Giveaway, the question is - 
who would you have included on your Millennium Sampler?

You only need give one name.  I don't expect a long list like mine!  I am really quite excited about reading your answers.  I know my followers come from all over the world so I'm expecting some names that are new to me, as maybe some of mine were to you.

Rules - you must be a follower and must leave a comment with your choice of name(s) by Wednesday 29th May, 2013

Finally, the more eagle-eyed of you may spot gaps in the more recent blog entries on the Happy Dance blog, that's because I don't show pieces that are gifts or prizes until the recipient had seen them first.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive Gooooooooooooolllllllllllddddddddddddddd Rings!

So did anyone else sing the song like that?

Here are the Five Gold Ringwith a sleepy little Dragonlet on his pile of treasure.

This is the fifth in the series available as a FB exclusive from the Dragon Dream page

I stitched the rings in two different metallics, one darker, thicker from Madeira and one paler and thinner from DMC.  The DMC was definitely nicer to stitch with on 28 count.

Here is my evening piece:

This is Karen's Mermaid for the Large Mirabilia Round Robin.  I'm really enjoying stitching this design, anyone want to take a guess which mermaid it is?

Finally, there's been alot of talk on Facebook about Pinterest and copyright, that old hot potato!  I do enjoy looking at Pinterest boards but have been a little bemused by people pinning actual cross stitch charts instead of just a picture.  No-one does that on blogs, everyone links to the original blog or site, so why are people doing it on Pinterest?  The whole point of a designer or blogger giving a free chart is to encourage traffic to their website, by pinning the chart anyone can download it and not even acknowledge the original designer.  That's just not cricket!!  And is, in fact, illegal, even if the design was a freebie.  So come on Pinners, give credit where it's due and only pin pictures of the finished designs and always add a link.  If you're repinning and the information isn't there, then ask the original pinner.  If they can't give it then don't play with them, they're not nice people LOL.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Theme-a-licious May update, Theme and Anti-Theme

Theme-a-licious is hosted by Heather of It's Geek to Me

Each month Heather thinks up a theme for us to stitch to, or in my case, a theme to somehow shoe-horn my existing stitching into, no matter how tenuous the link!

Monochrome May
Pick a colour, any colour, then stitch only on projects that contain that colour for the month!

Usually I can get my stitching to fit in with the relevant theme albeit with some stretching some months.  A round robin counts as a bird, right?  So this month I had the perfect project, Green Goddess by Joan Elliott, lots of lovely green, green and more green in her.

I really wanted to get her face finished this session, there was a lot of filling-in with 677.  In a large area like this it's important to keep your stitches neat and your tension constant or it looks untidy and uneven.  I stitched on her for roughly the same amount of time each evening at the same time.  Here she here, about to have a little rest while I stitch on a Mermaid:

Once I restart her I hope to complete her, I'm in two minds about the square border so I may leave it off and keep her as a circle.

I've stitched the May JBW alphabet kitty in pink and green but I'm not 100% convinced, I used a nice sugar pink fabric because I wanted to use different colours for each month but I think it would look more blossom like if I used pink thread on green fabric.  If I have time at the end of the month I might do the other colour way and see which I prefer!  No picture as yet.

And here is the Anti-Theme piece, what's the opposite of monochrome?  How about multi-coloured?  I've had this gorgeous imitation silk in my stash since the 1990s just waiting to be used and when I saw the Thread Pickerz SAL on FB I decided it was high time I used it.   Eileen is sending us two hearts each week for 8 weeks.  I know I needed another SAL like I needed any more charts but the hearts were so sweet!  Here are the first four designs:

I changed the first heart as it was a plain solid heart designed to show off your chosen variegated thread but I charted our four initials to fill the heart shape.  It's so much fun getting a new chart each Sunday morning and having all day to stitch.  The Small Boy's current craze is video clips on Youtube so I can sit next to him, stitching away and be ready to click on his chosen one.  The Barefoot Books songs are my favourites.

I have reached another milestone - 400 Followers!  That calls for a little giveaway.  I spent today sorting out the parcels for my last two giveaways which should be mailed this weekend.  Then I can see what's left I mean choose something special!  And devise a cunning competition.

Talking of something special, I received my prize for the best wood themed puns on Shebafudge's blogaversary giveaway.  Sharon was celebrating five whole years of blogging which is Wood in anniversaries so I left an extremely hilarious comment on her blog using every bad joke I could think of.  Evidently Sharon appreciates bad jokes (I wonder if her husband tells Dad Jokes!) and said she would send me something wood-themed.  The parcel duly arrived and when I opened it I found a lovely piece of fabric.  Oh well, I thought, she couldn't find anything wooden.  Then I saw the name - Sun Dappled Glade!  How perfect is that?

