Friday, 20 January 2017

My Dearest Darling,

That partridge, in that lovely little pear tree!  What an enchanting, romantic, poetic present!
Bless you and thank you.
Your deeply, loving Emily

12 Days of Christmas (Correspondence) - John Julius Norwich

I completed the First Day of Christmas from the 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott.  I started the borders on 12th December 2016 and I stitched on it every day for the 12 Days of Christmas as part of a Challenge on the Stitch Maynia FB page.  Since then I have been focused on finishing the Partridge for this month.  I did have a little break to fit in my Hallowe'en stitching though.

The plan is to stitch the borders each evening when my son is in the bath and return to Block 2 in February.  You can see where I stitched each block for a decreasing number of days for the challenge!  Block 12 only got stitched on the final 12th Day whereas Block 2 got stitched on every day from the 2nd onwards.

stitched on 32 count white evenweave

I showed the first Hallowe'en design in my GG post and here is the second Hallowe'en design for the year:

stitched on 32 count Lime Green Murano

It's the Moon which forms the O in Hallowe'en for the design Happy Hallowe'en from Imaginating.  That fabric is so much more lime green in real life!

Having finished my SAL stitching for the month I decided to start a little small which I've had for ages.  Antique Christmas Trees by JBW.  This was a gift or giveaway prize from someone at some point.  I know I didn't buy it myself but it got separated from the card which came with it and filed in with Random Charts.

I'm stitching it over one on a scrap of 32 count linen which was tucked in with the chart.  I'm using the DMC conversion.  The suggestion for the border is very pink and not at all like the picture so I decided to make the alphabet darker pink instead of the barely visible white.  I think the idea is that the white is the snow under the tree but it wouldn't show on my white fabric.   I might stitch this again, over 2 on a blue or grey fabric using the white.  It's a nice quick design anyway, that is just 2 afternoon's stitching there.

I have been continuing with my 10 Stitches a Day project which is Just Nan's Spring in the Square.  Here is a collage of the 20 days so far:

You can really see how the piece grows each day.  Some people have said that they would find it difficult to stop after just ten stitches.  That's where my personal challenge comes into it - seeing how early can I get my photo posted!  Every day I try get it posted earlier than the day before. Or not!

Finally, we have the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop coming on Valentine's Day.  If you would like to take part, all you have to do is send me a photo of something you have stitched which is suitable for a stitching friend.  It could be a heart, or a pair of cute creatures, or the word "love" or anything which warms your heart.  Really anything you think a fellow stitcher would like to receive in her email Inbox.  I will then email you a photo to post on your blog on Valentine's Day.  Everyone then hops around trying to find out where their photo went and who is the Secret Sweetheart!

Just for inspiration, here are some freebie heart designs from around the internet.  Most of these could be stitched in a week so plenty of time for the Hop.

And of course we must never forget the Patron Saint of Free design - Gazette 94!
(there are 22 designs labelled Couer or Heart).

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness January Link-Up Post

2017 GG

Welcome to the first Gifted Gorgeousness link-up of 2017!  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.

Last year we had 47 people sign up for the SAL, a couple didn't link up at all but six people linked up every single month!  I used the random number generator to choose a winner from those six and 

Leonore from Needle, Pen and Sword

is my first winner!  Congratulations Leonore, I will be choosing something nice and sending it to you.

Then I looked at all the entries, 277 in total and the random number generator chose entry 157 which was the June post for

who will also be getting something nice from me in due course.

Since the last GG post in December I have pretty much been a OAAT stitcher on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas; first for the 12 Days SAL and then for the Christmas Ornie Blog.  Here is where I am at the moment on this design:

I have been focusing on the Partridge since the 5th January and it's nearly done.  In the evenings I have been slogging away on the boring inner border which is now complete.  I have to do an entire outer border and stitch both side of the borders in metallic so maybe I will start them next.

This is a wonderful project now I have got a decent enlarged copy of the chart.  The threads provided are not the same as the ones on the cover picture.  The greens are very different but it's looking fine, a little brighter in fact.  The kit was a gift from my MIL a few years back which is why it counts for GG.

