Friday 31 July 2015

Blue Moon WIPocalypse and D.E.S.I.G.N. SAL

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "15 in '15"which are 15 charts I want to stitch in 2015 (following on from my "11 in '11", "12 in '12", "13 in '13" and "14 in '14" - imaginative, eh?)
Over the last month I have stitched only one of my 15 designs.  Oh dear, not good!  As you will see from the Pie Chart at the bottom of this post Hope took up a disporportionate amount of this month!

Stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

The one that I did stitch was the letter W from The Hallowe'en Cubes by Primitive Hare.

Measi always sets us a topic of discussion and for the second Full Moon of July we have the following topic:

July – It’s a blue moon today. Show us your favourite WIP that features a lot of blue!

Not too much blue going on but I do have the London Eye from Pretty Little London, so here's another look at that one:

Stitched on 32 count Antique White evenweave.



The idea of this Blog Hop is to choose a different designer each month and do a post focusing on a piece of their work you have stitched on during the month.  The hosts of D.E.S.I.G.N ask us to answer a few questions on our chosen designer.

1. What designer are you talking about this month?

Brooke Nolan of Brooke's Books.  Here is the piece I started working on this week:

I'm going to be a little bit mean and not tell you anything more about it until tomorrow!

2. Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

Yes.  I have completed three and have another WIP from the DUCJC which I aim to finish this year.  The first two designs I completed were part of Brooke's Cake of the Month freebie series:



The plan, as ever was to stitch the whole series!

The third finish was in JCS Hallowe'en 2013 and I converted her into a Vampire rather than the Bat Witch Brooke had designed:

3. Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again?  Why/Why not?

Definitely!  Here is my current WIP, Trixie the Hallowe'en Witch:

I have a whole series of these witches bought in a clearance sale.  Plus of course, all the freebies she so generously gives us on her website - Freebies!  That links to page 2 where you can find all the adorable Advent Animals.  I am still considering stitching that series too.  

4. What made you choose this particular design/designer?

Brooke uses lovely bright cartoony colours and adds lots of details to her designs.  They are mostly stitched using whole stitches only as many are designed for perforated paper.  She does like to use beads and also memory thread to embellishment her designs.  I am always drawn to a series of designs which is why I started the cakes in the first place.  They came from her Yahoo group which I am not sure if it is still running or not.  She has a FB page if you want to enquire there.

5. Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others?

I mentioned the perforated paper earlier.  Several of Brooke's designs have a 3D effect made by layering different elements of the design using separate pieces of the paper.  You can also see in the cover photo of Trixie that she has used strands of thread for the broom too.

She does likes her holidays and celebrations so if you head over to her website you can see some of the varied designs she has for sale.  I particularly like the Bride's Tree range and the wonderful tradition behind the designs.  And the Wizard of Oz collection.  And the Alice in Wonderland collection!


Finally, a pie chart for July.  You can see how much time Hope too, considering it was not a large design.  I only keep a note of how many days I stitch each design, not the number of hours though.  So maybe they were shorter days!

Wednesday 29 July 2015

July Smalls SAL

Stitching Lotus Ornament SAL
The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I am going to have two monthly challenges:

1. The Primitive Hare Hallowe'en Cubes SAL
2. The Hallowe'en Ornie SAL themed blog.

Here is my W block which is not quite finished:

Stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

The theme for July on the Hallowe'en Blog was Haunted Houses.  There have been some great finishes this month and here is mine:

This is A Little Hallowe'en House from the JCS 2013 Hallowe'en Special designed by Jamie Kile of Knotted Tree NeedleArt.  I choose a nice muddy green for the fabric.  It's a 32count linen called Dark Reed Green from Willow Fabrics.  I used the recommended DMC conversion with a couple of minor changes.  I blended two shades of purple for the house rather than use a variegated thread.

