Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Sweetest TUSAL of Them All

is a Happy Dance 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 with the current project:

You see all the yellow on top?  That came from these:

You really can't stitch down to the last mm with French Knots, can you?  So if I'm stitching French Knots that can only mean one thing - 

A Happy Waggle Dance for Gathering Honey by Jannlynn Designs!  This kit was a gift to me from a friend who used to cross stitch.  When she stopped stitching she passed me some of her stash and asked me to stitch this for her in exchange.

I started back in August 2013 - Every-bee-that-ever-wuz

Continued in March 2014 - Theme-licious-march-update

Took it on holiday during August 2014 - RIP-socal-debbie

It fell fallow until August 2016 when I did an entire 2 weeks on it - Summer-pie-and-round-up-of-month

Then it became my focus piece for April 2017 - Aprils-tusal-is-brought-to-you-by-letter

And for May too!

This was not an easy project to stitch, the fabric had a very canvas-like feel to it and was a very open weave.  I will have to go round and trim all the visible ends before framing.  The threads were great, DMC numbers given so hopefully I can use the leftovers.  Of which there are a LOT.  Except for two colours which I ran out of.

The backstitch instructions were not easy to follow.  They insisted on referring to the flowers by name not place on the chart.  The honeycomb was my favourite part, so quick to stitch and so effective!  The crazy paving was fun too.

I finished the French Knots this afternoon and thought I'd stitch something light and easy as a palate cleanser before continuing with my rotation.

stitched on 32 count pink linen

This is Just Nan's Memories which was a gift from Vickie, hence the pink linen!  I stitched the pink flowers today.  Aren't they pretty?  And easy and simple and fun!  This is going to be a long, thin piece with 12 bands so I planned to stitch one band per month but I think it will be done much quicker than that somehow!

Finally, I have nearly reached the end of the metallic on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas!  I feel like I have been stitching metallic border for months and months.  According the photographic evidence - since January 2017!  So yes literally for months!  I have about 2-3 lengths of metallic left by my reckoning so you'll see it glitter when I show June's block.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Serendipitous Jo and Her Amazing Technicoloured Theme-tas-Stitch Post

Theme-tas-stitch is hosted by Kerry

Each month Kerry gives us a theme to stitch to and we show our progress on the 21st of every month.

Monochrome May - Choose a colour and stitch on your projects that contain that one colour.

As you can probably tell from the title, I failed happily at this theme!  I don't have a single monochrome project to stitch right now.  We almost have a rainbow - we have Red, Gold, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet and Pink (instead of Indigo!)

I stitched on pink on Vickie's gift, Just Nan's Memories:

Some lovely blue eggs in Nora Corbett's Gathering Eggs:

Variegated Violet in Brooke's Books' Stitcher's Alphabet:

Red and Gooooooollllllllldddddddddddddd in Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas:

And plenty of green and yellow for Gathering Honey by Jannlynn Designs:

I completed the whole of the bottom left hand corner and the words, top and bottom.

Despite my best efforts I couldn't quite finish the whole piece.  I have some extra bits to do around the lettering and some stalks to add to those floating strawberries.  And a tonne of French Knots on those two plants that currently look like thistles, plus the centre of the strawberry flowers and the blue periwinkle flowers.

Because it's a very loose weave fabric I will be going round the back and trimming all the visible threads, you can clearly see one behind that bee and there are plenty of others.  That will be the last job I do before framing.

So that's my unmonochrome May.  Thankfully, next month is garden themed so this will be perfect.  Except I will have finished it by then!  So it's a good thing I will still have this project on the go:

Day 141 of my Ten-a-Day project.  Just Nan's Spring in the Square:

Finally, in one month's time we will have reached The Longest Day and the nights will start drawing in!  Time for a stitching marathon.  Last year I stitched on every single one of my WIPs during the longest day, swapping projects every 20-30 minutes.  I stitched on a total of 21 projects that day.  This year I plan to beat that as I currently have 23 WIPs (excluding Gathering Honey which will be completed by then).  I have my work rota for June and I'm not working on Tuesday or Wednesday so Tuesday will be prep day and Wednesday will be Marathon Day!  Anyone care to join in?  If Wednesday isn't convenient, pick any other day that week!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness May Link-Up Post

2017 GG

Welcome to the May link-up for Gifted Gorgeousness.  The linky will stay open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to join in.

