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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

2017 Online Advent Calendar

Here is our Online Advent Calendar, it will be updated every day. 
Scroll down to see the latest picture and a link to the poster's blog.

Pop over to each blog to see how they celebrate.
This year I have asked bloggers about their plans and traditions for Boxing Day.

Having sent out the emails to all the participants I then learned that not every country has Boxing Day traditions!  So I thought I would start this post by sharing a little of the history of this day.

Boxing Day is 26th December, the day after Christmas Day and it was the day that "post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box".   This is usually a cash gift and nowadays may be given to paper deliverers, milkmen and refuse collecters as a little thank you for turning out every day in all weathers to provide us with essential services.   It is a dying tradition however.

You can read more about Boxing Day here - Wikipedia - Boxing Day

There are three more usual ways to spend the day in the 21st Century:

1. with the side of the family you didn't see on Christmas Day
2. going mad in the Boxing Day sales or being forced to work to serve those mad folk
3. sitting on the sofa watching TV and having a diet of leftover turkey and Quality Street sweets.

Of course, for us stitchers, it's more likely to be playing with our stash and maybe a new start?  I'll be doing the 12 Days of Christmas SAL again.  Starting Just Nan's 12 Days of Christmas on Christmas Day, stitching Day 1 on Day 1, Days 2 and 1 on Day 2, Days 3, 2 and 1 on Day 3 and so on.


So follow the Advent Calendar Blog Hop and learn more about what our international friends will be doing on that day.

Friday 1st December
Kitten Stitching

Saturday 2nd December


Sunday 3rd December


Monday 4th December


Tuesday 5th December


Wednesday 6th December


Thursday 7th December


Friday 8th December


Saturday 9th December


Sunday 10th December


Monday 11th December


Belated 8th December


Tuesday 12th December


Wednesday 13th December


Thursday 14th December


Friday 15th December


Saturday 16th December


Sunday 17th December - Double Delight Door

and


Monday 18th December


Tuesday 19th December


Wednesday 20th December


Thursday 21st December


Friday 22nd December - Double Delight Door

and

Saturday 23rd December - Double Delight Door

and

Sunday 24th December




Hope you enjoyed the Advent Calendar this year! Remember to leave comments on each day to let people know you have visited too.


Friday, 8 December 2017

Day 8 of the Advent Calendar Blog Hop

Unfortunately the Day 8 Door Host couldn't post on their day, so I am back-filling!

I have a peek of a piece which will hopefully be a December finish:


pa rum pa pum pum!

This is, of course, the final block for Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas which I have been stitching all year!  I have started beading this piece and hopefully will have a finish by the end of the week.

The question I asked everyone for the Blog Hop is "How do you celebrate Boxing Day?" not realising that some countries just don't celebrate it at all.  Come on America, you are seriously missing out on another day off work!  Unless you are one of the unfortunates who draw the short straw and have to go in.  I've avoided it for the last two years as I worked on Christmas Eve instead.

When we were children, Boxing Day was sometimes spent with my Dad's side of the family but most often at my maternal Grandparents' house.  Sometimes this involved a bracing walk along the sea front first but not if I had any say in the matter!  We would often play card games for pennies, provided by my Grandad.  So if he lost, we kept the money, if he won, my Nana would say "share your winnings with the children then".  
Nana was a dreadful cheat too.  We played Newmarket (see here for a description) and she would swear blind she didn't have the Ten of a suit so the run would come to an end.  Then she'd find it in her hand later!  She also accused my Grandad of gloating if he smiled and sulking if he didn't.  Then she'd make him give us kids more pennies if we came close to running out!

As an adult it was a day of peace and quiet, watching a new film on TV, having friends over to play games and drink beer.  After my older son was born I started staying over at my parents for Christmas so we had an extended break, we'd all go out for a Carvery at a local hotel on Boxing Day.  My Mum liked a glass of sherry before the meal, a drink which is going out of fashion as one year the very young waitress looked blank and came back with a wine glass full of sherry!  Mum enjoyed her meal that year and we rolled her home afterwards LOL

Since we moved into a larger house at the same time my parents downsized we have them here on Christmas Day and then spend Boxing Day with my husband's side of the family.  Stitching-wise I shall be doing Day 2 of my next 12 Days project and then my spooky conversion of the Enchanted Alphabet as it is the 26th.  Not very seasonal I know!

