Saturday 30 April 2016

Spring Has Sprung, The Grass Has Riz

I wonder where the boidie is?

The Boidies is on the sampler!

Little Fat Blue Boid

Hiding Bunny Wappit and another Blue Boid

The whole piece!

Spring Typography by Just Nan is now a finished piece.  I stitched this on 32 count Dark Reed Green linen from Willow Fabrics using the recommended DMC and DMC conversions.  I recharted the animals to be over one as per the previous two Typography samplers.  I am particularly pleased with how the little fat birds came out compared to the over two versions.

I also followed the pattern of the previous two Typographys to change one of the words.  We had Awesome Autumn and Winter Wonder.  Can you spot the Spring change?

I'm currently painting a frame for this so I can get it on display while Spring is still here.

Everyone seemed to like my latest start, another Just Nan design but a spooky one this time.  Scream Girls is now a quick finish!

stitched on 32 count Mid Green linen

I'm going to pop this one in the printer and try scanning it to get a better picture.  The green from the previous photo was much more realistic.

I was smiling when I stitched this one because of the title - Scream Girls.  How do we know the ghosties are girls?  They look just like all of Nan's other ghosties apart from one thing - eyelashes!  Yes, in the world of cartoons, eyelashes signify female.  Male characters do not have eyelashes.  Don't believe me?  Check out the exhaustive investigation done by The Malcontented Mother.

And what do two finishes mean?  Time for another start!!  I did debate over this one, whether to have another start or continue on with Little Snowy Silver/Gray Cottage and then I thought "It's the Fifth Friday in my Four Weekly rotation so it's a bonus week, let's go for the new start."

stitched on 28 count burgundy linen

The photo is rather blurry because that was the only way to get the colour accurate!  Trust me to pick another hard-to-photograph fabric.  This is going to be Ornament Number One from Teresa Wentzler's Byzantine Ornaments Collection.   Heather Silver Lotus is stitching these for her smalls this year which was my inspiration to start them too.  Typical TW, there are two lots of blended colours in here already and a lot of fractionals too.  This is all the cross stitching, the rest will be speciality stitches.  I am also thinking of adding metallic backstitch to bling it up a little.

I did stitch on Little Snowy Gray Cottage earlier this week and here is where I am now:

stitched on 32 count Blue Hydrangea opalescent from Crafty Kitten

Little bit more hedge on the right and the same amount of hedge and wall on the left side.  Some Blue Rays as snowflakes and fallen snow and then the beading!

I have put together my usual Pie Chart for the month's stitching but realised that I hadn't included my Stitching Spend last month.  So here is March and April.

Just Cross Stitch subs £ 30.73


365 motifs book £   4.50
EBay Fabric £ 13.71
Discworld Map £ 37.00
Hallowe'en Happiness
Dragon Alphabet
£   5.20
£   6.87
Mill Hill beads
32 Belfast Pink Fabric
JN Hallow'en Chart
£   1.35
£ 12.95
£   5.39

Total for April - £ 86.97   Good job I am not doing Stitch from Stash this year!

The 365 motifs book, the eBay fabric and the first two charts were impulse buys because they were bargains!  The Imaginating Hallowe'en chart will do for the Hallowe'en Blog next year and the Dragon Alphabet for the Alphabet Club when I finish the Stitcher's Alphabet.  Nothing like planning ahead!

The Discworld Map was unmissable at 20% off introductory offer and is an investment! 

The beads I need for the Brooke's Book's Stitcher's Alphabet and the pink fabric is for Summer Typography which a little kookaburra tells me is my Birthday present this year.  All I needed from SewandSo was the beads but you can't waste postage on that so I thought I'd spend some of my overtime money on fabric and another JN chart for the collection! 

