Thursday, 25 August 2016

August Smalls SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I have two Small Challenges:

For the Hallowe'en Blog I have done something a little different this year, I've chosen a band sampler by Just Nan called Counting Bats and each band corresponds to the monthly themes on the blog.  For August we had Spooky Words and this band completes the Counting Bats rhyme:

The whole piece, nearly finished now:

For the Christmas Ornie SAL we had Christmas Clothing as the theme:

The only change I made was to stitch the pompom with satin stitch rather than cross stitches.

All six so far:


We had a Fifth Friday at the end of July so I started the second Byzantine Ornament by Teresa Wentzler and finished it for the Gold Day of the Olympic Challenge:

I used the same fabric, threads and bead as Byzantine Ornament I

I completed the Mill Hill Trumpet I started for the Olympic Challenge:

I substituted green Magnificas for the petite green beads and some red for the charted cranberry which I didn't have.  I stitched this on 14 count Christmas Green aida rather than the perforated paper provided so I could use two strands instead of three,

One for the scrapbook

I continued with the 1862 Snowflake from JCS 2010 and started adding the beads.  I am not sure I like the centre fully covered with beads and may just do the crystal ones and remove the petite white.

stitched on 28 Colonial Blue evenweave


I've continued with the Daily Art Challenge on FB.

Day 23 - Abstract

Day 24 - Bed

Day 25 - Door

Finally, several people have commented on how organised I am and wonder how I ever keep up with all the SALs.  I have a simple diary, one double page per week and I write down all the SALs in the notebook section at the end and then each day I jot down which projects I worked on.  I do have the X-Stitch app on my iPad and I keep that up-to-date with all my charts and WIPs but it is easier to use pen and paper.

Why am I so organised though?  I worked for an international insurance brokers for 17 years in the North European Documentation team.  I had six major clients, each of whom had several fleets they were responsible for.  Each fleet had 20-50 vessels with an typical value of US$ 20,000,000 each vessel.  As well as the renewals for each fleet, things were constantly happening throughout the year - new additions, sales, values increased, values decreased, voyages into dodgy areas etc.  I had to keep track of all of this and make sure the documentation was accurate and up-to-date, also making sure the client paid on time and we paid the underwriters on time too!  If you are not organised you don't last long!  

Of course when you stop doing a job like that, all that brain power has to go somewhere.  When I gave up work I felt like my brain could suddenly do what it wanted to do, rather than spend all it's time working for someone else.  It's so liberating  not having to work for someone else and be free to think about anything you want.  Now I work part-time so I still have the freedom to use my brain energy how I want to.  Although, like most people I do find myself thinking about work-related things on my days off!  Fortunately it's all about books now rather than Marine Insurance.

Just to prove it - here's some book art:
Please note - this was a proof copy not a real book. The pages are only folded, not cut or glued. No books were harmed in the making of this project.
Instructions can be found here -

Monday, 22 August 2016

August WIPocalypse Olympic Round-up

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.

The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "16 in '16" which are 16 projects I particularly wanted to concentrate on in 2016.   The full list can be found on my WIPocalypse page where you can also find my secondary list "16 Series in '16".

My main goal is to keep to my rotation of one small every Friday and the rest of the month working on my focus piece until it is finished.  I also have a number of SALs I want to keep up with:

The Alphabet Club - a different letter on the first Saturday of each month
Gifted Gorgeousness - post anything gifted on the 15th
Hallowe'en Ornie Blog - a different spooky theme each month
Christmas Ornie Blog - a different festive theme each month
Smalls SAL - last Thursday of each month


I have worked on 3 out of 16 projects since my last WIPocalypse, plus 4 from my series list.  I also set myself some goals and took part in the Stitch Maynia Olympic Challenge on FB.

Challenge 1 - The Pentathlon (5 events).  This will be my four weekend projects plus the evening stitching project (currently Ghostly Mandala)
Medals - I will award myself a Gold Medal for each completed project in the Pentathlon, a Silver for any WIPs and a Bronze for any additional projects started in that category (if I finish the Ghostly Mandala for example)

The Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books:

Gold Medal!

Counting Bats by Just Nan:

Gold Medal!

Christmas Cubes by The Primitive Hare:

Silver Medal

IHSW: Trumpet by Mill Hill:

Silver Medal

Ghostly Mandala by Ink Circles:

Silver Medal

Challenge 1 Medal Haul - 2 Gold and 3 Silver

Challenge 2 - The Marathon.  This will be my focus piece.  Which will either be Gathering Honey or Little Snap Dragon, depending on how I feel!
Medals - I will award myself a Gold Medal for any completed piece, a Silver Medal for 8 days of stitching (Mon-Thur for the Olympic weeks) and a Bronze Medal for any additional projects started in this category (if I finish the first one)

Gathering Honey by Jannlynn:

Challenge 2 Medal Haul - 1 Silver

Challenge 3 - The Olympic Rings - Blue, Yellow, Black, Green and Red.  I'll showcase those colours as and when they appear in my stitching
Medals - I will award myself a Gold Medal for five colours, a Silver Medal for four colours and a Bronze Medal for three colours.  They must form a substantial part of the focus area, not just two stitches in the corner!