Now I have a finish to show you all:






Virgo by Satsuma Street

stitched on 28 count black evenweave

All 12 of the signs are now released and Libra will be the next one to be started.  I love the colours in this one.  The only change I made was to her hair, she was charted as a blonde but I have dark hair.

I've also been making great progress on Dracula's Castle by Dam Good Crafts.  This has been my bath-time project and is coming to work with me for break time stitching.

stitched on 32 count Amorentia Belfast by Chromatic Alchemy

That trellis work was so much fun to stitch, I work it in diagonals and it grew so quickly.  Now I have a lot of straight black rows which are not so much fun.

Finally, a big Thank You to everyone who is taking part in the Advent Calendar Bkog Hop and to those who are following and commenting on the posts.  I hope you find some New To You blogs and continue to follow them into the New Year.











Blogger of the Week

This week's post is now up and ready to view:






Saturday, 2 December 2017

Zodiac SAL - Sagittarius



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:


Leonore also linked her Libra post - Libra

This month's sign is Sagittarius the Archer, a fire sign ruled by Jupiter.  Sagittarians are born between 22nd November and 21st December.



In Greek mythology, Sagittarius is usually identified as a centaur: half human, half horse. However, perhaps due to the Greeks' adoption of the Sumerian constellation, some confusion surrounds the identity of the archer.  Some identify Sagittarius as the centaur Chiron, the son of Philyra and Cronus and tutor to Jason, who was said to have changed himself into a horse to escape his jealous wife, Rhea. However since there are two centaurs in the sky, some identify Chiron with the other, known as the constellation Centaurus.  Or, as an alternative tradition holds, that Chiron deviced the constellations Sagittarius and Centaurus to help guide the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece.

A competing mythological tradition, as espoused by Eratosthenes, identified the Archer not as a centaur but as the satyr Crotus, son of Pan, who Greeks credited with the invention of archery. According to myth, Crotus often went hunting on horseback and lived among the Muses, who requested that Zeus place him in the sky, where he is seen demonstrating archery.

The arrow of this constellation points towards the star Antares, the "heart of the scorpion", and Sagittarius stands poised to attack should Scorpius ever attack the nearby Hercules, or to avenge Scorpius's slaying of Orion.





Sagittarius People: What They’re Like
Send in the clowns! Witty Sagittarians can be some of the funniest and most entertaining people you’ll meet. They have a gift for seeing the absurdity of human nature and turning it into comic material. Yet, Sagittarians can also be wise and philosophical, revealing perspectives you might not otherwise see. This sign is ruled by the Centaur, a half-human, half-horse mythical creature. From the waist up, these knowledge-seekers are reaching for the highest truth. From the waist down…it’s all animal instinct and restless hooves. (It’s not easy being the ruler of ethics and the hips and thighs!) Busy Sagittarians have a million friends, projects and irons in the fire. As a result, they may not be the most reliable day-to-day allies. But if you have a five-alarm crisis, they’ll rush in for an epic save, even if you haven’t seen them in years. Time and distance are irrelevant to this sign—they have friends in every port, and if they connect with you, that’s all that matters. Personal development falls under the Sagittarius domain. They’re always up for meeting in a far-flung locale, taking a road trip or joining you for a weekend workshop. Falling for a Sag? Proceed at your own risk. While they can be deeply loyal and monogamous, these explorers must first sow their oats. Sagittarius is known as the “bachelor” sign. These natural risk-takers love to take on dares, and are shameless flirts to boot. You might find them organizing a talent show, rocking the karaoke mic, standing in an airport line, publishing a tell-all blog, or cracking bawdy jokes in the midst of a meeting.


