Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness August Link-Up Post

2017 GG

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

I've been making some nice progress on my gifted projects again this month.  I reached the top of the design for Just Nan's Memories, a gift from Vickie:

stitched on 32 count pink linen

Another block on 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott - a gift from my MIL:


Another witch on Witches by Oberlin Samplers - a gift from Barb:

My focus piece for this month is Dragon of the Winter Moon by Dragon Dreams - a gift from Riona.

Here is where I left the dragon last November:

And here is where we are now:

stitched on 32 count Moondust Murano by Crafty Kitten

Close-up of the Kreinik spines:

So now I hand 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 "August 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, we had a Tenuous Shoehorn Linky Party on 8th August, the linky is still live if you'd like to join in any time this month.  I love reading the different posts and it would be nice to see more! Don't forget to check and see if new links have been added since you last looked.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Frankly, I think I prefer birds.

What am I supposed to do with eight milkmaids - AND their cows?  Is this some kind of joke?  If so, I'm afraid I don't find it very amusing.

12 Days of Christmas (Correspondence) - John Julius Norwich

Emily obviously feels the same way about cows as my Nana did!  This block took quite a long time to stitch compared to the previous blocks.   I think it's the amout of colour changes and small details.  Once again I did the background with just one thread.

In the evenings I have continued with the header.  I have completed both angels and the two Christmas Roses now:

Here's where I finished last month:

And here is where I am now:

I have also stitched on both my Hallowe'en pieces this month, the theme on the blog was Creepy Trees which fit perfectly for Happy Hallowe'en (see this post) but not for Witches by Oberlin Samplers.  However I wanted to get both pieces ready for September's theme which is Spooky Woods.  So here is another Witch:

And the whole piece so far.  Like Happy Hallowe'en it could be complete but has words above and below the figures:

One of the SALs for Cross Stitch Finish Line this month was called Guess What? and each day we had to post first our fabric, then our thread, then 25 stitches per day until Reveal Day on Day 7.  Here are my 7 photos, see if you can guess before the Reveal:

Day 1 - 28 count Jazlyn in Peacock by Crafty Kitten

Day 2 - Threads, mostly purple and yellow

Day 3 - 25 stitches

Day 4 - 50 stitches

Day 5 - 75 stitches

Day 6 - 100 stitches

Any ideas yet?  Two people had got very close guessing the designer straightaway and narrowing it down to one of her Fairy designs.  Shame there are so many to choose from!

Here's a close-up of the part I was stitching:

And here's the Reveal - Joan Elliott's Fairy Dreams AKA Little Reading Fairy AKA September Fairy from the 2013 Diary AKA Year of Magical Stitching:

I've carried on stitching a little bit each day and here's where she is now:

Finally, we had a Tenuous Shoehorn Linky Party on 8th August, the linky is still live if you'd like to join in any time this month.  I love reading the different posts and it would be nice to see more!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Tenuous Shoe-Horn for Your Loved Ones!

It's time for the Second Annual Tenuous Shoe-Horn Linky Party!  Like a Blog Hop, only less work for me as it's the Summer Holidays.

The theme this year is "Loved Ones", some of us have lost loved ones this year; people and furbabies; some people have been celebrating special wedding anniversaries, some have new babies or grandbabies and some have children growing up (too) fast.  So all you have to do today (or later this week) is make a post dedicated to your Loved Ones and show some stitching related to them, however tenuously.   Then link up below and visit some of the other participants.

My Loved One is my Nana, and my Grandad too!  Today would have been my Nana's 102nd Birthday if she hadn't decided to join my Grandad 17 years ago.  Here she is in 1967 when she was just a year older than I am now.  I'm nearly one year old in that photo, a lovely chubby bonny baby.  The other lady is one of her four sisters, possibly Hilda the oldest.  Nana was the 8th child of 10 siblings and youngest girl of the five.

The family divided into two halves with the oldest boy dying at the age of 10 and the four older siblings having left home by the time the youngest five were growing up.  Nana shared a bed in the attic with two of her sisters, the two boys had one bedroom and her parents the other.

As her Birthday was in August, she finished school in the July at the age of 13 and didn't return in September.  The school leaving age was 14 then and you started work the Monday after your 14th Birthday.  Grandad was apprenticed to a carpenter and Nana went to work in the Lavender Laundry.

On their days off all the young people would promenade down the Promenade in their best clothes.  My Nana would be there with her sisters and best friends and my Grandad would bike past them hoping to impress my Nana and catch her eye!  "Here comes that boy on his bike again!"

