Wednesday 30 April 2014

Smalls SAL and Theme-a-licious April Updates

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

This is my choice for April's Owl theme, not quite finished.  I used the DMC conversion which said 327 for the alphabet but I really didn't like it on this blue fabric I'm using.  So I asked advice and Mouse suggested 930.  I'd looked at 939 (too dark) and the high 700s (too Royal Blue) and this was perfect.  So I'm frogging and restitching as I go:

You can see how much better the blue looks.

Here's my Little Stitcher for April, Day of Trees:

And here are the latest 6 blocks on Spooky Countdown:

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! 

April Showers
What pieces can you find in your flood of WIPs that include water? Rivers, lakes, oceans, or rain (and anything that lives within).

This was a really tricky one, until Heather pointed out that snow is frozen water (so I could have The Little Stitcher 12 Days of Christmas included (see above for picture).

I also decided to include a piece which may not feature water but did produce water - tears!

Here it is:

This is the sampler I stitched for my friend's wedding last weekend.  The motifs come from various places.  The hearts are from Carton-Marie (I stitched the whole piece for my cousin's wedding last year).  "Love" is from Happiness is Cross Stitching.  M and D (their initials) are from iStitch's Mystery SAL and the butterfly is from a random download I've had in the file for ages (sadly no originating website on it).

This is the process to making something like this:

Remove the mount and cut out the blocks.

Use this as the template to place your stitching,

Finished stitching.

Lay the mount over the finished stitching.

Lay the frame over the mount and finished stitching.

Realise that the mount is so much smaller than the frame that it moves around and it is almost impossible to get all seven pictures centred and straight.  Cut the fabric up into smaller individual piece and mount each one separately.  Wonder why you didn't do that the first time!

ps the frame comes from QD - well-known discount homeware store in the UK.

Finally, here is something else which caused water this month, more tears of happiness:

I entered Justine's Giveaway because one of the prizes was a cute ladybird pillow she had stitched.  She sent me a parcel of silvery wrapped goodies.

The card is silver-grey too.  The booklet has some nice designs and I don't have this one because it came out after I stopped subscribing.  But look at the chart - Nora Corbett's Jo is for Jo (and Justine!).  I love this design and it was on my wish-list too.  So now to choose a fabric.  I asked my friends on FB whether I should go for a green or lilac colour.

One person said "contrast"
One person said "how about lilac & green (& a bit of blue)"
One person said "a solid colour"
One person said "a neutral cream"
and one person said "a pale blue or lilac"

Can you see why this is hard? LOL  I think an entire evening with The Viewer is called for.

Close-up of my lovely Ladybird pillow.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

TUSAL of Trees

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 Trees.  Here it is as part of my TUSAL photo:

The bag had the present from Martha in it and was too nice to put away!

And here is the close-up:

I made a few minor counting mistakes in this one, one tree-trunk is a stitch longer than the other and one tree is a stitch closer to the centre than the other.  But you wouldn't know it was wrong unless I told you!
The themes are working out nicely considering they are based on 12 Days in Winter (hence all the snow!).  This month is the Day of Trees and Laura recommends bringing evergreens into the house and decorating with a red ribbon.  Instead I went out into the garden and took a couple of photos:

The lilac hedge is mine but the blossom tree is my neighbour's.  I can see this from the dining table near my kitchen window and it is beautiful.

This next one is one of those conifers that the label says "reaches 5 foot within 10 years".  They don't mention what happens in the next ten years!!  This one must be over 10 feet tall.

Here are the first four Days of Christmas designs:

I have a new online collage-maker -  Apparently there is a collage-maker already installed within Picasa but I couldn't get it to work (the option was greyed out).  So I found this one. It's free and really easy to use.  So I experimented with a nice border for this one!

Finally, I have been stitching my owl for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL and I'm not happy with it.  I used the DMC conversion and the colour for the alphabet is all wrong for the fabric.  I stitched the tree and it still looks wrong so I feel a frogging session coming on!

