Monday, 19 February 2018

February IHSW

This weekend was International Hermit & Stitch Weekend and once again I was working on Sunday!  Never mind.  I got lots done today instead.

On Friday I went to my Crafty Coffee Morning and took Mrs Peggotty's Alice with me.  Here is where she was last IHSW:

And here is where she is now:

stitched over one on 25 count blue evenweave

The purple on the right is the start of her skirt.  The top right green stitch shows the extent of the two pages I am stitching.  In order to complete this in a year I need to stitch two pages per month but there is plenty of time to catch up and Linda had restarted her's last time I checked!

The second piece I have been stitching this weekend is my focus for the month; Gardens of London by Chatelaine.  Here is where I started on Friday:

And here is where I stopped today:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten

I have finished all the plain xxxx in this part and have started the speciality stitches.  Close up of Rhodes Stitches and Algerian Eyelets:

The next IHSW will be 16th - 18th March so make sure you note the date in your diary or come and join us in the Facebook Group - IHSW on Facebook.

Finally, our thoughts are turning towards Spring 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 2017

The Easter Hop is the second peak of our Five Hops Challenge.  Everyone who joins in with all five hops this year (either as a participant or as a commenter) will be entered into the Five Hops draw at the end of the year.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Happy Dance with the February TUSAL


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:

What's that you say?
The borders on Dracula have joined up?
Does that mean a finish?

It most certainly does!

This is Dracula by Dam Good Crafts (chart no longer available)

stitched on 32 count Amortentia from Chromatic Alchemy

The fabric was a gift from Tiffany and looks absolutely stunning with the solid black stitching.  I plan to photocopy the finished piece and make that into a book cover as I did with Book of Spells.  Then I will frame the original piece.

The other piece in the photo is my Chatelaine, Gardens of London:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten

Making nice progress going round and round with various shades of green!

Finally, the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop was a great success, I believe everyone now knows who their Secret Stitching Sweetheart is and hopefully has some new friends.  Here are the collages of the designs sent in, some absolutely gorgeous stitching and a cute dragon too!

Don't forget to leave a comment on the original post if you want to be included in the Five Hops Challenge this year.

Gifted Gorgeousness February Link-Up Post

Welcome to the February 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.

I have stitched on quite a few Gifted pieces over the last month and received a Gorgeous Gift too!

The main focus for January was the Discworld Mappe by Lyndisfarne Designs - chart was a gift and this will be a gift for my older son:

stitched on 32 count Murano custom dyed by Sparklies

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

Stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

Diamond Bouquet by Just Nan - chart was a gift:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

My Chatelaine was a gift for my special Birthday in 2016 and will be my focus piece for the rest of this month. Here is two day's progress:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast from Crafty Kitten

I am focusing on the plain x stitching for now. When I finish the green area I will go back and fill in the speciality stitches and metallics for the centre.

I was lucky enough to receive two gifts myself this month. The first was the lovely hearts from Wee Witchy Steph I showed in my Valentine Secret Stitching Sweetheart post:

The second was this amazing book pouch the incredible Christine from The Alchymyst's Study made especially for me. I won her annual competition to guess the number of finishes, books and shoes she has in each year and my prize arrived this week.

Smaug and the Lonely Mountain!

The cutest tag: 

The reverse of the bag, in Middle Earth map parchment:

I love my bag, I don't know who the designer is or if Christine charted it herself, she is a very talented person!

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 "February 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.



Make sure you go and visit the other participants and leave comments.  The lovely Katie Jeremiah's Mom is hosting another giveaway this month so watch out for her post for a chance to win something gorgeous.

Finally, don't forget my Five Hops Challenge.  The first Hop this year was the Secret Stitching Sweetheart previously mentioned.  If you leave a comment on that post letting me know you've been visiting the Sweethearts then you get an entry into the Five Hops Challenge.  Participants are automatically entered.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Secret Stitching Sweethearts Blog Hop

Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to the Secret Stitching Sweethearts Blog Hop.  My annual chance to show some stitchy love to our fellow stitchers.  Over the last month my inbox has been filled with various lovely stitched and crafted pieces on the theme of Love and Friendship.  At the weekend I sent out them to randomly allocated participants who will be showing their Valentines on their blogs today.

