Monday 30 April 2018

April Pie and Stitch from Stash

For my final post of the month I thought I'd do a look at my focus piece for April - Gardens of London by Chatelaine Designs.  I started this one February 2017 and plan to make it my focus piece for five months this year.  In an attempt to see some real progress on it!

I stitched a lot in February 2018 and here is how it looked at the end of that month:

And here is where we are now:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast from Crafty Kitten

And some close-ups:

Top Left Garden

I am using a mixture of the recommended silks and some substitutions.  Some are the plain DMC recommended on the chart and others are variegated from Jodyri Threads.  Sometimes I am blending two DMC shades to make a subtle effect too.

The gaps in the centre part are all for beads.  The gaps in the border of the small garden are mostly speciality stitches and some beads.  I plan to stitch all the xxx first and then the speciality and metallics.  The beads I will leave until the end.  Because I haven't bought them yet!

And now the part you have all been waiting for - Pie!

I managed nearly half a month on Gardens of London which is about average for this year.

Now on to to Stitch from Stash:

Cross Stitcher sub £8.72
JCS sub £22.94
Beads £8.00
Total £39.66

The RoEx has worked in my favour because my Just Cross Stitch subscription has gone down in price this year.  I think Cross Stitcher have made an error because their subscription was due in May not April.  I have emailed them.

The beads were a real bargain.  A local crafter had a table at our Friday Coffee Morning and was selling various scrapbooking items and multipacks of beads.

These are not Mill Hill, maybe a little bit bigger than standard Mill Hills but great for making hangers for ornies or trimming them.  And at £3 for a packet of four, that's a bargain!

Finally, here's the progress on my Temperature SAL by Hetti:

You can see the warmer days we had at the beginning of the month on the right hand side, some nice yellow there.  In the bottom left you can see the mini heatwave too.  That bright orange is 26 degrees Celsius or 79 F, phew what a scorcher!   Now down to a chilly 7 C or 45 F to finish the month.

Sunday 29 April 2018

April WIPocalypse Oldest WIP

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.  For me, this will be my "18 in '18".  Many of them are part of SALs so I will be working on them each month.

This month I have stitched on 8 of the 18 projects!

1. Bande des Dragons by Dessins DHC:

stitched on 14 count aida from Hell

2. Enchanted Alphabet by Lavender & Lace:

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily by Sparklies

3. Gardens of London by Chatelaine:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten

4. Zodiac by Donna Kooler:

stitched on 32 count Millenium Blue linen

5. Happy Hallowe'en Night by Jardin Prive:

stitched on 32 count Cognac linen

6. 12 Days of Christmas by Just Nan:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

7. Alice and Flamingo by Mrs Peggotty:

stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

8. Diamond Bouquet by Just Nan:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

Measi always sets us a discussion topic:

April - Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO

When I read the topics at the start of the year I knew which piece I had to include in April's stitching, one of the oldest WIPs I have.  I have 11 projects which could come under the heading UFO.  All started prior to 2015 and only worked on recently during my Longest Day SAL for 20 minutes.  I have decided to pick one a year to focus on and actually finish them.

This year's choice was Bande des Dragons by Dessins DHC, here is the cover photo that I fell in love with back in 2001:

An alphabet and dragons, what's not to love?  Answer - the fabric.  I bought some 14 count aida and some variegated Anchor threads, a gorgeous dark red (1206) at 50p a skein from my LNS.  Price has doubled in the last 17 years.

The aida is awful; hard, scratchy and coated with something weird.  I struggled on, getting a friction burn on my wrist and complaining all the time.  Last time I moaned about the piece Christine had the brilliant idea of finishing the part of the border I was doing and calling that a finish.  Which is what I have done.

So this is it:

The plan is to cut off the top border, find a round wooden box with a circumference of 14 inches and make it into a useful box with a dragon border.  The letters I will cut out individually and make cards.

Then I can start again on some gorgeous fabric and not feel guilty for abandoning this quarter-finished.

Finally, busy preparing for Maynia and the Just Nan-athon!

Saturday 28 April 2018

Dark 13 Stitching

I meant to make a post for my Friday 13th stitching this month but time got away from me!  So I'll include the latest instalment on my spooky conversion of Lavender & Lace's Enchanted Alphabet too.