I'm thinking dark navy?

Sunday 27 April 2014

April Just Nan SAL

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

This  month I stitched my Nan quota on another band sampler!!  This one belongs to Rachel and she said we could stitch anything we liked which went with the existing bands.  I chose the broader bands from Sweet Rememberance and the narrow bands from Cynthia's Sampler.  The charted colours from Sweet Rememberance worked well with a couple of tweaks.

These are my bands

And a diagonal shot: 

And this is the whole piece, taken in a different light.  It is very hard to get the colours quite accurate.
The fabric is Garden Princess by Sugar Maple Fabrics (in case you were wondering!)

I haven't managed any stitches on Winter Typography this month as I've been stitching a Wedding Sampler instead.  So that's it for Nan News.

However, there is more general news!  The results of the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.

Image from Katie Daisy
(and here's a link to her Etsy Shop - The Wheatfield)

The trick to the Mystery Phrase is to think of something that can be adjusted to fit the number of participants.  So I could have had Showers Bring Flowers if two more people had joined in, for example.  The actual phrase was 

Showers and Flowers

a very suitable phrase for this Spring so far!  As usual, there are two winners; one from the Picture Posters and one from the Hoppers.  With no further ado they are:


Jan from Thread Garden

Congratulations to them both.  There will be an Easter themed prize crawling it's way to you some time not very soon!!  I intend to get them in the mail before the chocolate expires and I'm forced to eat it myself.

Finally, the Large Boy and I had a bit of a bonding session last week, we built our first flat-pack together!  I am the Master of the Flat Pack in this house, I built the desk in the office all by myself, including the cupboards underneath it.  So here is our finished bookcase:

Those are all the books that were just lying around on the floor or piled on top of the existing book shelves!

And for AFLs here is a close-up of the top display
(AFL = Adult Fans of Lego)

What do you do to bond with your children?

Thursday 24 April 2014

A Non-Scheduled Post

More and more of my posts seem to be for one SAL or Activity or another these days.  Maybe it's because I sign up for so many?

Anyway, this is a little catch-up post on some things which don't fit into any of the SALs.

The first thing to show you is Finish Number 12 this year which was a gift for a blogging friend.  At the beginning of the year she posted her goals and hopes for 2014, one of which was "start a family". Immediately I thought "what can I stitch for that?" and started Googling fertility symbols. As well as alot of Earth Goddess, squatting women type stone carvings I found the Kokopelli

Isn't he cute?  He's a Native American fertility deity also associated with music (hence the pipe) and "an important conveyor of information and trinkets from afar, a Story Teller, par excellence".
Now doesn't he sound perfect for one blogger to stitch for another as a gift from overseas?  I found a lovely chart from Southwest Designs by Jenny Rasmussen.  It seems to be an old page and I can't find any other information or contact details for her.  Anyway, this is what I stitched up:

I stitched him on 32 count evenweave over 1 using a Jodyri Variegated thread called Peacock Feathers.
There are jellybabies wrapped in the bag.
The backing fabric is a velvet furnishing fabric sample.

The main focus of this month's stitching has been the Round Robin Band Sampler and my friend's Wedding Sampler but I also spent a week stitching on this design which was practically jumping out of the bag and yelling "Stitch Me!":

This is April Wordplay by With Thy Needle & Thread's Brenda Gervais.  I was sent this by Jenny from One Stitch Closer to Nirvana.  Jenny doesn't stitch or blog much at the moment because she has two adorable twin girls toddling around.  The best excuse for not stitching!

In the spirit of both Stitch from Stash and my WIPocalypse choices, I used a fabric sent to me by another blogger (Dulcinella, who also doesn't blog at the moment but I don't know why).  This is a 32 count lemon yellow fabric, stitched over one.  I converted the charted GAST to DMC but the colours were rather muddy (unlike the original GAST) so I just made my own colours up instead!  I used some nice 3000 greens for the lettering and a brighter red for the little trailer.  I also changed the word peeps to cheep because we don't have peeps here (I understand they are a type of sweet?).