Finally - Time for Pie.  Fairly predictably Nora Corbett dominates the chart again with Just Nan coming second:

Thursday 28 April 2016

April Smalls SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I have two Small Challenges:

For the Hallowe'en Blog I have done something a little different this year, I've chosen a band sampler by Just Nan called Counting Bats and each band corresponds to the monthly themes on the blog.  April's theme was Ghosts and I stitched this band:

Here is the whole piece so far:

stitched on 32 count lilac linen

I have chosen another series for the Christmas Ornie Blog; The Primitive Hare's Christmas Cubes.   This month the theme was Ornaments and Decorations:

stitched on 35 count Country Mocha linen

Here are the four stitched so far:

Next month the theme is Reindeer and there isn't a cube with a reindeer so I shall be picking a different ornie for May, how exciting!

I also decided to do a second Small for the Hallowe'en SAL.  I've got so many lovely spooky designs I really want to stitch some of them too.  So here is my start on Just Nan's Scream Girls:

stitched on 32 count mid green linen

Finally, another mention of the Days of Jo's Life - Big Birthday Blog Hop.  To take part all you have to do is leave a comment or email me.  Nearer the date I will allocate you a Year of My Life and on the 17th September you do a blog post about that year or that life event in your life or what you were doing at that age (assuming you are that old!).  Also, post something you have stitched which you think I will like.  According to the number of people signed up I am now in my mid-thirties so if you want to take part and make me closer to my actual age, please leave a comment!

Friday 22 April 2016

April WIPocalypse Listening While You Stitch

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.

The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "16 in '16" which are 16 projects I particularly wanted to concentrate on in 2016.   The full list can be found on my WIPocalypse page where you can also find my secondary list "16 Series in '16".

My main goal is to keep to my rotation of one small every Friday and the rest of the month working on my focus piece until it is finished.  I also have a number of SALs I want to keep up with:

The Alphabet Club - a different letter on the first Saturday of each month
Gifted Gorgeousness - post anything gifted on the 15th
Hallowe'en Ornie Blog - a different spooky theme each month
Christmas Ornie Blog - a different festive theme each month
Smalls SAL - last Thursday of each month


And now for the progress report:

I have worked on 4 out of 16 projects since my last WIPocalypse, plus 4 from my series list.

4. Little Snowy Cottage by Nora Corbett - WIP

stitched on 32 count Blue Hydrangea opalescent Murano from Crafty Kitten

I got bored with the silver so moved onto the bronze in the windowframes.

11. Elizabeth Shephard by The Scarlet Letter - WIP

stitched on 30 count linen

I worked on the bottom right hand corner

12. J by Nora Corbett - Finish

stitched on 32 count Love-in-the-Mist Murano from Crafty Kitten

16. Counting Bats by Just Nan - WIP

stitched on 32 count lilac linen

And the series:

1. Christmas Cubes by The Primitive Hare - WIP

stitched on 35 count Country Mocha from Willow Fabrics

I am stitching these out of order to fit in with the themes on the Christmas Ornie blog

6. The Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books - WIP

stitched on 28 count afghan

9. Spring Typography by Just Nan - New Start

stitched on 32 count Dark Reed Green linen
very bad photo of the colours!

15. Alphabet Fairies by Nora Corbett - see above.


Measi always gives us a topic to discuss too:

April - What do you listen to while you stitch?

This is an interesting one because last time I answered it, the TV was on a lot of the time.  This year, the Small Boy has decided the TV is not allowed to be on during the day!  So when he is at home the Large Boy and I have taken to sitting at the kitchen table and watching YouTube together.  Sunday afternoons we watch a film via the disc-drive or YouTube.  The rest of the time, it's either comedy clips or I have started following some FlossTubers.  He likes their accents and the way they get excited about projects ("it's so purrty!", also "flaaass taass", he loves that one).

Here are a few favourites who blog regularly:

(amazing Lavender & Lace conversions)

(365 starts this year!)

(She's British and looks and sounds like the Reception teacher at the boys' old Primary School)
(Her parents have a farm and she shows sheepies and stuff too!)

