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!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Give Me a Blog Until it is 7

And I will show you the stitching!

Apologies to Aristotle.

Happy 7th Blogaversary to me!

I have no idea why I only have one of a pair of bunches, I assume the other one was hidden behind my head.  Love the 1970s wallpaper though.

By the time I had my 7th Birthday I had acquired a little brother (you can just see him at the edge of the photo) and moved house, yet again!  We did stay in that house for 8 years though to make up for the numerous moves before then.  I was at the same Primary School and in Mrs Blake's class.  It was this year that I experienced my first loss - Jeremy the Gerbil passed away while I was at school one day.  I was devastated and Grandad promised to make a headstone for him.  Mum expected a little wooden cross made in his shed.  Not a foot high piece of marble with his name carved in it!   Grandad was a stonemason by trade, she should have realised.

Here are my blog stats:
7 years
757 posts
831,532 pageviews

I'd also like to wish my Blog-Twins Susan and Calamity Jr a very Happy Birthday too!

Last year I was working on my Christmas and Hallowe'en pieces and the same goes for this year although they are different designs.  I have also done some fully finishing this afternoon, trying to get back into that habit, and got some progress on both Diamond Bouquet and my Alice SAL which I took with me to visit my Godmother.  It's amazing how much stitching you can get done on two 3 hour train journeys.

Here is Jardin Prive's Happy Hallowe'en Night:

stitched on 32 count Cognac linen

And this is my Christmas progress on Just Nan's 12 Days of Christmas:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

Amazing progress on Alice by Mrs Peggotty.  I need to complete two pages per month to finish this by the end of the year.  The piece is 7 pages tall by 3.5 pages wide.  I have stitched nearly all of the right 7 pages:

stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

It's so nice to reach the flamingo.  Stitching the neck is really easy and very quick too.

This afternoon I did some narrow bands on my Diamond Bouquet by Just Nan:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

Because they were speciality stitches they were very quick and that left me time to do some FFO'ing.  Yay!  Sunday afternoon used to be the time for that and it's a good habit to get back into.

Here is Just Nan's Painted Lady which I completed back in February.  I have mounted it on patterned card and then on a page from an old Monet calendar.  Monet's paintings make great backdrops for floral designs.  I would recommend going into a certain chain of bookshops at the end of January and buying up their calendars for 75% off.

Close-up of the finished piece:

It's been a good year on the blog again.  The Blog Hops continue to be popular and attract new participants.  The Gifted Gorgeousness SAL posts are the most viewed on the blog.  I guess people come back to link up and see who else has joined in.  The Blogger of the Week was new last year and continues to grow with 55 different bloggers featured so far.  I'm taking part in all the old blogging favourites such as WIPocalyse, the TUSAL, the Smalls SAL and the invigorated IHSW as well as the newer FB based Stitch Maynia.  I will be starting 31 Just Nan smalls one per day throughout May if anyone wants to join the Just Nan-a-thon do let me know.  Any Just Nan project you like.  If I have it I will start that one too.

Finally, no competition this year but just for fun - what has been your best blogging or stitching moment of the last 12 months?  Leave a comment below!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Zodiac SAL - Aries

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:

Aries is the Latin name for the ram and the symbol for the sign shows the ram's curly horns.  Aries is a Fire sign and covers those born between 21st March and 19th April.  It is the first sign of the Zodiac.

In ancient Egyptian astronomy, Aries was associated with the god Amon-Ra, who was depicted as a man with a ram's head and represented fertility and creativity.  By Babylonian times it came to represent the Ram and then specifically the ram whose fleece became the Golden Fleece of Ancient Greek mythology.

Aries People: What They’re Like
Aries people tend to have a lot of energy, which they apply to everything from tackling supersized projects to unleashing their lusty libidos with a lover. This confident sign is known to leap before looking, diving into each new experience with a zest for life that few others can muster. As the zodiac’s first sign, they love to be number-one and can be amazing trendsetters and trailblazers. These people are true originals who inspire the rest of us. With all of their fire power and can-do attitude, there’s nothing an Aries can’t (and won’t) take on. At times, Aries can be selfish or overly focused on themselves. It can be a “blind spot” for them, and friends of Aries may need to gently remind them from time to time to share their toys. Aries are born with an innate sense of entitlement, which helps them shatter glass ceilings but can also be off-putting to people in extreme doses. This go-getter sign can come across as abrasive or overly aggressive. However, Aries will never back down from a challenge and can be heroic champions of anyone in distress.Source: Astrostyle - Aries

Famous Aries People & Celebrities:

Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye, Keira Knightley, Victoria Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Gore, Heath Ledger, Rosie O’Donnell, Gloria Steinem, Marc Jacobs, Emma Watson, Tyler Oakley, Kourtney Kardashian, Big Sean, Kristen Stewart, Pharrell Williams, Jamie-Lynn Spears, Vivienne Westwood, Tommy Hilfiger, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, William Wordsworth, Jessie J, Brendan Urie, Robert Downey Jr., Peyton Manning, Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler

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 Aries:

Here is the whole piece so far:

I had to stitch some guide lines in to make sure Aries was stitched in exactly the right place!

