Monday 31 March 2014

Theme-a-licious March Update

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! 

March Madness
Work on something different every's madness...of the funnest possible kind.

Regular followers will know that I don't do the daily rotations some people love but I do try to stitch a variety of designs in March.  Back in 2012 I stitched 12 different designers, last year I managed 13 so this year I thought - let's go for 14 different projects.  I didn't want to do 14 different designers because that would mess up the Just Nan SAL!

Here are the 14 in the order started:

1. Measi's RR, Bands from Just Nan Needlestory

2. Somebunny to Love - Bathtime Bunny

3. A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc

4. Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown, Block 5,6,7,8 and 9

5. Brooke's Books Belinda the Bat Witch/Vampire now mounted in an Italian scene from an old calendar

6. Snowflower Diaries - Spring Witch, also mounted in a calendar page.

7. Secret Project for a friend

8. Just Nan - Winter Typography

9. Another secret project!

10. Twisted Thread - Easter Bunny
(left over project from last year!)

11. The Little Stitcher - 12 Days of Christmas, Day of Warmth

12. Rachel's RR, Bands from Just Nan Cynthia's Sampler and Sweet Rememberance

13. Jannlynn - Gathering Honey
(project for a friend, stitched most of the green)

14. Prairie Moon - Thine is the Trick and the Treat
(I stitched those two little hands in the bottom right)

Phew!  That's a lot of stitching!  Next month will be tricker, SoCal Debbie suggested the theme April Showers so we have to think of designs with water in them.  Or maybe a nice Anti-theme piece with a desert!

Finally, I am still taking sign-ups for the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.  Click on the bunny on the right-hand side for more information.  He's a Just Nan design, Dewdrop Bunny.  Please feel free to borrow him and use as a link to promote the Blog Hop.

Sunday 30 March 2014

TUSAL of Warmth

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 year I am intending to stitch The Little Stitcher's Twelve Days of Christmas as a monthly project.  Laura has designed twelve charts with a different theme for each one to represent the days of Christmas.  She has invented the different themes herself using her lovely imagination!

This weekend I have stitched The Day of Warmth.  Here it is as part of my TUSAL photo:

You can just spot the ORTS jar nestled amidst the Spring flowers in the warmth of our garden.

And here it is in close-up, a shepherdess and her sheep:

This is what Laura says about The Day of Warmth:

"On this day, take some time for you.  Let the world go on without you, take care of yourself, relax wrapped in a soft wool blanket and make yourself a nice gift, one of those which warms the heart."

This seems most appropriate today, as it is Mothering Sunday here in England so most of us Mothers will have been at least attempting to take it easy or be a little more relaxed than usual.

Finally, I am still taking sign-ups for the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.  Click on the bunny on the right-hand side for more information.  He's a Just Nan design, Dewdrop Bunny.  Please feel free to borrow him and use as a link to promote the Blog Hop.

Friday 28 March 2014

March Just Nan SAL

Just Nan SAL
Just Nan SAL is hosted by Zeb of Keep Calm and Cross Stitch

Since the last Just Nan SAL post I have finished the rows on Measi's Band Sampler and sent it off to Kathy.  Here is my part of the sampler:

Bands from Needlestory
My colour conversion using threads provided by Measi

As part of March Madness (for Theme-a-licious) I started a new Just Nan, the second in the Typography collection; Winter Typography.  Here is my progress:

I love all the different fonts on this one and the sweet little over 1 bird too.

The final Just Nan I am stitching is another instalment on the Band Sampler Round Robin.  Rachel has also given us free rein as long as it co-ordinates with her bands.  I have chosen two JNs, narrow bands will come from Cynthia's Sampler and deeper bands from Sweet Rememberance.  Here is my progress so far:

Finally, I am still taking sign-ups for the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.  Click on the bunny on the right-hand side for more information.  He's a Just Nan design too, Dewdrop Bunny.  Please feel free to borrow him and use as a link to promote the Blog Hop.

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Smalls SAL March Update

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Stitching Lotus

I chose three different monthly themes to follow this year:

Hallowe'en Ornie SAL - 12 different themes
Little Stitcher Fairy Tale 12 Days of Christmas - one per month
Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown - one per week starting 31st January

I was nice and early this month with the Hallowe'en ornie, thanks to my train trip to London:

Spring Witch by The Snowflower Diaries

The Little Stitcher will make her appearance with my TUSAL post next week.

The Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown is now in its eighth week so here is Block 8:

Oops, missed six stitches off the top of the biggest book.

I am stitching alongside Giovanna, who is stitching these on one piece of fabric starting in the middle.  We are now stitching the same row which is nice.  At the end of this set of six she will be stitching the first six I have already done and vice versa!