I did take a short break to stitch for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL, this chart was a gift from Barb:

Witches by Oberlin Samplers

I did receive some Gorgeous Gifts just before Christmas.  Our dear French Friend Jocondine sent me a wonderful parcel which I opened on Christmas Day.

A jingly bell Noel which I hung in the fireplace, next to my tree chimes

This wonderful card with a tree made of little tiny cards or books

Some with cross stitched covers!

Each little book is only an inch or so tall!

Thank you Jocondine, I treasure your hand-made gifts.

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 "January 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.  
If the linky doesn't work for you, Alicia, then please leave a comment and I will add the link.


Finally, Miss Pea left a comment asking a question about the Dark Alphabet.  But you are a "no-reply" person Miss Pea!  I have left a comment on one of your old blogs so hopefully you will see that.  If anyone has a question about anything, it's sensible to leave a contact email with your question so I can respond.  If anyone else is interested in the Dark Alphabet then I suggest they contact Julie or Becky via the Note of Friendship blog.  Their email addresses are there under their names.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Remarkably Ravishing Alphabet Rally

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.

R is for Raven from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's A Note of Friendship blog.  Ravens will feature on the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL Blog when I get to do R there.

R is also for Redwork, Rose and Running Stitch all of which appear in this month's Brooke's Books Stitcher's Alphabet block:

stitched on 28 count afghan

The chart shows all the background being stitched first, then the R being stitched on top.  Not going to happen!  Not with the amount of time I had to do this one in thanks to OAAT on the 12 Days of Christmas.

Here's another Rose, a freebie from La-D-Da:

We also have Reindeer, these ones are from Daffycat:

And Rapunzel from Teresa Wentzler:

I don't have any R designers in my stash but Rosewood Manor do some lovely Quaker designs and Renato Parolin has a wonderful selection of different tree designs.

What I do have for R is a Rotation.  I had a very successful rotation last year based on four different SALs for each weekend and one focus piece per month.  This year I am changing it to suit my current projects.

The rotation will start on the 26th of each month.  It may seem random, but that's the day for the ABC SAL I am stitching the Enchanted Alphabet for.  Then I will move on to the next Brooke's Books' letter to get it done in time for this post on the first Saturday.  Once I finish the BB letter I will stitch my piece for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL and then the piece for the Christmas Ornie SAL.  Once those have all been done it should be the end of the first week of the month which leaves me three weeks to stitch on my focus pieces.  I might do one piece for all three weeks, I might do three pieces for a week each.  We shall see.

In my Reader we have the following friends:

(home of IHSW)

The Return of..

(who has the La-D-Da Rose in her header!)

Finally, it is traditional to give Roses to your Sweetheart on Valentine's Day but on this blog we prefer to send stitching!  If you would like to join in with the Secret Stitching Sweetheart blog hop this year, click on the Heart Photo and scroll to the bottom of the post for more details:

Friday, 6 January 2017

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas....

I stitched some
Brown behind a Drummer
Dark Red on a Piper.
Yellow Plume on a Lord.
Brown Hair on a Lady,
Brown on a Cow,
Water for a Swan,
Black for a Goose,
Gooooooooolllllllllllllddddddddddd on the Rings,
Blue on the Birds,
Brown on the Hens,
Grey on the Doves
and completed the Partridge, but not his Pear Tree!

And here is how the full piece looks after the SAL:

stitched on 32 count white evenweave

Honestly, this SAL was so much fun!  I did the "hard-core" version where each day I stitched the blocks referred to in the song.  So on the First Day I stitched on Block 1, on the Second Day I stitched on Blocks 2 and 1, on the Third Day I stitched on Blocks 3, 2 and 1 and so on until I stitched on all 12 of the blocks on the Twelfth Day.

On work days I had to stitch things like the little green and red corner decorations in order to do something on every block but I always managed a full length on the specific day.  For the nine non-working days I stitched a full length on every block and then moved onto my focus block.  Originally that was the Angel at the top and then it became the Partridge.

The plan is to finish the Partridge block for the January theme on the Christmas Ornie SAL Blog and then complete one block a month for the rest of the year.  I'll work on the border and the other Angel inbetween. 

I have absolutely loved OAAT on this, it's even been my evening stitch during my son's bath-time.  That's when I stitch all those long boring borders.  But it does mean there's not much to show or blog about this time!  It also took up a LOT of time each day, which is why I am so far behind with emails and blog reading.

