Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Theme-tas-stitch March Madness

Theme-tas-stitch is hosted by Kerry

Each month Kerry is giving us a theme to stitch to (or shoe-horn our existing stitching into).  We link up on the 21st of each month.  The theme this month is:

March Madness - Work on as many different projects as you can - you could do one a day or have a day when you see how many you can stitch on.

I have my set rotation which means I knew I would stitch on 7 projects in March already.  I also knew I wanted (and needed) to focus on M is for Mary this month so I needed a plan!  Here are the main 7:

1. Just Nan Spring in the Square for the 10-a-day challenge:

Day 80 - 800 stitches

2. Joan Elliott 12 Days of Christmas for the Christmas Ornie SAL:

and regular evening stitching on the thin red line to the right

3. Brooke's Books' Stitchers Alphabet for The Alphabet Club:

4. Imaginating Happy Hallowe'en for the Hallowe'en SAL:

5. Oberlin Witches, also for the Hallowe'en SAL:

6. Nora Corbett M is for Mary which is my focus piece for the month:

Wings and Bling to be added

7. Lavender & Lace Enchanted Alphabet Spooky Conversion:

To reach 31 projects for the 31 days in May I needed another 24 projects.  I didn't want to start pulling out other WIPs for just a length or two so I needed something small or a part-work.  I considered an Advent Calendar (24 days) or another Alphabet (the Erica Michael's one has 24 blocks) but in the end I went for something totally different - a Just-Nan-athon.  Over the years I have collected a lot of her small free charts and have stitched a few.

Here are a few more:

Most days I did one length of thread immediately after my 10-a-Day project before I started anything else.  The one in the middle got more done because I went to work that day and stitched during my lunchbreak.

They are, in clockwise order starting top left:

Christmas Rose
Christmas Star Ornament
Christmas Hearts
Victorian Rose
Royal Blossoms
Snow Forest
Lacy Diamond
Holly Knot
Have a Heart (centre)
Holiday in Ice
Butterfly Rose
Noah's Rainbow
Painted Lady

I am just picking fabrics as I go, all 32 count to keep the sizes the same but sometimes the charted colour and sometimes my own choice.  I have 11 more to start for the rest of the month, one for each day and 2 on Saturday.  When I started these I wasn't sure how I would continue with them but Linda had a great idea in her recent post called "So Many Stitches a Week" so now my plan is to pick one and work out how many stitches I need to make each day to finish it in a month.  They average 40x40 but are not full coverage so there are probably only 800-1000 stitches in each one.  Which is roughly 30 a day.

So once March is done I am going to add one of these to the daily rotation and see how many I get done by the end of the year.

🌟🌟  Blogger of the Week   🌟🌟

Finally I wanted to say a Big Thank You to everyone who has visited and commented on the new Blogger of the Week Blog.  We have featured three bloggers so far and have more lined up.  I send a few questionnaires out at the beginning of each month to keep the answers fresh and current.  If you would like to be featured in the blog please do email me.  Also, could you talk about it on your blog to reach people I don't know!  I would love to expand my circle of blogs and I am sure that you all have followers that I don't know yet.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness March Link-Up Post

2017 GG

Welcome to the March link-up for Gifted Gorgeousness.  The linky will stay open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to join in.

This month I have gifts from people and gifts for people, also stuff stitched with gifts from people and some actual gifts!

Gardens of London by Chatelaine Designs which was my Birthday present last year, stitched with threads donated by blogging friends:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten

Witches by Oberlin Samplers which was a gift from Barb:

stitched on 32 count Lime Green Murano

Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas was a gift from my MIL:

Storming progress on M is for Mary which will be a gift for my cousin's baby:

stitched on 32 count Murano in Sunlit Heath by Crafty Kitten
(which is more green in real life)

The gift I received was a giveaway prize from Sarah in Stitches to celebrate her fifth blogaversary in January:

The Sudbury leaflet has some great charts which would look good stitched over one, the fabric is a 32 count green Belfast which has been used already!  The chart I had called for Rue Green and this was close enough as I had nothing else suitable in my stash.  Perfect serendipitous timing.  I think the pendant is Rose Quartz and it's very pretty, I will probably wear that to my Toddler Group tomorrow.

Sarah offered two prizes and I had to choose this one because of the counting rhyme stitched on the pillow.  The Small Boy loves numbers and when he started Preschool you knew where he was by the sound of his keyworker reciting number rhymes!

There was also a big bag of vintage wooden cotton reels which I must find a project for!

And now it's over to you.  This is where you link up your post for this month.  Please use your name or your blog name in the field and NOT the words "March 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.  


Finally, don't forget to sign up for the Easter Blog Treasure Hunt Hop this year!  Details in the previous post to this one.  Here's some little gifts for you all from various designers.  Hopefully you can find something suitable to stitch for the Hop!