For Friday 13th, I picked up Raven one of the Bewitching Pixies by Nora Corbett.

stitched on 32 count Nebula by Crafty Kitten

The Pixies are not very big and this wouldn't take very long if I dedicated her as a focus piece, maybe next year.  She is not on my WIPocalypse list for this year but I will pick her up again on the next Friday 13th and for Dark October too.

My current piece for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL Blog is Jardin Prive's Happy Hallowe'en Night and this month I stitched a spider:

stitched on 32 count Cognac linen

I also added a spider to The Enchanted Alphabet:

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily by Sparklies

For new followers, this is my conversion of the Lavender & Lace design Enchanted Alphabet.  I have loved this design ever since I first saw it but it features the world's Frilliest Child and she just wasn't my style.  So I hit on the idea of stitching it all in black and adding some spooky touches.  So far we have some spiders and a couple of pumpkins as well as a black dove.  There will be little ghosts, bats, cats and other spookiness once I have completed the lettering.  Because I had to move some of the letters I want to wait until the end to see where the spaces are.

Finally, if you want to join us for our themed Hallowe'en stitching please click on the link and then send me an email:

Friday 27 April 2018

April Smalls SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Stitching Lotus

This year I am showing my Just Nan 12 Days of Christmas blocks for the Smalls SAL and also my 30-a-day projects.  All smalls also by Just Nan.  It's a Nan-a-thon year!

Here is Block 4 on the 12 Days of Christmas:

Nan has decided to go for Crowing Roosters for her Four Calling Birds rather than the traditional Colly Birds, or Blackbirds.  But they are nice and colourful and fit in well with the rest of the piece.

I completed the beading on Potpourri:

And just need a tiny flower charm to go in the centre to finish it off.

I fully finished Painted Lady for my scrapbook:

And continued to work on Charm Garden:

This is larger than most of the others so is taking longer.

Finally, I am planning to make 31 Just Nan starts for Stitch Maynia this year!  I have sorted out my list of smalls and will start one each day and then continue to work on them one at a time for the next 3 years or so!  It's a fun way to build up a selection of smalls.  If anyone wants to join me in stitching any Just Nans please do.  It doesn't have to be 31 starts, any Just Nan stitching counts.
Show your Nan-a-thon on your blog and email me a link so I don't miss it!

Monday 23 April 2018

April IHSW

This weekend was IHSW - International Hermit & Stitch Weekend and for once I wasn't working!  So two whole days to stitch, inbetween a little gardening anyway.

I started my weekend on the Friday with my weekly crafty coffee morning.  I hadn't been able to go over the school holidays so it was nice to catch up with everyone and get some stitching in.  I didn't take Alice as I usually do, but took a small Just Nan which needed some lace ribbon attaching.  I'll show that for the Smalls post at the end of the month.

But here is Alice as she was last IHSW:

And here she is now:

stitched over one on 25 count blue evenweave.

You can see where Alice's hand and arms are going to fit in next.  The top of the flamingo's neck is the edge of this column of pages and I aim to finish them by the end of June.

The main focus this weekend has been my Chatelaine - Gardens of London.  Here is where I started on Friday:

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Cotton Clouds by Crafty Kitten

Here's where I left off at the end of Sunday:

It doesn't seem much but I did spend 30 minutes writing down the colours and working out substitutions before I even picked up a needle!

And you have to count.  And count.  And count again!  When I'd completed the pairs of stitches round the edge, I did move over to Garden 2 to finish off the length of thread.

I found some wonderful photos of the top two gardens in the Chatelaine Facebook group and have saved them so I can refer to them as I stitch.  It really helps to see other people's stitching, especially when making colour decisions.

I stitched the next row in today and hope to get at least one more row in tomorrow.  Wednesday is a full work day so no Chatelaine that day and Thursday is the 26th and back to Enchanted Alphabet!

Finally, the next IHSW will be 18th - 20th May so make sure you note the date in your diary or come and join us in the Facebook Group - IHSW on Facebook.  If you don't do Facebook then you can check in on Joysze's Blog - Random Ramblings.

Monday 16 April 2018

April's Air Stirs in the TUSAL Jar


It's TUSAL time, the Totally Useless SAL where we all show our ORTS and link-up on Daffycat's blog.