Blue - Little Snap Dragon by Kustom Krafts

Yellow - Gathering Honey by Jannlynn (see above)

Black - Counting Bats by Just Nan (see above)

Green - Gathering Honey by Jannlynn (see above)

Red - Christmas Cubes by The Primitive Hare (see above)

Challenge 3 Medal Haul - 1 Gold

Total Medal Haul

3 Gold Medals

(Byzantine Ornament 2 by Teresa Wentzler)

4 Silver Medals

(1862 Snowflake by Forget-Me-Not in Stitches)

According to the Olympic Medal table that makes me closest to Switzerland, who got 3 Golds, 2 Silvers and 2 Bronzes.  Here is our flag:

And our National Anthem:

Only there seems to be some debate about that.  Apparently people quite liked the tune but didn't like the words so they had a competition to write a new national anthem based on the old music.  More details can be found here.


Finally, the Art Challenge continues:

Day 20 - Colours

Day 21 - Shoes

Day 22 - Animals


Friday, 19 August 2016

IHSW Started Here

The weekend starts here!  And since it's the third Friday in the month, it's an International Hermit & Stitch Weekend.  Hosted by Joysze of Random Ramblings, this is your chance to stay at home and stitch to your heart's content.

Since I am working on Sunday, my weekend will be Friday and Saturday.  I am still taking part in the Stitching Olympics and today was a Silver day.  I had no WIPS with silver in them so a new start was in order.  I got out my collection of the JCS Christmas Ornament Specials (2010-2015) and discovered this one from 2010:

stitched on 28 count Colonial Blue evenweave

The design is by Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches and is called 1862 Snowflake after an antique beadwork pattern they had.  The charts suggest using all beads but I have substituted silver for the crystal beads to fit the Olympic theme.

Another small was started for the Music Day:

stitched on 14 count Christmas Green aida

I didn't have anything for Music, so it was most serendipitous that Kim sent me this little Mill Hill chart just in time!  I'm not a fan of three strands on perforated paper so I switched it for this green aida.  Now I remember why I'm not a fan of aida either!  But it's a nice little project and will look good scrapbooked with these three:

I've made quite a lot of progress on Gathering Honey which has been my focus piece for the Marathon:

Plenty of backstitch in this section!

I had a finish for the Gold Medal day, I saved the gold from my Fifth Friday project in July:

stitched on 28 count burgundy evenweave

This is the second Byzantine Ornament by Teresa Wentzler, using the same fabric and threads as Number 1.

Two more ghosts have been added to Ghostly Mandala by Ink Circles:

stitched on 32 count Autumnal Woodland by Crafty Kitten


I've also been keeping up with my daily art themes.  Here are Days 13-19:

Day 13 - Sails

Day 14 - Buildings

Day 15 - Movement

Day 16 - Light

Day 17 - Trains

Day 18 - Summer

Day 19 - Hands

Finally, it is four weeks tomorrow until my Birthday!  There are still a very few places left in the Days of Jo's Life Blog Hop.  If you'd like to join in with this very special blog hop on the 17th September please email or leave a comment and I'll tell you all about it.  In the meantime I will leave you with this image:

Wooden Thread Organiser from Tangerine 8 on Etsy.
I just love wooden thread organisers.  Just saying.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness August Link-Up Post

Welcome to the Gifted Gorgeousness link-up post!  The link-up date will continue to be the 15th of each month but I will keep the linky open until the end of each month so you have plenty of time to join in.

The format remains EXACTLY the same as last year so I'm sure you are all aware of what can be included - gifts to and from you; charts, fabric or threads; shoe-horns welcome!

Since my last GG post I have worked on a few gifted pieces:

Elizabeth Shephard by The Scarlet Letter - a gift from Nicola:

I finished this one on the 16th July and added a little personalisation to show it was a gift from NP (Nicola) to JP (me):

Counting Bats by Just Nan - a gift from Epic Mel:

Ghostly Mandala by Ink Circles - fabric is a gift from Rachel:

stitched on 32 count Autumnal Woodland from Crafty Kitten

Gathering Honey by Jannlynn - a gift from and to my friend Sam:

Little Snap Dragon by Kustom Krafts - a gift from Lesley:

stitched on 32 count Murano Evening Sky by Crafty Kitten

I also received a lovely surprise gift myself.  Remember Kim's 60 RAKs for her 60th Birthday?  Seems like her record-keeping isn't quite as good as her stitching and painting because I got a second gift!

A Mill Hill kit, some DMC, gorgeous fabric and a pencil tray


Kim says this porcelain tray is painted in the 18th Century style using 24K gold!

It is just so exquisite, as all Kim's painted pieces are.

We'll do a little GGG this month.  I ordered some Tibetan Silver charms for a couple of projects.  These come in bags of 10 charms all the same.  It is rare I need ten charms so I will pop one of each into a bag and send it to one lucky participant.  All you have to do is link up below and tell me how charming you are!  Or just indicate you'd like to be in the draw.

Just some of the charms I got!

Here is the place for you to link up so we can see what Gifted Gorgeousness you have been stitching so far this year.  Please use your name or your blog name in the field 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.
Thank you.  I can amend links if you make a boo-boo though.



Finally, The Days of Jo's Life Big Birthday Blog Hop was been launched and is taking sign-ups.  The Hop will be on the 17th September.  To take part all you have to do is leave a comment or email me.  Nearer the date I will allocate you a Year of My Life and on the 17th September you do a blog post about that year or that life event in your life or what you were doing at that age (assuming you are that old!).  Also, post something you have stitched which you think I will like.  Lots of people have already signed up but there are still some spaces left if you'd like to be involved.