Of course no list is complete without mentioning-

Sunday, 12 March 2017

My Darling Edward,

You do think of the most original presents; whoever thought of sending anybody three French hens?  Do they really come all the way from France?  It's a pity that we have no chicken coops, but I expect we'll find some.  Thank you, anyway, they're heaven.
Your loving Emily

12 Days of Christmas (Correspondence) - John Julius Norwich

I have finished the lettering on the 3rd block of Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas:

I also stitched for another day on the top left angel:

Here is the whole piece so far:

You can see that I have started the long red outer border.  Once that is completed there is a row of metallic on either side of it.  All the way round the outside!

Once I finished all the SALs for the month I turned to my focus piece.  A new start with a deadline.  Remember the Nora Corbett Letter Fairies I stitched last year for my cousins' children?  Well, my younger cousin had another baby on New Year's Eve so we need another initial!

I took that photo to ask for advice on the Mira board.  The outline of the M is Crescent Colours Smoke and the variegated fill-in colour is Dark Fennel.  The charted colour for the rest of the fill-in is Lettuce Leaf, which you can see on the left.

You can see that looks nothing like the cover photo and doesn't go at all with the dress either.

So I used a blend of 927 and 928 DMC, which looks lovely in real life.  The colours are not coming out true at all tonight.

Honestly, the fabric looks grey there!  It is really green, Sunlit Heath from Crafty Kitten.

These stitch up so quickly, especially when you park yourself down and focus for three days!  I did do some FFO'ing this afternoon but I can't show you yet as it's a gift.  I also figured out my solution to Kerry's Theme-tas-stitch for March so you'll see that on the 21st.

We had our second interview of the Blogger of the Week blog.  Pop over there to read more about the lovely blogger featured this week and make sure you visit her personal blog too.


Finally, we are approaching the Easter Holidays which means only one things - Chocolate Eggs!  
NO - Easter Blog Hops!  As usual I will be hosting an Easter Blog Hop with a Treasure Hunt for the Mystery Phrase.  Provide your own eggs!  If you would like to take part this year, just leave a comment here.  The week before Easter I will send you a letter of the alphabet which will form part of the mystery phrase.  On Good Friday you will post that letter along with a photo of something seasonal that you have stitched (could be Easter or Spring or just something cheerful and sunny or floral).  We all hop around like little bunnies to find the Mystery Phrase!

Here's a link to last year's hop so you can see how it all works - Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2016

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Hallowe'en and Christmas Stitching and Easter too!

Almost completely unseasonal!

As I mentioned in my interview on the new Blogger of the Week Blog, my current rotation starts with The Enchanted Alphabet, followed by The Stitcher's Alphabet and then the two Ornie Blogs - Hallowe'en and Christmas.  For both of those I am stitching a portion of a larger design with the aim of completing two large WIPs by the end of the year.

The first one is Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating.  This month's spooky theme is Spiders and Cobwebs so here are the two Es and their creatures:

stitched on 32 count Lime Green Murano

Here is the full piece so far:

Why will the fabric colour not come out right?

I have a second Hallowe'en piece which I am stitching alongside this one if I have time in the month.  It is Witches by Oberlin Samplers:

stitched on the same fabric.

My Christmas design is The 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott and I have reached Block 3, although I haven't quite finished it yet.  I just wanted to get a blog post up today!

I have been diligently working my way round the border every evening.  Most recently I have been stitching the blue snowflakes in the corners.  Then it will be more dark red lines followed by another double row of metallic!  Once I finish those I will start on the vines between the two rows of border.  I have a feeling this border will be my evening stitching for the entire year!

I hope to finish the French Hens and the red in the left-hand angel tomorrow.


Finally, we are approaching the Easter Holidays which means only one things - Chocolate Eggs!  
NO - Easter Blog Hops!  As usual I will be hosting an Easter Blog Hop with a Treasure Hunt for the Mystery Phrase.  Provide your own eggs!  If you would like to take part this year, just leave a comment here.  The week before Easter I will send you a letter of the alphabet which will form part of the mystery phrase.  On Good Friday you will post that letter along with a photo of something seasonal that you have stitched (could be Easter or Spring or just something cheerful and sunny or floral).  We all hop around like little bunnies to find the Mystery Phrase!

Here's a link to last year's hop so you can see how it all works - Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2016

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Terrifically Talented Alphabet Team

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) reminding us of the month's letter and we will all link up with themed things, from stitching to designers and local customs.

T is for Things that go bump in the night from A Dark Alphabet by A Note of Friendship.  The charts are no longer on the blog but do drop Julie and Becky an email if you are interested in stitching the design yourself.

T is for Tatting and Thimble as seen in this month's block from the Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books.

Do not speak to me about this block.  If the Queen Stitch featured as one of my favourites then the Lazy Daisy is NOT.  I loathe these things but there was no getting away from them for this block.

I think I would rather have learned to do actual tatting than stitch this letter.  Gracie does some beautiful work and sent a tatted heart for the Valentine's Hop this year:

T is for Teacher's Samplers as a Thank You.  When the Large Boy was at Primary School I stitched a small sampler for each of his teachers and I continued this with the Small Boy.  Here's a collage of just some of them:

T is also for Travelling Pattern.  We used to see a lot of these, I've done three myself but not recently.  Here is the very first one I did where I stitched the previous stitchers' names down the sides:

Triple T here - Thine is the Trick and the Treat by Prairie Moon:

T is for one of my favourite designers - Teresa Wentzler.  Here's a collage of my TW finishes:

I have the remaining three Byzantine Ornaments on my "17 in '17" list this year along with Twelve Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott.