(She's hilarious, there's one where she's showing off her Lego and making up stories about it and another where she talks about dating.  Very funny!)

I rather like having someone in the room with me chatting about their stitching and stash.  The rest of the time I still listen to Planet Rock on the radio, which is what is on at the moment as I type this out.

Talking about other media brings me to Bloglovin' which is one of the popular ways of following blogs.  I have been getting emails from Bloglovin' telling me about new followers but only recently found out where the whole list of them is!  I have 245 extra followers!  Well, not actually because some do already follow me "properly".  So my request is - if you follow via Bloglovin' could you possibly click on the Followers button to the right of my blog.  And leave a comment too, it's nice to chat with my followers.  If you have a blog yourself, I promise to return the following too.

Finally, my map chart arrived!!  It's really well presented and laid out.  I will do a full review once I've had a proper peruse.

30 pages of chart and 2 pages of key!

Monday 18 April 2016

Elizabeth in the Hermitage

Back in 2011 Joysze of Random Ramblings coined the phrase International Hermit and Stitch Weekend where you spend as much of the weekend as possible stitching.  It always commences the Third Friday of every month and there is a sign-up post on Joysze's blog.

Here are the guidelines for IHSW and here is April's sign-up page.  You can also copy Hermie the crab onto your blog to show everyone you have joined in.

The focus of all my IHSWs this year has been Elizabeth Shephard by The Scarlet Letter.  This is a long term project started back on Day 14 of the DUCJC 2015 and worked on each month since then.  She is a Quaker so you get a mini Happy Dance with each complete motif.

This is the part I focused on this weekend:

These brown motifs are in the bottom right of the design.  So I have completed 3/4 of the whole piece now,  Just one more whole motif and a few half motifs round the edge.

The centre six motifs are stitched in green with the edge ones in brown.  I wonder if this was a deliberate design choice or if Elizabeth ran short of the green thread?  She couldn't take advantage of next day delivery from SewandSo like we can!

Here is the full piece so far.  Next month I'll finish the current motif and start the final whole one which features a traditional swan.

stitched on 30 count linen

I've been making steady progress on Just Nan's Spring Typography too.  The next step is to find my graph paper and rechart the animals to be over one like on the other Typography designs.  Here is the part I have been focusing on:

stitched on 32 count Dark Reed Green linen from Willow Fabrics

That is a white bunny appearing behind the pink I and N, not a ghost; this is Spring not Hallowe'en!

Finally, I was rather enabled this weekend.  Kaye from Kitten Stitching had shown us a picture of a Map of Westeros she had recently bought and I commented that I had never stitched a map although I do enjoy drawing them.  And then this popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook:

Isn't it awesome?  Bonus points to anyone who identified it without reading on.


It is designed by Lyndisfarne Cross Stitch Designs and is on special offer until 25th April.  You can buy the chart, the full kit or a partial kit which doesn't include all the blue of the sea so you can stitch it on a hand-dyed fabric.  There are More photos on Facebook.

Of course, I sent the photo straight off to Dawn from Crafty Kitten.  "I need a blue gradient fabric, light blue in the centre getting darker as it spreads to the edge."  It won't have the distinct line between the two blues but that would be almost impossible to get in the right place.

I have also emailed the designer (who is lovely) and checked that it is charted by eye and not CGI.  You know how much I hate the confetti style computer generated stitching.  There are 32 pages of chart and on 28 count it will measure 60cm square (24 inches).  Slightly smaller on the 32 count I plan to use.  A page a month will mean a three year project!

Have you guessed yet?   It is the Discworld as created by Sir Terry Pratchett, map assistance from Stephen Briggs and drawn by Stephen Player.  And once payday arrives on Wednesday it will be mine!

Friday 15 April 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness April Link-Up Post

Welcome to the Gifted Gorgeousness link-up post!  The link-up date will continue to be the 15th of each month but I will keep the linky open until the end of each month so you have plenty of time to join in.