I don't enjoy stitching plain borders and this had a double row of plain stitches.  So I changed them to extra large Xs stitched over four threads instead of two.  Then I changed the corner blocks to twelve-legged eyelets instead of plain Xs.  They look a little web-ish to me.

I have just realised that I haven't added the chimney pots!  Oops, back to the needles for me.

Another Little project I've been stitching every Tuesday is Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street.  I am plodding away around the London Eye at the moment:

Stitched on 32 count Antique White linen.

Linda likes these partial shots because it looks like we are the same stage as each other LOL.

Heather did suggest we might like to stitch a "Christmas in July" small which I thought was a great idea what with the launch of Kaye's new Christmas Ornie Blog and Claire's Joy Ornie Collection too.  Unfortunately I just ran out of time!  So we will just have to have Christmas in August instead.

Another word for Small is Mini.  Lynn B from Happiness is Cross Stitching has been designing several Mini Cats for some time now and this year has been posting a free monthly themed Mini Cat each month.  They have been so popular that she has set up a special blog just for them.  So if you like Mini Cats why not pop over to The Mini Cat Blog and admire Peggie's 27 finishes!  I've posted my one and only finish which is the Valentine Cat:

Finally, the Summer Postcard Blog Hop.  Five cards have been sent and posted online so far with another one due to go out this week.  You can see them all here:

First postcard from Cheryl goes to Noni at Fireflies and Cats in the Garden
Second postcard from Vickie goes to Katie at Jeremiah's Mom
Third postcard from Noni goes to Julie at Julie's Stitchyknitter Journal
Fourth postcard from Katie goes to Anna at Stitch Bitch
Fifth postcard from Julie goes to Bea at Thoughts and Musings

Saturday 25 July 2015

First Week of the Summer Holidays

and of course, we have had steady and heavy rain since yesterday lunchtime!

The Large Boy is at High School (age 11+ here) and they broke up at 1pm last Friday while the Small Boy lucked out and didn't finish until Wednesday afternoon.  So we took advantage of the time together and went on a Dragon Hunt!  Norwich is our nearest city and one I know well as I worked there for 17 years pre-children.  They have had a couple of these hunts before (Elephants and Gorillas) and this year it was Dragons.  More information can be found here but essentially there are 84 large dragon sculptures dotted around the city.  Each one is decorated by a different person to a different theme.  You visit each one and collect a letter or symbol which then spells out a message.  Sounds rather like my Hallowe'en and Easter Blog Hops!

They are also selling postcards and here is a collection of our favourites:

The bottom left was made by the staff at John Lewis (department store) and is lots of small fabric pieces embellished with buttons.  I'm going to go back and take some decent photos of it later in the holiday.  The bottom right is entirely covered in 2p coins, plus a few 5p and pennies.

It was a good thing that the Small Boy finished later in the week because I was still beading the final teacher gift on Tuesday evening!  Hope was beset with a plague of frogs.  At times it felt like Pandora's Box where I had to fight through all the winged nasties until I found Hope at the bottom!  Here it is all framed to match Believe:

Hope by Joan Elliot - from the Bewitching book

stitched on 28 count Robin's Egg Opalescent by Silkweavers

The Small Boy's school is a little unusual in that the children don't change teacher every year, quite often they do two years with the same teacher.  So I didn't realise last year that he would be moving up a class until it was too late to stitch anything!  So this year I was more prepared.  Believe is for his current teacher and Hope is for the teacher he had in Nursery and Reception.  I didn't see them because Hubby does the school run but he said both teachers were incredibly touched by their gifts.

I did see the teachers at his other school though, the Kingfisher Class.  They had a little leaving ceremony for him which was lovely.  All the children in the class had made a huge card with drawings of each of them and they let him choose his favourite song for them all to sing.  Then I gave them the Kingfisher picture.  One child was nominated to open it and they all craned over - "It's a picture of you", "it's a bird", "it's a kingfisher"  "IT'S US, WE'RE KINGFISHERS".  You can imagine how excited this made a bunch of five year olds!