My blog roll has a lot of T blogs but I ignored all the ones beginning with "THE" or we'd be here for ever!

There's a whole lot more who haven't blogged for over a month but there's quite enough there to be going on with.


Finally, we have a new blog on the block - following the demise of Cross Stitch Collection magazine and their popular feature Blogger of the Month we now have - Blogger of the Week -

I have sent some questionnaires out to various bloggers and we will feature one interview per week.  Usually on a Friday because that's when I have the most time.  If you would like to be featured, please email me and I'll add you to my list.  Also, please promote on your blog because I would love to have new-to-me people to interview too.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Gorgeous Gardens of Lovely London

Guess what I spent most of this month stitching?

From this:

To this:

Look at all those lovely Queen Stitches forming the garden in the centre:

I'm putting this to one side to work on the Alphabet Club, Hallowe'en and Christmas SALs then my focus piece for March which will be M is for Mary (providing my fabric gets here in time!).  After March I need to work on Gathering Honey and I want to start my Discworld map so it could be a couple of months before you see London again.  I'd like to finish Gathering Honey for my friend's Silver Wedding this August.

I did spend some money this month.  I needed to kit up M is for Mary by Nora Corbett for my cousin's new baby.  I also had my Cross Stitch Collection renewal.  Now that magazine has ceased to be published so my DD was transferred to Cross Stitcher which I used to get and cancelled.  They only gave me two days notice so I thought I'd let the subscription run and see if the magazine has improved.  It's always had good articles, and this month has designs from Emma Congdon, Shannon Wasilieff, Durene Jones and Helen Philipps.  While all four design the more simple, modern style their designs do look fun to stitch and attractive to display.  Unlike when I last got the magazine and everything was huge blocks of colour, boring to stitch and dull to look at.

Plus, I'm only paying £8.72 for three issues and the current subscription is £22.39 for six issues.  A saving of £10.68 a year.  So I'll stick with it for three months and see where we are by the end of that.

The stitching spend looks like this:


M for Mary £9.12 Chart
Beads for Mary £1.22 Beads
CC for Mary £4.06 Threads
Fabric for Mary £7.50 Fabric
CSC Sub £8.72 Magazine
Total £30.62

But the good news is that Mary is all from my Christmas money and magazine subs are exempt from Stitch From Stash so that's a zero spend to declare this month.

I mentioned earlier that Gardens of London was my focus piece for this month and here is the proof in pie form:

Joan Elliott's 12 Days coming in second because I stitched the Two Turtle Doves for the Christmas Ornie SAL and it's the project I take to work when I do a full day and get a lunch break!

Finally, in my last post I mentioned the new Blogger of the Week Blog I am putting together.  I was very pleased with the reaction to the idea so I will be working hard to get it ready to go live on Friday.  I have a few people lined up already but once it goes live I will be asking for people to volunteer to be featured so don't be shy!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

February TUSAL and WIPocalypse Speciality Stitches


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 my two main projects of the month:

And here are the glittery ORTs from the Joan Elliott project on the right:


WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings
Also linking up with 17 in '17

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.  I have chosen my "17 in '17" which are the 17 projects I want to focus on this year.  You can see the full list on this page here.

I have done well again this month, thanks to my SALs.  I worked on six different projects.

You can see a glimpse of my Chatelaine in the top photo and here it is in full:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds by Crafty Kitten

You saw my Tipsy Witch from Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating for the Smalls post:

stitched on 32 count Lime Green Murano

I have completed all the metallic around the inner borders on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas:

I completed another page on my Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books:

stitched on 28 count afghan

I added the I to my conversion of Lavender & Lace's Enchanted Alphabet:

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily by Sparklies

And of course I continued to add ten stitches each day to Just Nan's Spring in the Square:

Day 57

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss

February - What is your favourite stitch other than the standard cross stitch? (Bonus points if you provide a how-to link or diagram it on your blog post!)

I am not sure this is my favourite speciality stitch but it certainly looks pretty and I've been enjoying doing them this week:

The Queen's Stitch is used to great effect in the centre of my Gardens of London Chatelaine.  I am using the charted Gloriana silk called Winter Brook.  This silk was donated by Mouse.  It is a very subtle variegated silk and make a lovely effect for this section of the design.

For my bonus points, here's a diagram for how to stitch a Queen's Stitch:

And an awesome giant diagonal Queen Stitch!

Finally, I have a new blogging project I've been working on.  One of my favourite articles in the now defunct Cross Stitch Collection was their Blogger of the Month.  I have decided to continue to showcase some of my favourite blogs and bloggers with a series of posts called Blogger of the Week.  I have my first victims contributors lined up already and if I have time this week, I will be launching the blog on Friday!  Watch this space for more details and a link too.