The format remains EXACTLY the same as last year so I'm sure you are all aware of what can be included - gifts to and from you; charts, fabric or threads; shoe-horns welcome!

Elizabeth Shephard from The Scarlet Letter is my IHSW project so she will be coming out to play later today:

stitched on 30 count linen

The Lizzie*Kate design Sampling Easter was a gift from Justine and has been sent on to Cathy the Stitching Grandma:

stitched on 14 count yellow aida

My second Stitch for Syria design, a gift for their centre in the Lebanon:

stitched on 28 count black Jobelan

Another row on Counting Bats by Just Nan, a gift from Mel of Epic Stitching:

stitched on 32 count lilac linen

I finished the fourth fairy which was another gift from Justine and is for me to keep!

stitched on Love-in-the-Mist 32 count Murano from Crafty Kitten

And continued progress on my current focus piece - Nora Corbett's Little Snowy Gray Cottage:

stitched on 32 count Blue Hydrangea from Crafty Kitten

This is the area I have been working on the last two days, it's not boring because there are little gaps all over for beads to fit in!  I've been alternating between the Kreinik and the white to keep things interesting.  The other side of the roof is next and then the windows on either side of the house.

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 "April Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month.
And link to the actual post, not just your blog.  It is easier if you copy and paste the link, rather than typing freehand.
Thank you.  I can amend links if you make a boo-boo though.



edit - Elfin Stitches has included a wonderful tutorial on how to make the gorgeous little beaded tree ornies she has designed herself.  Make sure you go and have a look this month.

Last month I hosted a GGG (Gifted Gorgeousness Giveaway) of the Strawberry Sampler.  The random number boy chose the following person to receive the chart:

Katie AKA Jeremiah's Mom also hosted a GGG last month and announced the winner a week later.  Congratulations to Mii Stitch!

If you are hosting a GGG let me know and I'll add a link here.  You can host on your blog or via mine, I don't mind at all.

Finally, The Days of Jo's Life Big Birthday Blog Hop was been launched and is taking sign-ups.  The Hop will be on the 17th September.  To take part all you have to do is leave a comment or email me.  Nearer the date I will allocate you a Year of My Life and on the 17th September you do a blog post about that year or that life event in your life or what you were doing at that age (assuming you are that old!).  Also, post something you have stitched which you think I will like.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Blingely Blingely Bleep

Q: What's this?

A: a tin full of Bling ORTS!

From this:

I've been working away on Nora Corbett's Little Snowy Gray Cottage although to be honest, it should be Little Snowy Silver Cottage there's so much metallic sparkle in there.  Even the fabric is sparkly, Blue Hydrangea from Crafty Kitten.  I've been trying to alternate the Kreinik with the plain thread but the Kreinik is actually playing quite nicely and I'm enjoying the stitching.

In the evenings I am working on Just Nan's Spring Typography, approximately 30 minutes per evening while the Small Boy is splashing in the bath.  NB do not sit too close to the tub!

Here we are today:

stitched on 32 count Dark Reed linen from Willow Fabrics.

Last weekend was the second weekend of the month so my rotation piece was The Christmas Cubes by Primitive Hare which I am stitching for the Christmas Ornie SAL.  The theme this month is Ornaments and Decorations so I stitched the T cube:

I'm stitching them on a lovely 35 count linen called Country Mocha by Willow Fabrics using the recommended DMC.  I have changed the white to B5200 rather than Blanc because it will pop more against the neutral fabric.   I made a few changes to this one.  One was a forced change because I made a booboo with the placement of the central ornie which meant the snowman was also too low down.  Luckily there was enough room for the T to fit in.  The other change was adding a Santa charm instead of the rusty bells shown on the cover photo of the chart.

The snowman is not stitched with any features but I asked the Christmas Ornie SALers and the consensus of opinion is "add eyes" so, the ayes have it and I will be adding eyes next time I stitch on this design.