I am also stitching the Satsuma Street Zodiac and usually I would show Libra which is my current WIP.  However I started a different Satsuma Street design for Easter and even though it's not Zodiac themed I will show my progress.  This is Nest Egg AKA Goose in a Bonnet:

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Marie's Daffodil by Chromatic Alchemy

My cousin's two daughters are both Aries and the description seems to fit the younger one of the two better than the older! We went to visit them just after Easter and had a wonderful time with them all. Two years ago I stitched them a Nora Corbett letter each:

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, the Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop is still ongoing. You have until the end of Friday 13th to leave a comment with the solution to the Mystery Phrase to enter the draw to try win a Mystery prize!

Saturday, 31 March 2018

March Pie and Stitch from Stash

It was an excellent month for Stitch from Stash and the bank account is looking very healthy!

Nothing    £ 0.00
Total         £ 0.00

Here is the Pie for March, the days allocated to Mrs Peggotty's Alice are generally where I worked a full day and only got a little bit of time in my lunch break to stitch.

The Satsuma Street Goose is my new start for Easter, the official title is Nest Egg but I'm calling it Goose in a Bonnet:

stitched on 32 count Marie's Daffodil from Chromatic Alchemy

If the white of the goose doesn't show up enough on the fabric I will add a grey backstitch.

Finally, the Easter Blog Hop is still going on, everyone has now posted after a slight confusion caused by me not realising that the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Easter a week after the Church of England!  One of the participants is also hosting a giveaway of an Easter themed chart so make sure you leave a comment on her blog to try and win it.

Friday, 30 March 2018

March 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!

Three French Hens from 12 days of Christmas

I have had a busy month with work both paid and voluntary so missed a few days on my 30-a-Day but did manage to complete Potpourri except for the beading.

stitched on 32 count white evenweave

and started Charm Garden:

stitched on 32 count white linen

Charm Garden is a little bit bigger than some of the others so I might stitch more than 30 a day to try get it done in less than a month.  The target with these is at least one per month.

Finally, don't forget the Easter Blog Hop is under way right now.  There are a lot of participants this year but there is also plenty of time to visit and leave comments.  The links all go direct to the Hop post now it make it easier for you to find the relevant post.

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2018

Welcome to this year's Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop, the biggest one yet!  I was so pleased as more and more people signed up for the Hop this year.  I am sure there will be some new blogs for everyone to discover as well as some firm favourites from previous years.

I don't have any new Easter Stitching unfortunately but I do have a lovely Spring piece stitched since last Easter:

Just Nan  - Spring in the Square

I am starting the Blog Hop off this year with this letter:

Get a piece of paper, make a note of that letter and then hop round the blogs in the following order:

Each blog will feature a letter which will spell out the mystery phrase, the first line of a poem this year.  Don't forget that some people will post later than others because of time zones.  Come back here at the end and leave a comment telling me what the mystery phrase is.  I have enabled comment moderation so the answers will not appear for two weeks.  Closing date is Friday 13th April.  How auspicious!

Don't forget that everyone who enters gets another entry into my Five Peaks Blog Hop Challenge this year!

Here's another Spring finish from Just Nan:

And here is what will be an Easter new start:

The fabric was a RAK from Tiff and is a little bit more acidic than in the photo,  It's a Chromatic Alchemy Belfast called Marie's Daffodil.  I will be stitching this for the next four days so will have something nice to show you hopefully on Easter Monday.  The project bag was a gift from Lisa the Inspired Stitcher.  It is the only frog I want near me!

Finally, there will be a new Blogger of the Week post up later today so don't forget to go and visit to see who it is.  I will also be announcing the winner of the competition we hosted there recently.

Have a great Easter!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

March WIPocalypse New To You

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. Just Nan - Summer in the Square - a Finish:

stitched on 32 count Light Mocha Linen

2. Donna Kooler - Zodiac:

stitched on 32 count Millenium Blue linen

3. Jardin Prive - Happy Hallowe'en Night:

stitched on 32 count Cognac linen

4. Just Nan - 12 Days of Christmas:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain Linen

5. Satsuma Street - Libra:

stitched on 28 count Black Jobelan

6. Mrs Peggotty - Alice and Flamingo:

stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

7. Just Nan - Diamond Bouquet:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

8. Lyndisfarne Designs - Discworld Mappe.  This was my focus piece for the month and went from here:

to here:

stitched on 32 count Murano custom-dyed by Sparklies

That really is a particularly large head!

You can see the pages I have worked on so far:

The next time I pick it up in May, the plan is to finish the giant head, work down to page 2 (another pointing finger and some flipper.  Then move across to page 7.  Then after that I will work across the top of the design to the banner in the top right which will be backstitch hell!

Measi always sets us a discussion topic:

March – What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?

My newest designers all come from Etsy, that seems to be the place for newbies to launch themselves. It's cheap and easy to set up and Etsy shop and if you offer PDFs there are few overheads and no postage.

My list of 18 includes a couple of new designers for me but the main one is Mrs Peggotty. Her shop is sub-titled "Where art meets literature" and she has some wonderful colouring pages as well as her gorgeous cross stitch designs. Linda talked me into doing a SAL with her this year, having seen her Mad Hatter I couldn't resist. She is already asking which one we are doing next year!

This is what Alice will look like completed, you can see what I have stitched further up this post:

Finally, this is your final call for the Easter Blog Hop sign up. If you want to have a letter for the Mystery Phrase then you need to email me by Tuesday 27th March as I will be deciding on that phrase on Wednesday. If you just plan to hop around then you have plenty of time, the Hop post will go up on my blog the morning of Good Friday - 30th March and the competition will stay open until my boys go back to school! (17th April)