Please hop round and see if they have found their Secret Stitching Sweetheart yet.  The following blogs are participating this year:

 💖 Craftartista 💖
💖 Ariadne from Greece 💖
💖 Aimetu's Stitching 💖
💖 Le Coeur Celtique 💖
💖 Jeremiah's Mom 💖
💖 Elfin Stitches 💖
💖 Needle, Pen & Sword 💖
💖 Mary's Thread 💖
💖 Food for Thought 💖
💖 Random Ramblings 💖
💖 Jocondine 💖
💖 Kitten Stitching 💖
💖 A Stitching Grandma 💖
💖 Tiffstitches a Blog 💖

As the organiser of the Hop I don't get a secret sweetheart but sometimes I still get a heart!  

The pink cube is the design I stitched last year by Amint Kipatten but the painted canvas and the felt heart are new.  They are belated Christmas gifts from the lovely Wee Witchy Steph at Show and Tell.

Aren't they lovely?  Steph is doing lots of crafting at the moment and makes some gorgeous things.

I did receive another gift today but I'm saving that for Gifted Gorgeousness tomorrow.

Everyone who is participating in the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop will be entered into my Five Hops Challenge this year.  But even if you are not a participant you can still be counted for one entry by commenting on this post and letting me know you've been visiting the Sweethearts' blogs.

Finally, I am saving my stitching pictures for GG tomorrow but this is how my focus piece for the month looked when I picked it up yesterday:

Yes, it's a Chatelaine month!  Stayed tuned for progress pictures on Gardens of London.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Christmas and Hallowe'en Unseasonal Stitching

It's been a busy week with work, voluntary work, appointments and coffee mornings!  But I do have a small amount of stitching progress to show.

First up is my Christmas project - Just Nan's 12 Days of Christmas.  I started this one on Christmas and each of the 12 Days of Stitchmas I started a new block and then stitched a part of the previous blocks.  For February I completed Block 2 - Two Turtle Doves:

Here is the top section of the design so far:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

 Some slow progress on the border for Mrs Peggotty's Alice and Flamingo:

stitched over one on 25 count blue evenweave

One of my friends at the Crafty Coffee Morning was enabled by me to buy all five of the Alice designs and she's making incredible progress on the White Rabbit.  She's stitching on 14 count so it much bigger but still has almost an entire page done.  The colours look stunning in real life!

You can see all the designs here - Mrs Peggotty Arts

My Hallowe'en design for this year is Jardin Prive's Happy Hallowe'en Night.  This week I stitched a fence and a gate plus some of the lettering.  This does not tie in with the monthly theme of Candy Corn and/or Food unfortunately!

stitched on 32 count Cognac linen

Here is the whole piece so far:

I have one more piece in my rotation to stitch over the weekend and then I can move to the Focus Piece for the month - Chatelaine's Gardens of London.  I'm really looking forward to getting back to that piece.

Finally, tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop.  If you have already signed up, I need your photos tomorrow too.   Don't forget by taking part or commenting in every Blog Hop this year you will get entered into my Five Hops Challenge at the end of the year!  Click on the photo for more details:

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Zodiac SAL - Aquarius

Welcome to the  Zodiac SAL.  I will be posting on the first Saturday of each month with information about that month's sign and a linky for anyone who wants to join in.  The linky will stay open until the end of the month.

Last month we had three people link up with me, please do visit them now if you missed their posts before:

Aquarius is the Water Carrier (or Pourer) but is an Air sign ruled by Uranus and Saturn.  Aquarians are both between 20th January and 18th February.

The constellation of Aquarius is found in a region often called the Sea due to its profusion of constellations with watery associations such as Cetus the whale, Pisces the fish, and Eridanus the river.  At apparent magnitude 2.9, Beta Aquarii is the brightest star in the constellation.

Aquarius is identified as GU.LA "The Great One" in the Babylonian star catalogues and represents the god Ea himself, who is commonly depicted holding an overflowing vase.  The Babylonian star-figure appears on entitlement stones and cylinder seals from the second millennium.  It contained the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age.  In Old Babylonian astronomy, Ea was the ruler of the southernmost quarter of the Sun's path, the "Way of Ea", corresponding to the period of 45 days on either side of winter solstice. 
Aquarius was also associated with the destructive floods that the Babylonians regularly experienced, and thus was negatively connoted.
In Ancient Egypt astronomy, Aquarius was associated with the annual flood of the Nile; the banks were said to flood when Aquarius put his jar into the river, beginning spring.