(It's also responsible for the one tiny strand of red you can see in my ORTS tin.  Yes, all the red in this ornie and I only "wasted" one tiny piece.  That's how parsimonious I am with my threads!)

Finally, the Big Birthday Blog Hop which I'm thinking of calling The Days of Jo's Life as a nod to the soap opera made famous* by Joey Tribbiani in Friends:

Dr Drake Ramoray

Anyway, to take part all you have to do is leave a comment or email me.  Nearer the date I will allocate you a Year of My Life and on the 17th September you do a blog post about that year or that life event in your life or what you were doing at that age (assuming you are that old!).  Also, post something you have stitched which you think I will like.

* ps Dear American friends, yes, I know, I'm joking ;-)

Friday 8 April 2016

Five Years Old Today!

It's my Fifth Blogaversary today.  The photos were taken on my Fifth Birthday at my Nana's house.  We had recently returned to England after an army posting to Singapore for several years.  Do you see those strange white things on my feet?  Socks!  We had to wear socks and shoes all the time in England.  And long sleeves.  And cardigans.  My first memory of England was standing on the railway platform wondering why it was so cold when I was wearing all these extra clothes!  It was August too.

We brought back an enormous amount of stuff, several packing crates worth but my dolls' pram had to be left behind.  So I'd been promised a new one as soon as we got back.   It was a beauty, a twin pram with a hood at each end, you can just see my two dolls sat at either end.  I still have the pram, it lives in a cupboard now waiting for my grand-daughters to arrive!  It has been played with by various visiting children but not often.

Some Blogaversary stats:

5 years,
542 posts,
381,887 page views

To celebrate my Fifth Blogaversary we have a very special Happy Dance - Nora Corbett's J is for Joanne:

She was a gift from Justine and started on Day 30 of the DUCJC2015.  I restarted her on 17th March, 2016 and finished her on 5th April, 2016 having put in a total of 9 stitching days.  The beading took up two of those days!

She is stitched on 32 count Love-in-the-Mist Murano from Crafty Kitten.  The same fabric as her sister E.  I used most of the Crescent Colour threads but substituted Blanc for the wings (one skein of Cloud was not enough to do four sets of wings on four fairies) and some of the greens.  I blended 3362 and 3363 instead of Desert Mesquite.  I also changed the backstitch colours to 356 for the skin and green for the dress.  I did all the scrolls in Kreinik too.

Yoga Fairy!


Flash photography to show the bling

Action shot to show the beads!

There are a lot of beads in her.  The large flower beads in her hands look great too.

Here are all four fairies together:

I don't plan on stitching any more of these at the moment.  Unless someone has another daughter unexpectedly!  The temptation to stitch all 26 is quite overwhelming at times but I will resist.

While I think of it - Happy Birthday to Calamity Jr and Susan Yellow Flower Meadow too.


Finally I am celebrating a Big Zero Birthday in September and have planned a BIG BLOG HOP for the event.  My plan is to attempt to get one Person per year of my life and allocate each person a year.  I will give you a Fact About Me from that year and ask you to base your post on that fact.  So you might get 1971 - "I am five years old and I start school".  Your post could be about you being five, you starting school, you in 1971 (if you were born by then) or some world event which is relevant to you from 1971.

I will ask you to post a photo of something you have stitched which will appeal to me!  I think you all know my tastes in stitching by now and I'm looking forward to some eye candy and probably some stash acquisitions too!  Got to have something to spend that Birthday money on.  So if you want to be in the Hop, please leave a comment or email me.  Because we need so MANY participants for this one, please feel free to share it on your blogs and invite your friends to join in.  The more the merrier!  We can always share eventful years or skip the dull ones depending on how many people we get.

Over the weekend I am going to try get an image we can all use to advertise the Hop and maybe set up a separate page with a linky.