Here is my TUSAL jar with two current projects:

Rosey asked what a "flat ORT tin" is in my last post, it's nothing fancy, just a little tin that was a cover gift with one of the magazines (probably Cross Stitcher).  But it's quite flat and fits nicely in a slim project bag:

I keep a needleminder on top so I can place my needle there when I am changing threads.  That's a size 28 petite for scale.  Inside the tin is a month's worth of ORTS prior to being put in the glass jar in the photo above.

The two projects in the photo are my focus piece for April; Gardens of London by Chatelaine:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten

I've been stitched the pavement on the right hand side today, not quite finished it.

The other project is my bathtime stitching; Alice by Mrs Peggotty:

stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

I am well onto the second column of pages now.  The edge of the pink at the top is the edge of that column.  I have stitched a lot of the flamingo's neck and have now moved down to the bottom of the design to work on the body of the flamingo and Alice's hands.

The title of this post is a nod to the answer to the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.  As usual each participant displayed a letter which formed a mystery phrase when you hopped round them all.  This year's hop was the biggest ever so we had the longest phrase.  I chose the first part of a haiku by Matsuo Bashō:

April's air stirs in 
Willow-leaves...a butterfly
Floats and balances

A few more people and we could have had the whole phrase!  I put everyone's number into the Random Number Generator and Mary's name came out.  That is Mary from

Well done Mary!  I will contact you about arranging a nice little prize.

As well as my prize, one of the participants had a giveaway too.  Please visit Cathy's Blog to find out who won that prize.  

Finally, everyone who participated in the Blog Hop and who left a comment will be getting entered into my Five Peaks Hop Challenge this year.  If you participate or comment on all five Blog Hops in 2018 your name will go into the draw for a prize at the end of the year!

Sunday 15 April 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness April Link-Up Post

Welcome to the April Gifted Gorgeousness link-up.  The link-up date will continue to be the 15th and I will keep the link-up open until the end of each month so you have plenty of time if you are late posting.

The format remains exactly the same, there is a list of rules on the main sign-up page if you want to check what is required but basically anything connected to the word "gift" is allowed, whether it was a gift TO you or is a gift FROM you.

In the past month I have stitched a few gifted pieces and received some lovely gifts myself.

12 Days of Christmas by Just Nan - chart was a Christmas present:

Diamond Bouquet by Just Nan - chart was a gift:

Nest Egg by Satsuma Street - fabric was a gift:

Discworld Mappe by Lyndisfarne Designs - Birthday present:

Raven by Nora Corbett - chart was a gift:

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Nebula by Crafty Kitten

Most recently I have picked up my Chatelaine, Gardens of London to be my focus piece for this month.  This was a Birthday present:

This is the part I have been stitching, the variegated grey/brown which represents the pavements of London.  Instead of spending over £7 on a skein of Gloriana I am using a Jodyri thread called Goblin King (approx 90p) which looks fantastic!  One street done, three more to go.

And on to the gorgeous gifts I have received!  First of all, a lovely Easter card and bunny from the equally lovely Wee Witchy Steph from Show and Tell:

Close-up of the bunny:

The next parcel was from the lovely Beth in IL from Beth's Needlework.  She sent me this lovely Bunny card:

(I believe it is a Mill Hill)

and a parcel of goodies:

including some linen, a chart, the threads to stitch it and my very first Victorian Motto Sampler and Silk N Colours threads:

The final gift was from one of the crafters who go to my regular Friday coffee and craft morning.  Because I couldn't attend in the school holidays she came round my house for coffee, saw my project bags and said "I could make those".  She had a good look at them and last week gave me this one!

It is as tall as an A4 sheet of paper and a little wider so it holds a chart in a plastic jacket perfectly with room for some threads, scissors and a flat ORT tin.

Now it is your turn to show us your Gifted Gorgeousness for the month. Please use your name or your blog name in the field and 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.

Please could you remember to link up as well as make your post.  There have been a few people making GG posts but not linking.  Which means they don't get entered into the draw.  If you have technical or memory issues, just leave a comment and let me know!



Finally, the Easter Blog Hop is now over and I will be announcing the Winner tomorrow!