Wednesday 3 September 2014

Win a Signed Magazine, Autographed by a Famous Person!

World of Cross Stitch magazine has been having a Blogger of the Month slot for some time now, just a little link and a few details about the person's blog.  Well, now Cross Stitch Collection has gone one better!  the actually interview their chosen blogger, ask for photos and feature them in their Meet the Online Stars column.  It's a new series so there have only been five people so far:

  Carol Stitching Dreams
  Heather Stitching Lotus
  Anne Doll's Musings
239       Zeb Keep Calm and Cross Stitch
  Jo Serendipitious Stitching

Yes, that's right, me!

I was contacted by a very nice journalist called Rachael who sent me some questions and asked for photos of me and my work.  The questions were easy enough, the standard questions which do the rounds of the blogosphere regularly; choosing photos of my work was harder - which pieces should I show?  Heather had already shown her Teresa Wenztler Dragon!  But choosing the photo of me was terrible!  I just do not have any decent recent pictures and the older pre-digital were not high definition enough for the magazine to use.  We went back and forth and the Large Boy took endless photos of me in different lights and places until we got the least bad one which is in the article.

The interview was edited (we get half a page which is very generous but you know how bloggers like to run on!) but here for you exclusively, is the full unexpurgated version:

Meet… Jo from Serendipitous Stitching

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a stitcher from the far east of England, married with two boys in Primary School.  I work as a bookseller and also run a Baby & Toddler Group as well as being part of the School PTA and the local NAS group.  I’d love to belong to a stitching group and would like to set one up in my town if only I had more time!

How/when did you fall in love with cross stitching?
Like many people, I made a Binca mat at school which I gave to my parents.  My Mum was a keen needleworker, cross stitch, tapestry and dress-making too.  However I didn’t really discover my love until I was an adult.  In 1993 I saw a friend stitching a Country Companions design and although the subject matter didn’t appeal I was rather impressed with the idea of making a picture onto a piece of plain fabric.  The local department store had a haberdashery section with some kits and I chose two small Anchor sampler kits to make.  They hooked me on the hobby straight away and I started to find out what else I could stitch.  My next project was on black aida and the one after that was a gorgeous Chinese Dragon which used gold metallic thread.  You can see I dived straight in at the deep end!

What's your biggest stitching disaster or biggest challenge?
Apart from the occasional attack of the frogs (where you make a mistake and have to “rip-it, rip-it, rip-it” out) I have not had any major disasters.  I do enjoy a challenge, I love stitching over 1 on 28 count evenweave or higher counts, I like the more delicate effect this gives.  I like to design my own samplers too.  The one area I do find difficult is “finishing”, ie making the stitching into something.  I have learned a lot of useful techniques from my fellow bloggers who post tutorials online.  Probably the most challenging finish is Drac in a Box by Acorn House Designs.  My friend Sharon from Shebafudge blog challenged me to stitch this one with her so we could learn the techniques together.  The box itself was easier than I thought but the little figure was a challenge!  On the way we made friends with Susan the designer who cheered us on to completion.

Do you have a particular piece you're most proud of/is particularly special?
I was stitching a Lavender and Lace design called Angelica when my Nana passed away so that one will always have a place on my wall.  
DSC01828Angelica.jpg Lavender & Lace Angelica

The most special pieces are ones I no longer have, because I love to stitch Birth and Wedding samplers.  I love to find a suitable design for the family and amend it to personalise it and make it perfect for them.  I also like to change designs to make them unique.  The Joan Elliott Christmas Angel I adapted to fit into a multi-frame is one which has featured in your magazine and also received a comment from Joan herself on Facebook.  It is an amazing feeling when the designers comment on your work and they like what you have done.

DSC02117BlueTilefloral.jpg Blue Tile Floral

What's your advice for stitchers with lots of WIPS?
Stitch what makes you happy.  Some people like a strict rotation, others are happier OAAT (one at a time).  My current rotation is 3 small challenges per month, one sampler I stitch one length of thread each day and one larger project, usually an obligation piece for a wedding, birth or round robin.  This way I always have a choice of projects so I don’t get bored with the same one.  I also have regular finishes to encourage me while still making steady progress on the large sampler. 

Why did you start your blog?
So I could join in with the TUSAL!  Regular bloggers will already know that the Totally Useless Stitch A Long is where we save the ends of our thread into a jar each and post a photo each month, just for fun and to connect with other stitchers.  But seriously, I wanted to talk about my projects and share information with other stitchers in a way that you can’t on forums or FB.  I belonged to three forums and noticed people had links in their signatures to their blog.  I started to “follow” a few of these and very soon wanted my own.  I now have my main blog and my Happy Dance blog which is a chronological record of every single piece I have stitched (currently over 400 pieces!).  I also run some group blogs which are a great way to connect with people.
What sort of things do you most like to stitch?
My top two types of stitching would have to be Fantasy designs and samplers.  I love traditional samplers especially learning about the history behind them.  Earlier this year some of the Scarlet Letter bloggers had a vist to the V&A museum in London for a private viewing of their sampler collection.  It was incredibly inspiring.
I love the fantasy designs by Nora Corbett, Joan Elliott and Teresa Wenztler too.  Since discovering the online world I also have discovered a whole world of Hallowe’en stitching and run a Hallowe’en group blog too.
But if I was forced to choose just one topic to stitch for the rest of my life it would have to be Dragons!