The Headmaster had been watching all this and then the Chair of the PTA appeared with gifts for me!  A framed photo of the class (including the Small Boy) and a lovely engraved pen to thank me for all my hard work over the last 9 years.  That was unexpected!  We don't usually make a lot of fuss when people leave because it happens regularly as children grow up so it was nice to be appreciated.  I think she's keeping me sweet in case she needs to pick my brain in future LOL

So, end of an era there.

With all the busyness, I didn't stitch much of Pretty Little London, just some blue in the London Eye:

stitched on 32 count antique white linen

The last two days have been dedicated to Hallowe'en Ornie SAL blog's July theme which was Haunted Houses:

This is a Knotted Tree design from JCS Ornie Special 2013

I'll show a close-up and more details when I finish it, which won't be long now.

Many of you know that I have been very involved with the Scarlet Letter Year blog set up to celebrate Nicola's special birthday a couple of year ago.  Later this Summer a group of the stitchers are meeting up at the Cotswold Manor House which houses the Fellers' collection of samplers.  There is still room for a couple more people.  The trip is on Wednesday 26th August and costs £30 including a lovely buffet lunch.  If you are interested then send me and email and I'll pass your details on to Nicola.  More information about the collection can be found on Needleprint's blog.

Finally, the Summer Postcard Blog Hop.  Four cards have been sent and posted online so far with a fifth today.  You can see them all here:

First postcard from Cheryl goes to Noni at Fireflies and Cats in the Garden
Second postcard from Vickie goes to Katie at Jeremiah's Mom
Third postcard from Noni goes to Julie at Julie's Stitchyknitter Journal
Fourth postcard from Katie goes to Anna at Stitch Bitch
Fifth postcard from Julie goes to Bea at Thoughts and Musings

Monday 20 July 2015

July Stitch from Stash and IHSW

Month: July
Spent:   £ 7.75
Earned: £ 0.00

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!

July Budget
£ 15.00
JCS Hallowe’en Special mag
£   7.75
Current Balance
£   7.25

A good start to Part B.  I did have some money left over after my SFS June post and as my Willow Fabrics voucher from Cross Stitch Collection had finally been sorted out I decided to treat myself to some useful fabric.

We have some 35 count Country Mocha linen on the left, some 32 count White Murano on the right and behind them an enormous piece of 28 count Campari Linen Raw afghan.  I have no idea what I am going to do with this, it's huge but was a bargain £6.25 for an entire metre!  I thought about using it for the Primitive Hare Christmas Cubes and make a wall hanging but it's going to be rather large!  Seems a shame to cut it up into smaller pieces but we shall see,

The JCS Hallowe'en magazine is a good buy as usual.  There do seem to be rather more larger pieces than ornies this issue.  I prefer ornies.  My instant favourites are the Blue Ribbon Designs, she has two in this issue.  I will try do a proper review with photos soon.

Since it was IHSW weekend  I stitched some more of Elizabeth Shephard:

stitched on 30 count linen

Close-up of this weekend's motif: 

I have also been chugging away slowly on Book of Spells:

stitched on 40 count Jewel Butterbeer linen

I am filling in the moon with DMC 4130 which is slow going stitching over 1.

I have nearly finished Joan Elliott's Hope despite the attack of the frogs!  I found another miscount when I started stitching the sparkles but that one doesn't show so it is staying.

Finally, on to the Summer Postcard Blog Hop where the theme is Pets.  I've just sent the fouth card out but there's still plenty of time to join in.  Just send me an email with a photo of something you have stitched on the theme of Pets and a message about what pets mean to you.  The fourth postcard has been sent out to Anna The Stitch Bitch, so go and stalk her blog as it will be appearing there soon.

Thursday 16 July 2015



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.