Other smalls I have stitched this week include this design:

I can't tell you anything about it except that it is a gift for a follower.  It went off in the post today so hopefully I will be able to share a photo within the next week to ten days (clue to the location of the follower!).  This next one is also a gift:

Yep, that's the reverse of the bookmark mount!

Finally, that old chestnut - Copyright theft.  As you know I have been stitching away on an A Mon Ami Pierre design all year (Noel Blanc).  I have just learned that the designer is quitting because of copyright theft.  From the old enemies of designers the Russian and Chinese "Repainting" Forums and a new boy on the Piratical Seas - Pinterest.

If you look at virtually any Pinterest Board you will see images of charts.  Actual charts, not links to charts or images of the finished item but the actual chart.  "But they are free designs" the Pinner says.  Yes, but the designer gives them for free so you will visit his/her site and hopefully buy something else or at least enter into a dialogue with him/her - "Thank you for this lovely freebie" won't kill anyone, even the shyest stitcher!  People are not going to visit if they can download direct from your Pin Board!  

"I didn't realise" is the other excuse "Copyright is so complicated".  No, it isn't.  Ask yourself - Did I design this chart myself?  If the answer is Yes, then Pin away happily.  If the answer is No, then don't do it.  Find the designer and put a Pin to her website or her blog, spread the news that there is a fabulous designer out there waiting to talk to her fans.

Lecture over.

Until next time one of my favourite designers quits. 

Edit to add - when I said "Virtually any Pinterest Board" I did not mean Ziggyeor's Kermit Flail Board.  This is officially amazing!

Thursday 20 March 2014

Stitch from Stash March Update

Stitch From Stash 2014
Stitch from Stash is hosted by Mel from Epic Stitching

Essentially the idea behind Stitch from Stash is that we are limited to spending US$25 (or £15) per month.  There are various exemptions (Birthday money, existing mag subs, clubs etc) but the idea is not to try and pervert the rules and to stitch some of that stash!  I will be posting on or around the 20th of each month because that is when I get paid!

Money from Christmas 2013
£ 40.00
January Budget
£ 15.00
January Spend
£ 25.84
February Budget
£ 15.00
February Spend
£ 18.99
£ 25.17

Just Nan Jasmine Mix
£   4.49
Mill Hill Beads
£   2.54
DMC Metallic
£   1.39

£ 16.75
March Budget
£ 15.00
Available to carry forward to April
£ 31.75

Allowed purchases:
Jodyri Threads of Month Club : £ 5.54
Just Cross Stitch mag sub for seven issues : £ 12.35

New Starts from Stash: Somebunny Card, Snowflower Diary Spring Witch for Hallowe'en Ornie SAL, Just Nan Winter Typography
WIPs and UFOs worked on: A Mon Ami Pierre Noel Blanc, Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown, The Little Stitcher 12 Days of Christmas.

Somebunny to Love - Bathtime Bunny
(cover kit from WOCS 213)

Just Nan - Winter Typography
There was a little frogging action on this one, when I came to add the bird I realised that I had stitched the large Winter one row too low so the mittens and the corner motif came out and were re-stitched)

A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc
I have been alternating between the long straight rows of deer and the floral border to the left of him.

Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown
Giovanna and I have stitched the same motif this week and will do for the next five weeks!

Finally, I am taking sign-ups for the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop, click on the Bunny on the right hand side bar for more details.

Sunday 16 March 2014

WIPocalypse March Stitching Places


WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi of Measi's Musings.

The main focus of my WIPocalypse this year is my "14 in '14" a list of 14 projects I wanted to complete in 2014.  In the last month I have worked on four of the list.  Here is the current stitching status of each one:

Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown

The Little Stitcher - 12 Days of Christmas

A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc

Just Nan - Winter Typography

Measi is also setting us a topic to discuss each month.

March 16 – Topic:  Show us your favourite places to stitch.

Here is a photo of my usual stitching spot:

OK, so it's not the tidiest stitching spot I've ever seen!  I tend to use the "strata" system where the older stuff sinks to the bottom and the newest stuff is on top.  That large bag on the floor contains all my DMC in their Floss-away bags, there is the latest Cross Stitch Collection magazine in view, some project bags and a carrier bag with Noel Blanc in so I can grab it at bath-time.  You can also see my blankets to the right which are either for sitting on or wrapping round my legs when it gets cold.  The Union Jack tray was for bringing coffee and snacks through, nothing to do with my stitching at all!

I also stitched on one of these this month:

I believe it is a Class 90 Electric Locomotive.