Famous Sagittarius People & Celebrities:

Brad Pitt, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Sia, Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Jay-Z, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ian Somerhalder, Vanessa Hudgens, Rita Ora, Trey Songz, Jake T. Austin, Scarlett Johannson, Christina Aguilera, Jake Gyllenhal, Chrissy Teigen, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Emily Dickinson, Manolo Blahnik, Gianni Versace, Joseph Stalin

While looking for a cross stitch of one the people above, I discovered that Emily Dickinson actually stitched a sampler herself which is now kept at Harvard.  This is the only photo I could find of it, in a Facebook group called The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson:



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 Sagittarius:


Here is the whole piece, you can see I had to use a tacking thread to work out where to start Sagittarius!



I am also stitching some of Satsuma Street's larger Zodiac designs starting with Virgo (my sign). I am stitching her over two on 28 count black evenweave.


Now I have those big blocks of colour in place it will be easy to stitch each of the smaller areas colour by colour.

Sagittarius is a Fire sign, and what breathes fire?  Dragons!   Here's the perfect dragon for the start of Winter; Dragon Dreams' Dragon of the Winter Moon:


My cousin is a Sagittarius and although I haven't stitched anything for her yet, I did stitch a small piece for each of her children when they were born:

Swallow by Emily Peacock

C by Emily Peacock


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.

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Finally, the Advent Calendar Blog Hop has started, we have opened two doors so far with more to come each day right up to and including Christmas Eve.  Find the post here.







Thursday, 30 November 2017

Slow and Steady Progress

This week I have been focusing on my Donna Kooler piece for the Zodiac SAL on Saturday, so I can't show that.  I did get a couple more days done on Dracula by Dam Good Crafts:

stitched on 32 count Amortentia Belfast from Chromatic Alchemy

This is a great design on a gorgeous fabric but I discovered in October than it's easy to get burned out just doing rows of black.  So once I finish 12 Days of Christmas this will become my "bath time project" and I will stitch a length or two of black each evening while the Small Boy is in the bath.

Slow and steady is the name of the game on this next piece; Just Nan's Summer in the Square.  I started Spring in the Square on 1st January for the Ten-a-Day challenge and when it became obvious I was going to finish it before the year was over, I started Summer on 1st July.

We are now on Day 152 or 1,520 stitches:


As well as the Ten-a-Day I've also had a Thirty-a-Day which has been the series of Just Nan freebie ornaments.  I got a little behind with the fully-finishing so spent Sunday doing Lacy Diamond which was finished in September.


A simple padded diamond backed with blue felt, white bead hanger and a white tassel.

I'm not working this weekend so hopefully I can get another one fully finished.

Pie for this months shows a variety of projects, with Just Nan Memories taking top spot.  I spent five days on the Kooler Zodiac because I did Scorpio at the beginning of the month and Sagittarius at the end.



Stitch from Stash was a great success, the only thing I spent was £ 8.72 on a magazine subscription which is an allowed purchase anyway.

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Finally, the Advent Calender Blog Hop starts tomorrow!  I will put up the main post in the morning and you can follow the links each day to see what each person has posted.  I will be updating the post every day with a new picture.  Hope that you enjoy the fun this year.







Sunday, 26 November 2017

November WIPocalypse Finishing Styles

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.

As my finishes are mounting up, I have fewer projects to choose from and worked on the same three as last month plus one more.

That extra one was the Witches by Oberlin Samplers and a finish, as shown in my previous post.


Joan Elliot's 12 Days of Christmas was also in that post:


Next up was my spooky conversion of The Enchanted Alphabet by Lavender & Lace:

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily Murano by Sparklies

The whole piece so far: 

Followed by Dracula's Bok Cover by Dam Good Crafts:

stitched on 32 count Amortentia Belfast from Chromatic Alchemy

Measi always sets up a discussion topic:

November - What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?

I have tried quite a few different techniques apart from framing. 

I have made a lot of cubes recently:


Plenty of pillow ornies:


A rather ambitious Octagon Box:


Built my own House!

An exploding book:


As well as my favourite scrapbook finishes:


What do these all have in common?  Not a lot of sewing!  I like papercraft.  One finish I would like to try is a Printer's Tray with various sized apetures and I did see a video of a handmade journal which looked fun.  Or maybe Janet Brandt's Once Upon a Time Cabinet?



Finally, all the Advent Calendar emails were sent out this morning.  If you haven't had yours, please let me know and I'll check the address I sent it too.  Not long to go now!