It must have worked because they married in 1936 when Nana was 21 and Grandad was just turned 22.  They moved into a little rented cottage and shortly before the 2nd World War moved again to the house where they lived until 1994 and the move into sheltered accomodation.  That was the house where my Mum was born and where I was born and spent many happy childhood years.  Tiny with an outside toilet complete with oil lamp and spiders!

To celebrate their move into the lovely new flat I stitched them a Home Sweet Home sampler, which I have now inherited back:

The design came from a library book and is very 1980s in style!  I stitched it again as a Wedding Sampler a few years later with some small changes.

Two years later Nana and Grandad celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, 60 Years of Wedded Bliss with never a cross word!  Haha, there was plenty of bickering though!

To commemorate this milestone I stitched this sampler from Cross Stitcher magazine (April 1995 issue), changing the colour scheme to green to match their living room:

I'd been stitching for three years at this point and loved this sampler with the metallics, beads and other embellishments for each annivesary.  I also inherited this sampler back.

Grandad passed away suddenly and peacefully in his sleep in 1998, we'd just spent the weekend as a family at the local airshow and he'd seemed fine.  Walking up and down the seafront, having a lovely time.  Nana coped in the flat with the help of my Mum and various Carers coming in each day.   "I only want smiling ones, no miseries!"  Eventually her failing health saw her move into a residential home close to my house so I could visit on my way home from work and at weekends.  She passed away, quietly and peacefully having "taken to her bed" as they say, and refusing to get up.  She was ready to join Grandad and her beloved sisters once more.

I sat with her at the end, stitching on this project which just happened to be my current one.  I was a OAAT stitcher back then.

Angelica by Lavender & Lace
(serendipity at work once again, remember the name of the laundry?)

I have so many fond memories of my Nana, I could write a book, so many little anecdotes that say a lot about the times she grew up in.  The time she hid in a neighbour's yard because there were cows coming down the road, she was terrified of cows!  The time her Mum took in Barnardo's Sailor Boys and wouldn't let Nana and her siblings eat the special tea because "it's for the poor children".  Three sisters all dating at the same time and saying goodbye to their boyfriends in one tiny backyard while their father was clock watching to call them in at curfew time!

And at the end, telling the Carers that "she brought me up" because I used to have my lunch there instead of school dinners.  Always calling us by the wrong name.  My sister and I swapped names with each other but my brother got the cat's name.  Or just "The Boy".  Letting me have an entire chocolate cake to myself when we went on holiday together, just because you don't get that when you have siblings.  Trying to sneak a look at the daily paper when the Doctor asked her what day it was to test her mental health.  Relating the entire plot of Coronation Street without using any names - "It's him, he was married to her, but went with that other one from the newspaper.  And then she went off with him; him that I don't like".

So now, it's over to you.  Which Loved One will you be talking about today?  I'm looking forward to reading all about them.



Finally, I was contacted by the lovely Emma from the delightfully named DripDropPolkaDot on Etsy.  She's a new designer and has started with a range of little "Weeble" People.  She's offering followers of my blog a 20% discount if you use the code "SEREN20" between now and the 20th August.  Here are my two favourites from her designs:


Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Yummy and Youthful Alphabet Years

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.

I am very proud of the Y from the Dark Alphabet this month as I suggested this subject to Julie and Becky.

Y is for Yggdrasil, the Norse Tree of Life.  There is some lovely artwork on the Note of Friendship blog for this letter.  It was one of my favourite blocks to stitch.

Y is also for Yarn as Brooke's Books show in this month's Stitcher's Alphabet:

I love this cat with all the yarn balls hanging off her as she plays with them.  To me, she looks like she is sitting in a martini glass having had one too many martinis and got into a muddle!

Y is not a terribly popular letter for stitching designs but I have You Were Hatched by Teresa Wentzler:

And this WIP from Yiotas:

Coffee Fairy

A nice Yellow Daffodil from World of Cross Stitching magazine:

And some more Spring Yellowness from Lizzie*Kate and the Snowflower Diaries.

And a nice little Yacht from Cross Stitcher magazine:

Over in my Blog Roll we have my dear friend Susan, who has been a little quiet of late:

And that's about it!  The more literate among you may have spotted that Y is the penultimate letter of the alphabet and the Club will be finishing next month with a Zoo full of Zebras (probably).  But never fear, I have devised a new theme for everyone to join in with and it is most appropriate that it will be launched next month.  No more clues, you'll have to wait and zee.