The fabric isn't striped, they show through from the mount, but it's a good effect I am pleased with.

This is how I mounted the picture for my scrapbook using a nice piece of (recycled) Easter Egg ribbon round the edge:

I wondered if anyone would like to swap this chart for any of the other Wordplay series?  I have got January's Wordplay in my stash already but I would be happy to have any of the other months in exchange.  I figure if I get them one at a time they are more likely to actually get stitched!

Finally, there is still time to enter the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop (closes 27th April) and also the Scarlet Letter Years Bunny Hunt (also closes 27th April).

Sunday 20 April 2014

Stitch from Stash April 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-
March Budget
£ 15.00
March Spend
£   8.42-
£ 31.75

Goode Huswif Book of Spells
£   6.17-
Brightneedle Ezmeralda’s House
£   4.12-
Patricia Ann A Secret Garden
£   2.47-
Primitive Hare Cross Stitcher at Work
£   3.43-

£ 15.56
April Budget
£ 15.00
Available to carry forward to May
£ 30.56

Allowed purchases:
Jodyri Threads of Month Club : £ 5.54

New Starts from Stash: With Thy Needle & Thread April Word Play
WIPs and UFOs worked on: A Mon Ami Pierre Noel Blanc, Primitive Hare Spooky Countdown, The Little Stitcher 12 Days of Christmas.

The new charts came from Carin who announced she was selling some of her stash including some Hallowe'en charts.  I was very good and stuck to budget and she was kind enough to send a bonus chart too!  Here are all four charts:

The Book of Spells is the one I am most excited about, I have a number of finishing ideas for this one already!

I also gave into temptation for the Primitive Hare design Cross Stitcher at Work because she is running a competition for everyone who stitches this design, you can win fabrics and charts too.

I finished my part of the Round Robin I was stitching and mailed it off which meant I could move on to something else.  Nothing was calling loudly except a chart from my 14 in '14 - With Thy Needle & Thread April Wordplay, so I dug that out and found some suitable fabric.  It was then that I realised it was actually on last year's 13 not this year's 14!  Oh well, it's a lovely design and so close to being finished I'm not showing a proper photo just this blurry one to give the impression of my stitching!

The design is charted in GAST which I don't have so I converted them to DMC.  Unfortunately the DMC are rather muddy in comparison so I have changed most of the colours while still keeping them in a muted palette to fit the design.

Primitive Hare's Spooky Countdown is now up to Day 12:

Having finished the reindeer I have been stitching this white border on A Mon Ami Pierre's Noel Blanc:

And this is the third Day of Christmas from The Little Stitcher:

Finally, the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop started on Good Friday, all the letters are now up so you can hop around and discover the Mystery Phrase now if you haven't already done so.  I have enabled comment moderation for the duration of the competition so your comments containing the answer will not appear until after the end of the competition!

Please make sure there is a way of contacting you as more and more people are coming up as "no-reply" thanks to their Google Plus accounts.

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop
Click Bunny for shortcut to Treasure Hunt. 

Friday 18 April 2014

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop
Just Nan - Dewdrop Bunny

All you have to do is visit each of these blogs in order, note down the letter above the Easter / Spring themed pic and remember the short phrase they make up.  Come back here for the last letter and leave a comment saying what the phrase is.  I will select one person at random to win a small stitched prize.  I will also randomly select one of the Picture Posters to win a stitched prize too.

The trail starts with:

and then back here for this letter:


La Contesse - Easter Eggs

Comment moderation has been turned on for the duration of this competition which closes on the 27th April, 2014.
edit: any comments containing the answer will remain hidden until after the closing date!

San Man Easter photo DSC03602SanManEaster_zps7d560c61.jpg
San Man Originals - Easter

Finally , don't forget there is another Treasure Hunt going on at the Scarlet Letter Gallery.  