Here is my ORTS jar posing with the current stitching project:

And here is July's project by itself:

Stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

This is Satsuma Street's Pretty Little London, my Tuesday SAL.  I haven't stitched on this one since May when I switched to Pretty Mini London on black.  I have mounted Mini for my scrapbook now:

and here's a better photo than the last post:

Finally, on to the Summer Postcard Blog Hop where the theme is Pets.  So far it seems that stitchers love their cats!  I do have some other animals too and it would be nice to have some more, there's still plenty of time to join in. The third postcard has been sent out to Julie of Julie's Stitchyknitter Journal, so go and stalk her blog as it will be appearing there soon.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness July Link-Up Post

  Gifted Gorgeousness

For newbies, this is my first year long SAL.  Click on the picture above for the full details.

We will be posting and linking up on the 15th of each month, because it is 2015.  Should be easy to remember.

Over the last month I stitched some more Elizabeth Shephard which was a gift from Nicola:

stitched on 30 count linen using AVAS silks

I completed January Wordplay by With Thy Needle & Thread which was a gift from Shirlee, the recently moved stitcher:

stitched over 1 on 32 count Star Sapphire linen

And I framed three pieces which I had previously completed: 

Mill Hill Frosted Heather Rose, 
a gift from Rosey now gifted on to Christine

Anchor Kingfisher
a gift for the Small Boy's school

Joan Elliott Believe
a gift for the Small Boy's other school!

And now over to you - Here is the place for you to link up so we can see what Gifted Gorgeousness you have been stitching so far this year.  Please use your name or your blog name in the field NOT the words "July Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month.  
And link to the actual post, not just your blog.  People are still getting this wrong!
Thank you.  I can amend links if you make a boo-boo though.



Last month we have a GGGG (Gifted Gorgeousness Giveaway by Gwen!).  The lovely Gwen from Guava Gems said to me that she had some charts she'd like to donate for giveaways.  I was very happy to facilitate and sent her my address.  Well, an entire box arrived!!  I selected six very varied charts (because it is the sixth month of the year) and asked people to choose their two favourites.  The winners were drawn by the random number generator used in conjunction with a complicated spreadsheet!  They are:

Congratulations to those three and commiserations to those who did not win this month.  But, don't despair, we have another giveaway!!  This one is sponsored by the lovely Kay from Stitching in the Country and is a Dimensions kit called Potting Shed, seen below:

So if you are interested just link up for GG as usual and leave a comment saying "please include me in the draw" or some such phrase.

Finally, I disovered a new-to-me company called Patience Brewster.  They make the most delightful quirky ornaments and are keen to celebrate Christmas in July.  They are offering a prize draw for anyone who links up to this event.  It is primarily an Instagram thing but I believe you can also enter by making a blog post and emailing them.  So check out the blog and the website and if any of the Hallowe'en themed items fall into your basket, don't forget to add my address!

This cake plate!
Without cake if you are posting from overseas!

Friday 10 July 2015

Morris Dancing for Mini London!

A traditional English dance for the most famous English city - That London!

Pretty Mini London is a Satsuma Street design I have been stitching every Tuesday for the last seven weeks along with Linda and Kate.  This design was one of three which featured in Cross Stitch Crazy magazine issue 202.

Here are my weekly stitching photos plus a big one of the finished piece:

stitched on 28 count black evenweave

And here are the real life landmarks just for comparison:
The Gherkin
The London Eye
A London Bus
The Houses of Parliament Clock Tower (Big Ben is the bell, not the clock!)
Tower Bridge
St. Paul's Cathedral
Some Trees.

The tree image bottom right is a fascinating one.  I just googled "London Trees" and there it was.  You may have spotted that while it appears to be a shot of some trees looking up, the sky actually forms the outline of the River Thames!  It is the work of a photographer called Julian Wolkenstein.  Check out his website, there are some interesting photos there.

Having finished Mini London I started on another project for school.  Due to me making an assumption last year, I thought my son was staying with the same teacher for another year so I didn't stitch anything for her.  Making that right this year!