Anyway, this took me down to London and back for the Scarlet Letter Meet-up and six hours of train stitching produced this piece:

Spring Witch by The Snowflower Diaries 

I used to stitch alot on trains, commuting to Norwich six days a week gave me 90 minutes per day stitching time.  This was when I decided the "secured needle" method of stitching was definitely the one for me.  You don't need to drop many needles on the dirty floor of a train carriage (and losing them too) to decide that using the method most people use for sewing buttons on is a very wise move!

Finally, I am taking sign-ups for the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop, click on the Bunny on the right hand side bar for more details.

Thursday 13 March 2014

A Wonderful Day Out and a Wonderful Witch

Those of you that also follow the Scarlet Letter Year Blogs will know that we have just had our first Meet-Up in London.  As far as Nicola was concerned we were just meeting (for the first time) for a look at some of the samplers the V&A has in their collection.  But Elaine and I had an ulterior motive, the Secret Surprise Quilt many of us had been working on over the last year!

You can read the full report here - The-grand-scarlet-letter-year-meet-up and see all the photos here - Picasa Album.  Here are a couple of photos of Nicola receiving her quilt:

And a close-up of my block:

If you like antique samplers I can really recommend a visit to the Clothworkers' Centre where the V&A now house their textile collection.  It is only 3 stops on the tube and a short walk from the V&A but you do need to make an appointment well in advance and specify which exhibits you would like to see.  But once you are there, you get a full two hours to examine the pieces in close detail, you can't touch but the gloved curator will turn things over so you can view the reverse.  You can also take photos but only for personal use, not for publishing online.  Here's the link if you would like to find out more - Clothworkers' Centre

And here is just part of our lovely tea:

Nicola and her sisters wanted to treat me to a slap-up tea as a Thank You for helping with the blog and organising the day out.  Betty Blythe's Teashop was the perfect place, we were shown our own room where we could dress up in the vintage clothes provided (we were too busy chatting!!) and several courses were brought to us with an endless supply of English Tea.  From dainty sandwiches (sans crust of course) to smoked salmon minis, jam and cream scones, chocolate amuse-bouches to the finale - iced fairy cakes!  If you are in London for any reason I really recommend a visit to Betty Blythe's.  But make sure you go with an empty stomach!

It was a very long day for me, I left home at 7am and returned back just before 10pm.  The upside to spending six hours on a train though is the amount of stitching done!  I nearly completed the entire March design for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL Blog.  March's theme is Witches.  I chose the Spring Witch by The Snowflower Diaries and finished her off yesterday:

I stitched her on a piece of random 28 count linen I had using the recommended DMC.  The only change I made was to give the witch green eyes and I used satin stitch for the broom.  I just love the effect I got using that stitch.  There are three more seasonal witches and I will definitely stitch them all this year.  Here is the full picture mounted:

This is not a scrapbook page, it's a page from a National Geographic calendar.  Your local Waterstones may still have these for only £2.49 (they might be in the stockroom so you'll have to ask!).  There are twelve different designs all of various landscapes and perfect for mounting stitching.  I just cut a circle in the paper and mounted the fabric behind it with double-sided tape.

Finally, I am taking sign-ups for the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.  Click on the bunny on the right-hand side for more information.

Friday 7 March 2014

Round Robin and Some Steady Progress

I'm stitching in my third Band Sampler Round Robin organised through the Yuku Board.  This month I have been stitching on Measi's Bold Sampler, so called because she has chosen some strong colours for us to stitch anything we like with.  Here are the bands I chose:

And here is an "action shot" of the beads:

The bands I chose came from a Just Nan sampler, Needlestory but I completely changed the colours.  Measi sent us a selection of Dinky Dyes and other threads to use.  She said we could use toning colours if needed, so I added DMC 746 cream to the top band and the Teresa Wentzler lilacs to the other bands.  Why do I call them the TW lilacs?  Anyone who has stitched a TW will recognise 3041 and 3042 as two classic Teresa colours!!

The beads were some random pink beads I had which really tied the rows together, especially the bottom row.  I wasn't overally happy with that row until I added the beads.

The whole thing so far.

I am now patiently waiting for the next sampler to reach me.  Rachel has given us another free theme so I think I will choose some more Just Nan bands!

The steady progress has been on my Noel Blanc by A Mon Ami Pierre.  I stitch on this every evening while the Small Boy is in the bath.  Here is how it looked on 20th February:


And here is how it looks now (2 weeks later):

I got bored of the white repeating border so stitched some green last night!

Here is the other piece I am stitching on a regular basis, Spooky Countdown by Primitive Hare (with Giovanna).  Block 5 now completed:

Finally, I have sign ups open for the Easter Treasure Hunt (we have ages but I thought I'd start early!).  Click on the bunny on the right hand side bar for more details.  I also have quite a long list of Easter and Spring freebies on my Freebies page if you are stuck for something to stitch.