I even have a chart that will look rather nice on it.  Fifth one down on the right hand side, a Passione Ricamo freebie fairy designed to celebrate Fairy Day 2007.

Finally the Shepherd's Bush Buttercups chart I was looking for has arrived, along with four little friends courtesy of Laura aka Ilkinbillburg of For the Love of my Needle blog.  She said she had all five in her stash for many years and will never stitch them herself.  I have generously offered to lend them to her if she changes her mind!  A Big Thank You to Laura and all the other people who also offered to send the charts to me.  Stitching Bloggers really are the best people!  I have spent my £10 voucher from Willow Fabrics on the required linen and will make a start immediately after my Round Robin mermaid.

Friday 10 May 2013

May TUSAL and some Joan Elliott Stitching

It's TUSAL time again!  For those of you new to blogging, the TUSAL is a project run by Daffycat, click on the button on the right hand bar for more details.

This month my ORTS jar is posing with a nice Spring page from my scrapbook.  The paper has geometric butterflies on it, I've added some daffodil embellishments and some floral ribbon.

This is a close up of the page:

The two designs are Lizzie*Kate's Spring and The Snowflower Diaries Tulip and Bunny.  Both stitched over 1 on 28 count yellow evenweave.

Here is my current evening piece.  I'm really enjoying being a OAAT on this and don't want to put her down!
I've stitched half the fill-in on her face and intend to finish the other side then move onto the large Mirabilia Round Robin.  I have a Mermaid on that one.  Although I have until July to stitch her I don't want to be Ms Last Minute dot com!

This is another Joan Elliot piece, from the 2013 Dairy, this is April's design called A Mother's Love:

Not a brilliant scanned picture I'm afraid!  Here is another not-very-brilliant scanned picture:

These are the first two hearts for the Thread Pickers SAL on FB.  The first heart was charted as a solid heart to show off each person's variegated thread but I didn't feel like stitched an expanse of plain xxxs so I charted our initials in a heart shape (mine, hubby's and the boys').  The thread is a De Haviland imitation silk in rainbow colours.  I'm stitching on white 32 count but having seen some of the others I'm thinking black would have looked amazing!

Finally, this is a picture a friend sent me.  This was invented by her and her partner as an eco and cost-effective way of helping the elderly keep warm.  But what does this picture scream at you?


Hands up who said "stitching booth"?  Because that was my first thought!  This idea is only in the development stages, they have a patent (so don't try copy it LOL) but need feedback to see if people would actually buy one.  I can just see me having all my supplies hung on little hooks inside the booth and shelves on the outside or maybe pockets for fabric?
Any comments left about the booth will be passed onto my friend.  I'm not charging her for market research but maybe she'll let me be a guinea pig for one?!! 

Saturday 4 May 2013

Happy Star Wars Day

May the Fourth be with you!

So what's new this month?  Having finally finished the RR I decided to spend some time with Green Goddess, a Joan Elliott design.  Here's a close-up of the area I've been working on:

I've stitched all around her face in the ordinary DMC leaving gaps for the dragonflies as they have metallics in them.  I've also left the face til last so I can start a fresh skein and not risk a dye-lot change in the middle of it!

There is alot of metallic in this as most of the border is Kreinik and there are beads to add too but I do feel the end is in sight sometime this year!

Daytime has also been Joan's territory.  I dithered over whether to finish February's design from the 2013 Diary or start April's.  Karen told me to start April's dragons so like a good little stitcher that's what I did.  Here is my progress so far:

The fabric is a 28 count from a Crafty Kitten grab bag so it has no name but looks quite sky-like.  The dragons are stitching up so much more quickly than the Cherub did.  I have no idea why as I like both designs.

This is how I left February's:

As I'm not stitching any of the pixie designs I'm hopeful of finishing both of these and catching up this month.

I can also show a finish from last month's Needlecraft Haven Challenge.  Christine invited us to choose one of the Snowflower Diaries Spring designs featuring chicks and bunnies.  I chose this one because the plant reminds me of Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors!

I used the same yellow evenweave as previous Easter/Spring stitches so they can all be mounted together.  The bunny in the photo is the one I won in our corner shop's raffle.

Finally, I had a little stash enhancement via an Esty shop called The Pampered Stitcher and bought these three Shepherd's Bush charts.  They are from a series called the Botanicals and I have whortleberry, rowan berry and bluebells.  There is also a fourth design entitled buttercups.  If anyone out there has this chart they would like to sell to me I would be eternally grateful and your friend forever!

Here are the three I have:

They will look beautiful framed and displayed with these four I stitched several years ago:

Larger pictures found here

edit: further investigation reveals the existence of violets and aramanth!