Finally, I was contacted by the lovely Emma from the delightfully named DripDropPolkaDot on Etsy.  She's a new designer and has started with a range of little "Weeble" People.  She's offering followers of my blog a 20% discount if you use the code "SEREN20" between now and the 20th August.  Here are my two favourites from her designs:


Monday, 31 July 2017

July Pie

It's always nice to get the "extra" day at the end of a 31 day month, it feels like a stitching bonus.  It's not been long since I posted (yesterday) but I have finished another piece on one of my monthly SALs so I have something to show you.

Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating

And the whole thing:

This could actually be a finish but there are various words and phrases around the edge which I will be stitching for the September theme.

As you saw yesterday, my Ten-a-Day project is almost finished and a number of people asked if I will do another project in the same way.  The answer is Yes, I started one on the 1st July!  It was obvious that Spring in the Square was not going to take a year so I thought the halfway point of the year was the perfect time to start Summer in the Square.  Here is my progress after 31 days:

Summer in the Square

Just for comparison, here is Spring at 31 days:

I don't know if this is going to work, but remember my Book of Spells?  Before I had it framed I got the finished piece colour-photocopied with the idea of making a book cover.  I found a "fake book" box in a homeware store which was roughly the right size and finally got round to covering it at the weekend.  I trimmed the paper to size and glued it to the box.  It's not a perfect fit as the box spine is bigger than the Book of Spells spine but it's good enough.

(edit - that worked, if you are listening with the sound turned up you'll hear the Small Boy whooping with joy in the background!)

Onto pie for the month.  Not surprisingly Joan Elliott dominated this month with 22 days dedicated to 3 of her projects.  Truly a Joan July!

Spendingwise we have started a new Stitch from Stash. same rules as the first six months.  My budget stays the same and I won't be taking credit for finishing.  Unless someone is going to give me real money for finishing a project!

This month I treated myself to two Jardin Prive charts,  the Needlework ABC which has been a mystery SAL this year:

And this Hallowe'en design which might be my choice for the Hallowe'en Ornie Blog when I complete Happy Hallowe'en:

I also succumbed to a subscription for the Australian magazine Inspirations thanks to Janet Granger showing the most wonderful etui on her blog - Janet Granger.  It's absolutely stunning, it's not cross stitch so I'm highly unlikely to make it but the magazine is a thing of beauty and I have a little bit of extra spending money this month so I spent it!  Luckily magazine subscriptions don't count for SFS.

2 Jardin Prive Charts £13.77
Inspiration £30.00
Total £43.77

Finally, there will be a Tenuous Shoehorn Linky Party on Tuesday 8th August and the theme will be "Loved Ones".   8th August was my Nana's Birthday which is why I chose that day for the Linky Party and I'll be showing a couple of projects that relate to her.  Some of us have lost loved ones this year; people and furbabies; some people have been celebrating special wedding anniversaries, some have new babies or grandbabies and some have children growing up (too) fast.  So there's plenty of scope for stitching there!  Get your thinking caps on and be ready to link up on the 8th August.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

July's Oldest and Newest WIPocalypse

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.

This month I managed a WIPocalypse finish!  Thanks to Just One July and Joan Elliott July I was able to focus on Joan Elliott's July Mermaid and get her finished:

28 count Jazlyn in Peacock by Crafty Kitten

Here are the other WIPocalypse projects I've been stitching on:

1. Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books:

2. 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott:

3. Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating:

4. Spring in the Square by Just Nan:

So close to a finish now!

5. Enchanted Alphabet by Lavender & Lace: 

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss and this month we have

July - What are your oldest and your newest WIPs?

I can't 100% say this is my oldest WIP as I didn't keep records back then.  But I think the Ernie Bishop NOEL letters are older than Bande des Dragons.  I've put them in my X-Stitch app as a 1998 start which may be a year or two out but it's definitely that era.  Which makes them nearly 20 years old.  I have no idea what I would do with them if I ever finished them as unframed whitework does not mix with a house with a wood burner!

For some reason I started with L and then worked backwards:

Newest WIP is much easier, the latest Just Nan ornie Snow Forest was restarted last Sunday, 23rd July, 2017 and I have stitched 30 a day for 9 days:

Finally, I have noticed a new "person" commenting on my blog and a couple of others too.  I say "person" because all they are doing is copying the previous comment and when you go to their profile all you see is gambling websites.  I don't think there is any harm they can do just by commenting but I would advise deleting their comments and not clicking on any of the links on their profile.