I have been keeping up with the Ten Stitches a Day challenge too.  I do my ten first thing in the morning and post immediately.  Here is how it looks after 6 days:

stitched on 32 count Light Mocha linen

Finally, I will be running the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop on Valentine's Day.

Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop
It's really very simple, all you have to do is email me a picture of something you have stitched which is suitable for a stitching friend on Valentine's Day.  It could be a heart, or a pair of cute creatures, or the word "love" or anything which warms your heart. Really anything you think a fellow stitcher would like to receive in her email Inbox.   It can be something you've stitched in the past or something you've made especially for this year.  It could also be quilted or sewn this year as I know some of my followers do other crafts too.

Send me the email by 10th February.

When I have all the emails I will randomise them and send one to each participant on 13th February.  Then on 14th February you must post the picture you receive onto your blog under the heading
 Secret Stitching Sweetheart. 
There will be a list on my blog of everyone joining in, so check out all the blogs and find out who got your picture and identify yourself  in their comments as their
Secret Stitching Sweetheart. 

Does that make sense to everyone?  I hope so!

If you'd like to be involved then leave a comment on this post, I'll be putting little reminders up from time to time and will email on 9th February to make sure you send the pic in time.  

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January WIPocalypse Introduction

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.  Measi always gives us a topic to discuss too.

January - Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

Each year since 2011 I have chosen a number of projects to focus on that year, starting with my "11 in '11" and increasing to "17 in '17" for this year.  For 2017 the list includes a number of SAL pieces which will be stitched each month for various SALs, some WIPs I really want to see finished and two BAP long-term projects I treated myself to last year for my Big Birthday.  Here is the full 17:

  1. Chatelaine Designs - Gardens of London
  2. Lyndisfarne - Discworld Map
  3. Imaginating - Hallowe'en
  4. Oberlin - Witch
  5. Joan Elliott - 12 Days of Christmas
  6. Brooke's Books - Stitcher's Alphabet
  7. Lavender & Lace - Enchanted Alphabet 
  8. Nora Corbett - Letter M Fairy
  9. Teresa Wentzler - Byzantine Ornaments x 3
  10. Jannlynn - Gathering Honey
  11. Kustom Krafts - Snap Dragon
  12. Dragon Dreams - Dragon of the Winter Moon
  13. Joan Elliott - Mermaid
  14. Drawn Thread - Spots of Seasons x 3
  15. The Workbasket - Fox Forest
  16. Just Nan - Spring in the Square
  17. Dam Good Crafts - Dracula Book Cover

I have been totally focused on project number 5 from that list for the Stitch Maynia 12 Days SAL which started on 25th December.  Here is the 8th Day's progress:

Each day I start a new block and stitch one length of thread there and then stitch one length of thread on each of the previous days' blocks.  You can see that Day 1 and Day 2 are building quite nicely now.

After I have stitched each of the daily blocks I focus on the Angel at the top:

She is a finish!  Kind of, I haven't attached the beads or stitched the metallic around the border.  My next immediate goal is to focus on the Partridge in the Pear Tree for January's post on the Christmas Ornie SAL Blog.  The Angel is for December's theme, only one day late!

I started another SAL today; this one is for the Ten-a-Day group, also on FB.  The idea is that you chose a design of roughly 3,600 stitches (60 x 60) and stitch a mere ten stitches each day to finish it within the year.

Clare had chosen Just Nan's Spring in the Square which I had in my stash so I decided to follow her lead.  Here are my first ten stitches:

stitched on 32 count Light Mocha linen.

I had to search for the group on FB this morning to post my progress and unfortunately the logics behind the internet decided that meant I wanted to see Tena adverts all day!  Thank you very much to the person who named this SAL with such humour.  When you are watching FlossTube you really don't want to keep seeing the Tena Man advert every new video!

Measi has made one change to WIPocalypse this year.  Instead of following the moon cycles, we will now post on the last Sunday of every month.  She is still doing the Discussion Topics which I am very pleased about.  I love a chance to chat and to find out more about my fellow bloggers too.