Stitched on 28 count Robin's Egg opalescent evenweave by Silkweavers

And here is today's picture:

Colour is more vibrant because it's a scanned picture not a photograph.

And yes, there is a gap at the bottom of the loop!  I miscounted and tried to fudge it but the loop just didn't look right so I'm reluctantly frogging and restitching.

So, here we are in the middle of the Summer heat and I'm reading through my Feedly Blog reader when I spot a post by Kaye, all about Christmas!  She has decided to start a Christmas Ornie SAL Blog.  There used to be one but the admin didn't continue with it so Kaye has picked up the baton (cracker?) and has started a new one.  You can find it by clicking this festive picture:

Kaye has chosen some themes for the rest of this year:

August -          Mr and/or Mrs Santa
September -    Christmas Tree/ Presents
October -        Angels/Nativity
November -    Snowflakes/ Snowman/ Wintry scene
December -    free choice

So if you want to be involved just pop over and drop Kaye an email at the address provided.

Finally, back to this season and the Summer Postcard Blog Hop where the theme is Pets.  So far it seems that stitchers love their cats!  I do have some other animals too and it would be nice to have some more, there's still plenty of time to join in. The second postcard has been sent out to Katie AKA Jeremiah's Mom, so go and stalk her blog as it will be appearing there soon.

Saturday 4 July 2015

The Alphabet Club

It's the first Saturday of the month, so it's time for detention!

"They only met online, but it changed their lives forever"

I think most of you know the lovely enigmatic Chiara who blogs at The Grey Tail?  We were chatting via email a while back and between us came up with the idea of an A-Z language challenge.  We batted some ideas around and are calling it the The Alphabet Club.  Chiara has the full details on that link but basically she will post a link-up post on the first Saturday of each month (Saturday being detention day in the film) starting with the letter A and we will all link up with A themed things, from stitching to designers and local customs.

Now there was a vote on Chiara's blog as to whether we would start in July or August, and August won the vote.  So I thought I would start a month early, but not with A.  I toyed with the idea of inventing a new letter or maybe using a symbol but then thought I would go for the Entire Alphabet, yes, all of it.  In other words - Alphabet Samplers I have stitched.  So here are just a few...

A little tiny one from a cross stitch magazine back in 1995

Blue Sampler, started by my Mum and finished by me in 1995

Spooky Hallowe'en from Better Homes & Gardens book of Alphabets and Borders.
Stitched in 1996

Another tiny from a cross stitch book, stitched in 1999

Sampler for the Large Boy, chart from a library book.
Stitched while pregnant in 2002

Freebie from Vavi
Stitched on 40 count linen in 2012

A Dark Alphabet
Free design from  Note of Friendship 
Stitched over 1 on 28 count tea dyed evenweave in 2011-12

Turquoise ABC Sampler from Cross Stitcher 249
Stitched on 32count evenweave in 2012
Birth sampler for my friend with her two children's names added

Scarlet Letter - Elizabeth Burrows 1725
Stitched on 35 count SL linen
Using Olde Willow and DMC

This sampler was stitched as part of the Scarlet Letter Year challenge to celebrate Nicola Parkman's 50th Birthday in 2013

The Little Owl Sampler by Knotted Tree Needleart from the Just Cross Stitch Hallowe'en Ornie Special 2012.  Stitched in 2014

So, there we have it!  A wide selection of alphabets for you to enjoy.  Of course, several of my samplers have an alphabet somewhere within them but I wanted to show those where the alphabet is the main focus of the piece.

To finish off I will show a year long project I completed in 2013, the JBW Alphabet Kitties:

I chose a different fabric and thread colour for each month and finished them into a little ornie embellished with a suitable charm.

Finally, the cat pictures bring us nicely to the Summer Postcard Blog Hop where the theme is Pets.  So far it seems that stitchers love their cats!  I do have some other animals too and it would be nice to have some more. The first postcard has been sent out to Stitching Noni, so go and stalk her blog as it will be appearing there soon.