Anything you’d like to add?
One of the most popular features of my blog is the regular Blog Hops.  I host five a year; Valentine’s Secret Stitching Sweetheart, Easter Treasure Hunt, Summer Postcard, Hallowe’en Treasure Hunt and the Advent Calendar.  Each one is slightly different but the end result involves hopping round lots of different blogs all posting on the same theme.  It’s a great way to discover new blogs and learn a bit more about people you already follow.  At the moment we are sending photos of our stitching on a Garden theme for the Summer Postcard Hop.
I also like to discover and promote less well-known designers.  As well as the Big Three named above, I am a huge fan of The Little Stitcher, Snowflower Diaries and Primitive Hare, all of whom feature heavily in my current collection of WIPs.

Cross Stitch Collection sent me a complimentary copy of the magazine but of course I already have my subscription copy so I said I would give it to one of my loyal followers.  Autographed of course!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post saying which one of the designs in this issue you would most like to stitch.  (NB NOT the designs illustrating my interview but the ones in the following contents pages)

I did have to laugh when I saw the front cover of the magazine with the large picture of the Barn Owl, because a Barn Owl is officially my worst project ever.  I am so glad I didn't mention it in the article!  have a look at this to see why - Barn Owl

You have until 10th September to leave a comment.  Make sure I can contact you, if you are "no-reply" then email me with your email after you have left your comment.  Obviously you have to be a follower in order to be a loyal follower LOL.

Finally, the Summer Postcard Blog Hop is now completed!  Sixteen postcards were sent out to fifteen bloggers because I sent mine to Krista as well as the one from Astrid.  We both had visited and stitched Clovelly in Devon.

First postcard from Marcy goes to Gracie at Needles,Pins and Dragonflies
Second postcard from Krista goes to Jocondine at Jocondine
Third postcard from Michelle goes to Sharon at Shebafudge
Fourth postcard from Mouse goes to Vickie at A Stitcher's Story
Fifth postcard from Christine goes to Marcy at Stitching Plus
Sixth postcard from Astrid goes to Krista at Just Stitching Along
Seventh postcard from Vickie goes to Michelle at Michelle's StitchCraft Place
Eighth postcard from Jocondine goes to Deborah at A Patchwork of Crafts
Ninth postcard from Gracie goes to Maggee at Stitching Devotee
Tenth postcard from Deborah goes to Heather at It's Geek to Me
Eleventh postcard from Maggee goes to Mouse at Tales of a Stitching Mouse
Twelfth postcard from Sharon goes to Kaye at Kitten Stitching
Thirteeth postcard from Kaye goes to Astrid at Dragon Stitches and Stuff
Fourteenth postcard from Heather goes to Chiara at The Grey Tail
Final postcard from Chiara goes to Christine at The Alchymyst's Study

I hope you have all enjoyed hopping around the blogs this summer.  The links all go to the exact post so please do visit if you have missed any.  I have a theme for next year already and I'm also thinking about the Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Hop, sign-ups coming soon.


Vickie said...

Neato Jo! Good for you. I will pass on the signed copy. ;) No offense please. I just don't see a pattern that jumps out at me, and I want someone who will stitch from it to get it! Loved reading more about you, my famous friend. ;)

Anna van Schurman said...

Great interview. Of course, I'm sure they chopped out the best bits. ;) I think the hot water bottle cover would be the design I would most likely stitch, for an inlaw of course since in American we just turn up the heat. ;)

Suz said...

Huge congrats for being famous!

And no worries here about winning or losing, I would not use that magazine :)

Unknown said...

Well done you! I will pass on the mag as I'm a subscriber too but am very chuffed for you. My famous friend :-)

jocondine said...

Félicitations ! Great post, very interesting, I choose NOAH's arch, like always arch patterns. xxx

Michelle said...

Congratulations Jo what a lovely thing to be contacted. I would love to be in the draw - I don't tend to buy the magazines anymore as I have more charts than I could ever hope to stitch x

Beth said...

Congratulations Jo - Well deserved as you are a very active stitcher and blogger.

Margie said...

I love the birds shown on page 18, but I must confess I'm most interested because I've never indulged in a cross stitch magazine (new to stitching) and would love to see what they cover. I'm a Feedly follower, so hopefully you can verify that follow. Congrats on the write up!

Jacqueline Morris said...

OMG!! OMG!! I dont get this magazine and now kind of wishing I do!! I would of loved to of seen your interview ... Thank You for posting it. Your comments are brilliant...I would of been jumping up and down screaming with excitement saying I know you!! ha ha
Its fantastic what you did, you must feel really proud and happy to of been chosen... Go You!!!
I would love to win a signed copy... lol and oooh I was going to say the owl... but that would not go down too well I imagine! So the little stitching bits... under the lovely owl!
Smiles :)

KimM said...