In Greek mythology the water carrier is Ganymede, a beautiful Phrygian youth.  Ganymede was the son of Tros, King of Troy.  While tending to his father's flocks on Mount Ida, Ganymede was spotted by Zeus.  The king of gods flew down to the mountain in the form of a large bird, whisking Ganymede away to the heavens.  Ever since, the boy has served as cupbearer to the gods.

Aquarius People: What They’re Like
Aquarius is the sign of friendship and teamwork, so Aquarians tend to be more focused on the group than the individual. Freedom is important to Aquarians, which is why they like to keep things light on an interpersonal level. That way, they won’t feel bad about running off to the opposite corner of the world at a moment’s notice. At times, this nomadic strategy backfires, leaving them lonely and disconnected. Aquarians are uncomfortable with too much intimacy. These free spirits belong to the world, and feel off-balance giving their considerable energy to just one person. While their friends get first-class treatment, families and lovers see a different side of Aquarius: moody, brooding, anxious and neurotic. Or they may pick one (and only one) person to open up to, getting attached to the point of obsession. Learning to accept and express their emotions can help Aquarius people avoid the massive freakouts and anger flashes that come from pretending everything’s cool when it isn’t. Aquarians appreciate a quirky or eccentric twist and have some colorful characters and countercultural personalities as friends.

Famous Aquarius People & Celebrities:
Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Bob Marley, Harry Styles, Justin Timberlake, Emma Roberts, Alicia Keys, Bobby Brown, Nick Carter, Sarah Palin, Mischa Barton, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Lautner, Ed Sheeran, Shakira, The Weeknd, John Travolta, Chloe Grace Moretz, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Dre, Ayn Rand, William Henry Harrison, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Virginia Woolf, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Charles Dickens, Toni Morrison, Christian Dior

Marley was Dead by Stitcher Anon

For the stitching part of the SAL I have chosen a series of designs from the Donna Kooler book 365 Tiny Cross Stitch Designs. I am stitching them all on one piece of 32 count Millenium Blue fabric. Here is Aquarius:

And here is the whole piece so far:

I am also stitching the Satsuma Street Zodiac and here is Libra which represents my older son and my husband:

stitched on 28 count black Jobelan

My younger son is an Aquarian, although I do not recognise him from the description above at all!  His birth sampler was rather delayed as I could not find a design I really liked until this chart was gifted to me, Teresa Wentzler - You Were Hatched:

This is the place for you to link up if you want to join in, please link to the actual blog post, not your blog homepage and include your name so we can see who has joined in.


Finally, you may have heard of the Five Peaks Challenge?

Climb Five Mountains

A little bit too strenous for me, so here's my variation:

I run five blog hops per year (see this page for details).  Anyone who takes part or comments on all five hops will be entered into a draw at the end of the year.  Taking part is obvious but as not everyone can take part in all five you still get a chance if you comment on my post which is hosting the Blog Hop.  If you take part AND comment on the post, you get TWO entries into the draw.

The first Hop is the Secret Stitching Sweetheart on 14th February and you still have time to sign up to take part.  If not, then remember to leave a comment on my Blog Hop post.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The First Pie of the New Year

We have reached the end of the first month of the year so it is time for the first pie of the year!  And the first reckoning for Stitch From Stash.  Yes, I am SFS again.  I don't have a lot of spare money to spend and what I do have I spend on my hobby.  So I won't be claiming fictious money for my finishes but I will be monitoring my spending to see what my weaknesses are!

2017 was the year of the Magazine whereas 2016 was Charts closely followed by Fabric, thanks to two large purchases for my special Birthday that year.

You've seen most of my stitching progress this month already for my WIPocalypse post.  But here's another new start!  This is another one of my "18 in '18"; Satsuma Street's Libra.  For my husband and my older son (also my Dad and my Grandad, there are a lot of Libra men in my life!).

stitched on 28 count Black Jobelan

Not much there but you can tell it is Libra already.  The goal is to stitch the smaller bird on the left this month; the larger bird on the right next month and the base the following month.  Then move on to Aquarius for my younger son.

You can see from the Pie chart that I spent 2 days on that design:

The Discworld Mappe got the most days as my January focus piece followed by 12 Days for 12 Days of Stitchmas and Dracula which has been my work lunchbreak piece.