This Easter Bunny is hiding on 22 different Scarlet Letter samplers on our Gallery.  If you find him you can claim a 25% discount from that sampler.  Click on the bunny to find the full details.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

April WIPocalypse Stash Organisation


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 seven of the list.  Here is the current stitching status of each one:

Prairie Moon - Thine is the Trick and the Treat

Friends' Wedding Sampler

Primitive Hare - Spooky Countdown

Little Stitcher - 12 Days of Christmas

Just Nan - Winter Typography

A Mon Ami Pierre - Noel Blanc

Jannlynn - Gathering Honey

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

April 15     How do you keep your stash organized?

I don't have a dedicated craft room unfortunately, it's only a three bedroom house so there isn't a spare one for me to use.  I do have a large cupboard in the utility room which I have recently commandeered for storage.  I keep all my completed samplers in there while they are waiting for their turn on the walls, I like to rotate my displays.

My fabric is kept in bags, one for 28, one for 32 and one for "everything else".  I have a large bag full of all the charts people have sent me along with the extra little bits and the letters.  I always keep letters and cards as I love to re-read them and think of the person who gifted me the chart.

My DMC threads are kept in Floss-away bags on rings in numerical order.  I love these bags, you can fit several skeins of the same colour in each one, you can add the leftover lengths easily and you can see when you are running low of a colour.  When I stitch a large project I remove the bags and put them on a separate project ring.  For smaller projects I tend to leave them on the larger ring and just keep the whole bag near me.

My beads are partly in those stacking containers and partly in a little drawer unit I inherited last year.  I prefer the drawer unit so I will put all my new ones in there and not buy anymore containers.

My Kreinik are all in a box, as are my ribbons and cords, my backing fabrics are in another as are my buttons and charms.  These boxes are just random boxes I have collected, not co-ordinating at all!

My charts are in a wooden box except for my Just Nans which are all in one big envelope together.  My freebie printouts are in plastic wallets in one large folder.

That's about it!  I favour a "keep it close" method, if I use something alot I want it near me.  I don't want to go rummaging around for things in another room.  For this reason I keep most of my notes on paper and pen rather than the computer.  It's a shared computer in another part of the house so it's easier just to look in the notebook or diary next to my chair.  World of Cross Stitching magazine gives a diary as the cover gift each year so I use that as my stitching diary, all the SAL posting dates go in the back and I jot down which projects I stitch on each day and if I finish one what number it is.  Then I can keep my blog up to date.

I had a great response to my Blogaversary Giveaway.  I wrote all the ideas down on a piece of paper (without the commenter's name) and then showed it to the Large Boy.  We discussed the practicalities of each idea and which ones appealed to him the most.  In the end he wrote down three and I wrote down three, two were the same ones so we picked one of those as being the one most open to something weird and wonderful!  The winner is Miss Lilly from Back on the Wall who will be getting a Cheshire Cat themed finish at some point in the future.  It will be a little while because I have to do some shopping for it!  I have been browsing my favourite online shops already.

Thank you to everyone who entered and everyone who wished me a Happy Blogaversary.  It's been a fun three years and I fully intend to keep going for at least three more, or until the cute photos of me run out LOL.

Finally , I sent out the emails today for the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop which will be this Friday.  If you can't wait until then, there is another Treasure Hunt going on at the Scarlet Letter Gallery.  The Gallery is a project I worked on for a full six month, adding each of the Scarlet Letter samplers to the blog in alphabetical and categorised according to age and country etc.  I am currently adding difficulty ratings to each one.  This is a beautiful blog to visit and browse through.  We have versions of many of the SL stitched by the challenge group over the last year and some of Marsha's model samplers too.  Well worth a look if you love antique and reproduction samplers.

This Easter Bunny is hiding on 22 different Scarlet Letter samplers on our Gallery.  If you find him you can claim a 25% discount from that sampler.  Click on the bunny to find the full details.