Oh my gosh! How wonderful for you!!! I'm sure you feel honored and proud to have been chosen. I would love to win a signed copy.
Best wishes -

Unknown said...

Congrats for being chosen for the magazine, that's just so cool!

Rhona said...

Congratulations on being picked! I loved reading your answers and finding out a bit about you. I'd probably choose the hot water bottle cover design to stitch as that's something I would certainly use...I'm always cold in the winter. Congrats again!

Stitching Noni said...

Congratulations! Well deserved :o)
Can't wait to get the mag and have a read!! And even better if it's a signed one (probably get to Aus before the newsagent gets it in - we are about 3 months behind in receiving the UK & US mags!)
I'm not sure which one I would I would stitch - probably Noah's Ark - it is so cute :o)
Hugs xx

Unknown said...

Congratulations! I'd probably stitch the owl one because it's so cute! I so wanna read this now! No one in my town sells recent magazines, if I want one I have to drive 3 hours!

Mouse said...

welll blow me down with a feather ... we have quite a few famouse stitching friends ..:) love the interview
and it has to be the lovely stitchy bits and bobs I would stitch first followed by the bird(s) which I know some one who would love them :) love mouse xxxxx

Miss Lilly said...

Ahhh that's nice so cool! Congrats :D

Christine said...

You superstar you! Congratulations

Thoeria said...

Congrats on getting published - it really is such a treat seeing bloggers I follow get into the mags!

CalamityJr said...

What a great interview! Everyone will want to know you now. Such a varied collection. I was going to choose Live Love Laugh, but then I saw the stitching accessories, and then - kaboom, it hit me! I saw the song birds, and that was all I needed to see :). I've never stitched a really, really BAP, so after I retire I want to start 27 Birds (Artecy), and of course they'll need some other feathered friends! Thanks for sharing your fame.

Mii Stitch said...

Congratulations!! You fully deserve it ;)

Preeti said...

Congrats, Jo!!:) It is so nice a feeling to get interviewed.
I enjoyed reading your answers. I did not know about your other blogs until now. 400 pieces!! That's great!!
I wish to stitch the landscape on page 31. Please count me in.

Brenda said...

WOW!!! Congratulations hon!!! I do follow your blog and would LOVE to enter your contest.

I would do the project on page 44. That is such a cute small pincushion that looks wonderful to stitch up.

So yes.....please count me in also!!

Justine said...

I already subscribe to this but just wanted to say congratulations! I really enjoyed reading more about your stitching and thanks for posting the full interview as they had cut out some interesting bits! I am going to leave the magazine lying around the house now and if anyone comments I can just say casually "Oh yeah, I know Jo..." Friend of the famous indeed!

Shebafudge said...

Congratulations Little Miss Famous! They couldn't have picked a better blogger to feature :)

Of course, I now feel like Mike from Monsters Inc. I got a mention!!! Woohoo!

Great feature on you and your stitching.

xstitchatoz said...

Wow, I`m saying this like one celeb to another - congrats! ;) A superb interview and you&your blog fully deserve to be featured. I also get complimentary copies (although not this one, trust my luck not to have anything in this issue, even though I lurve the Maria Diaz landscape) so I`ll let others have a chance to win, esp. those in America and Australia who have to wait months - maybe Collection still has that summer sale on the digital subscriptions? Dunno. I`ll have a Christmas 3-parter coming up in the next 3 issues, I`ll look out for this new feature, sounds like a fab way to find great blogs :)

Kaisievic said...

Jo, I am so thrilled for you, what a wonderful article. So full of warmth and just you! I would love to win this mag, not only because you are in it but because it is becoming impossible to get these mags regularly in Australia now. I have two designs from the mag I would like to stitch: the Riverside retreat on p.31 and the sewing accessories on p.44. I am going to go check out your Barn Owl and the postcard blog hop now. Congratulations and hugs, Kaye

Linda said...

Congratulations Jo. That is awesome. I enjoyed reading more about you. I would love a chance to win the magazine. I would love to stitch #31.


Annette-California said...

Congratulations Jo! How exciting. I enjoyed reading more about you:)
love Annette

Mrs Milkybar Kid said...

That is so cool Jo - congratulations!

Dani - tkdchick said...

So awesome! Congratulations on being featured! That would be sooo cool!

Ewa said...

Congratulations, Jo! That's wonderful! A well-deserved well-earned award. Loved reading your answers, too!

Good thing I've kept all the notes you sent since you're a celebrity now :)

And if I were to stitch any of the designs, I'd say it would be the pillow with the birds on it.

Happy stitching!

Susan said...

That is great!! And thank you for posting the interview. I'll pass on the give-away (not that I wouldn't love to read it, but the postage over here is crazy).

Giovanna said...

Congrats on being featured! I'd love to be in the draw, please - I think the two little birds are my favourite.

Kathy H said...

Congratulations. You must be so excited. I would like to make the birds. I always admire any bird stitching.

Julie said...

Congrats to you Jo!

The Crafty Princess said...

OMG Jo that is awesome, what a great honour. You're one of the most famous people I know now! Congrats it's a great story I really enjoyed it.
xox Alicia