Here is the expenditure for the month:
Mrs Peggotty Alice £5.32
JN Chart return -£10.00
Belfast Fabric £13.95
JN Charm £2.31
Total £11.58

There is a return on there because the chart I ordered last month was supposed to come with an embellishment pack but it was missing.  So SewandSo gave me a rebate which I spent on some 32 count County Mocha (a store cupboard essential) and a cute charm for my last Just Nan Small:

Noah's Rainbow and Charm

A lot of the Just Nan charms are no longer available so Nan is discontinuing the charts.  I was lucky to snap this one up.  Most of the rest of the charms are generic butterflies or bees but this one is unique.

It doesn't bother me if I don't use the charted charm, half the fun is finding an alternative on eBay or Etsy.

Finally, a number of people have already signed up for the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop but there is still time for more.  The deadline for photos is 10th February.  In case you are stuck for inspiration, here are a few freebie designs.  Most of these would stitch up in a few days:

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

Sunday, 28 January 2018

January WIPocalypse SALs

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".  I started this idea back in 2011 with my "11 in '11" which was not a success.  Since then I have gradually made my targets more realistic!

Just for fun, here is my old 11 in '11 list:

I completed three of them in 2011 - Frosty Morning, Heart from Stitch Graffitti and Bluebeard's Mermaid.  How funny to see Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas on there which finally got stitched last year.  The Art Nouveau Head is a UFO and the rest never even got started!

Anyway, I've done better than that this year already, having stitched on 9 of my list in January.  You can see the full list here.

1. Lavender & Lace - Enchanted Alphabet Spooky Conversion:

I stitched the S

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily Murano by Sparklies

2. Lyndisfarne Designs - Discworld Mappe:

From here:

To here:

stitched on 32 count Murano custom dyed by Sparklies

3. Just Nan - Summer in the Square (10-a-Day)

stitched on 32 count Light Mocha linen

4. Donna Kooler - Zodiac:

stitched on 32 count Millenium Blue linen

5. Jardin Prive - Happy Hallowe'en Night:

stitched on 32 Cognac linen

6. Dam Good Crafts - Dracula:

stitched on 32 count Amortentia Belfast from Chromatic Alchemy

7. Just Nan - 12 Days of Christmas:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

8. Mrs Peggotty - Alice & Flamingo:

stitched on 25 count blue evenweave
so close to the bottom left corner now!

9. Just Nan - Diamond Bouquet:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

Pretty impressive!  Apart from the JN Ornaments for my 30-a-Day everything I have stitched this month is on my WIPocalypse list.   Anyone would think I liked 32 count fabrics...

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss too.

January 28 – What SAL’s are you participating in this year?

Obviously the WIPocalypse!  And these ones too:

Zodiac Club - post the first Saturday each month
Gifted Gorgeousness - post anything gifted on the 15th
TUSAL or Totally Useless SAL - post your ORTs on the New Moon each month
Hallowe'en Ornie Blog - a different spooky theme each month
Christmas Ornie Blog - a different festive theme each month
IHSW - 3rd full weekend of each month
Smalls SAL - last Friday of each month

As well as SALs I also host 5 blog hops a year.  You can read all about them here and I have listed them on this post too:

In February we will have the Secret Stitching Sweetheart for Valentine's Day - send me a suitable picture and I will forward it to another participant, hop around the blogs to see who got your picture.

At Easter it's the Easter Treasure Hunt - sign up and be allocated a letter, post a picture and your letter at Easter, hop round the blogs (like an Easter Bunny) and find the Mystery Phrase.

During the whole of the Summer we usually have the Summer Postcard Hop - send me a picture for a postcard plus a holiday message, I will forward it to another participant, hop around the blogs to see who got your postcard.

At Hallowe'en it's the Trick or Treat Mystery Phrase - same as Easter but spookier!

During Advent I will host our Calendar - sign up and be allocated a dated door, post a picture on your day and add some information about your Christmas traditions. I copy the pictures onto my blog so we have the full calendar for everyone to see.

Finally you can see from the list of Hops that the next one will be the Secret Stitching Sweetheart in February.  You still have time to sign up for that one.  Just leave a comment or send me an email saying you would like to take part.  I will need a photo of your stitching item by 10th February.