Finally, I will be continuing with the ever popular Blog Hops this year.  We will have Valentine's, Easter, the return of the Summer Postcard, Hallowe'en and the Advent Calendar.  All at the appropriate time of the year.  I will be posting about the Secret Stitching Sweethearts for Valentine's Day very soon so watch this space.


Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year's Eve Pie

I have been doing really well keeping up with the 12 Days of Christmas SAL during my time off work.  Here is the work for the 6th Day of Christmas:

and the lovely Angel:

And here is the 7th Day:

I had a full day at work today and only managed 30 minutes stitching during my break.  I stitched a little bit of dark green on Day 7 and those little green corner stitches on each of the other days!  So I did technically stitch on every block today, even if it was just 1 stitch in the corner.

It is customary at this time of year to look back at achievements and make plans for the coming year.  I have already done my WIPocalypse Review and my Smalls Review so now it's time for an overview.  I completed 45 different projects this year, from the small to the large.  Elizabeth Shephard was probably the largest individual design I finished this year and the Stitch for Syria the smallest.

Just in case you missed any finishes, here's a full run-down:

I have prepared some pie for you all.  Firstly, here is December's pie, not many ingredients this month!

And here is the annual pie divided by designer:

You can see that Nora Corbett is way out in front with five different designs (4 letters and a cottage).  The Sugar Skulls and the monthly Stitcher's Alphabet have earned Brooke Nolan her second place and Just Nan comes third with various Hallowe'en designs plus Spring Typography.

I have tracked my spending this year, even though I wasn't Stitching From Stash.  December was another good month:

CSC Subs £8.72
Sparklies Fabric £22.50
Total £31.22

My total for the entire year was just under £500 divided as follows:

Charts £151.10
Fabric £146.38
Magazines £87.77
Threads £86.31
Beads £24.45
Storage £4.05

But I did spend £156 on just two projects for next year!  My Discworld Map was £70 for the chart, fabric and multiple skeins of DMC.  The Chatelaine was £86 for chart, fabric and speciality threads (excluding the ones that were gifted to me for my Birthday).

Finally, after a terrible year of news and world events we got 3 pieces of good news today.  My cousin's new baby arrived today, she has been named after me (well, technically after my middle name which is a family name) and it's a new initial so I have an excuse to buy Nora Corbett's M Fairy now to match her cousin's fairies from this year!

Have a very Happy Old Year's Night 

and a very Peaceful New Year's Day

Thursday, 29 December 2016

December TUSAL and Smalls SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I had two Small Challenges:

2. The Christmas Ornie SAL Blog

For both challenges I chose a larger piece which could be broken down into segments to meet the monthly themes.

For the Hallowe'en Blog it was Counting Bats by Just Nan:

stitched on 32 count lavender linen

And this little Bad Bat Fairy based on a Lucie Heaton design:

And Just Nan's Ghastly, Ghostly Ghouls to cover 2 months:

And for the Christmas SAL it was the Christmas Cubes by The Primitive Hare:

stitched on 35 count Country Mocha linen

I stitched six of the Daffycat Reindeer for the Christmas SAL for the months when there wasn't a suitable cube:

I also made use of the Fifth Fridays in three months and stitched three of the Teresa Wentzler Byzantine Ornaments:

stitched on 28 count burgundy linen

There were other smalls throughout the year and by clicking on the label "Ornament SAL" you can see them all.

The next SAL is the Tusal 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:

Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas for the Stitch Maynia FB Challenge

On the First Day of Christmas this is what I stitched:

On the Second Day of Christmas this is what I stitched:

On the Third Day of Christmas this is what I stitched:

On the Fourth Day of Christmas this is what I stitched:

On the Fifth Day of Christmas this is what I stitched:

Here is the whole piece so far:

And here is a close-up of the Angel:

Each day I stitch one length of thread on each of the blocks and then spend the rest of the day stitching on the Angel.  In the evening I stitch more border!

Finally, I have put up the new Sign-Up Page for Gifted Gorgeousness and added a new logo for 2017.  I have noticed that a few people still have the link to the 2015 SAL in their sidebars.  Neither the 2015 nor the 2016 will link now, I have retired those pages so please link using this new photo and the new page link.  I hope that lots of you will join in again next year, the rules are pretty free and easy and there are sometimes giveaways too.