I made good progress on Oberlin Samplers' Witches, a gift from Barb:

Steady progress on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas, a gift from my MIL:

A new start with a chart I won from Carol of Stitching Dreams.  This is Nora Corbett's Gathering Eggs:
stitched on 35 count Country Mocha linen

Another new start, another giveaway, this time from Vickie of A Stitcher's Story, Just Nan's Memories band sampler:

stitched on 32 count pink linen (what else for Vickie?)

My focus piece for the month is Gathering Honey by Jannlynn Designs once again.  This was a gift from a friend and the finished piece will be gifted back to her.

I've been focusing on the final corner, the bottom right this week, it seems much quicker than the top left corner was.

I owe a couple of people gifts, people who won giveaways.  Once I get paid this week I will sort those out.  Stitch from Stash is very much a necessity here this year!

I did receive some gifts myself.  The lovely Nora Corbett chart from Carol, a chart from DJ which I had admired on her blog and a great RAK from Angela, all the way from Singapore.

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 "May 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.



Finally, I do hope that you are remembering to visit the Blogger of the Week blog each Friday to see who our featured stitcher of the week is.  Clue for this week - Pink Poodles!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Mystery is Beeeeees!

That's a quote for a children's cartoon we like and which my son says every time I get out the next project!

I've been stitching this piece for quite some time now and aim to finish it this Summer.  I was given the kit by a friend who had stopped stitching.  She passed me her stash and only requested that I stitch this piece for her.

By the end of 2016 I had completed all the centre and this top left corner:

As someone commented, it's not really obvious why it's called Gathering Honey.  It's more of An English Garden Sampler.

But now the piece looks like this:

The missing ingredient was bees!

I just loved stitching the honeycomb.  It is in 3 strands of cotton rather than 2 so it really stands out.

So far in May I have finished backstitching the bottom left corner bees and started on the leaves in the bottom right.  This corner will be as complex as the top left was.  Lots of backstitch too.

I also have to finish those two bushes in the centre section, there are about 100 French Knots to make the little flowers.

The large empty spaces will have words backstitched which won't take long.

After I finished my SALs this month I decided to support a friend and join her for a new start for Maynia.  CraftyCreativeClare is a FlossTuber who is also a FB friend.  When she showed her list of projects for Maynia I saw that she had a chart which I had just won in a Giveaway.  So the serendipity meant I just had to start that one with her!

It's funny because we didn't consult with each other apart from to say we'd start on Friday, but we both started in the middle although she went up and I went down!  I wanted to have a definite part of it completed.  Also, I used 35 count Country Mocha linen and she used 18 count aida so they will be almost the same small size.

Can you identify the chart?  It should be easy for Nora Corbett fans.

It's Gathering Eggs which I won from Carol of Stitching Dreams.  The title goes rather well with Gathering Honey too.

I've been making progress on my Ten-a-Day project.  This is another FB group where we each chose a project approximately 60x60 stitches which we could complete in a year doing just ten stitches each day.

Here is Just Nan's Spring in the Square, Day 131:

stitched on 32 count Light Mocha linen

I am currently stitching the dark purple in each of the corner pansies.  The fabric looks like a weird colour because I take a quick picture with my iPad each day and the light is coming through the window on the left.  I'm not going to get my camera out and mess around with the settings every single day of this project!

I am also stitching 30-a-Day as an advance start on Linda's So Many Stitches project for next year.  Back in March I started a bunch of Just Nan freebies for March Madness.  Now I am working my way through them, stitching 30 stitches per day with the goal of completing one per month.

Here's a much better photo:

stitched on 32 count Twilight Blue linen

The chart says add some gold eyelets and gold beads next but I think silver would look so much better so that's what I am going with.  One day for the eyelets, one day for beading and one day to finish as an ornie.  Once I get to the end of the cross stitching I drop the 30 a day and just do what needs doing to finish it.

Finally, I do intend to have a Blog Hop this Summer.  I'm thinking of doing another Friendship Hop where each participant is given the name of another participant and they have to make a blog post featuring something that they think the other person would like to see.  So if you got me, then you might show a dragon or something Hallowe'en themed!  So stay tuned for the sign-up post.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Vastly Valued and Valiant Alphabet Venture

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.

Do you do voodoo?  There are times when we all want to stick pins in an effigy of some politician or other!  Cross stitch is for when you want to stab something 10,000 times.  Without getting arrested.

(Side note - Getting arrested seems to be a theme with bloggers just recently.  First of all Gaynor was arrested in January, then Jeremiah was charged with chicken rustling and even sweet little Nathan spent some time behind bars.  Thankfully they were all found innocent and released without charge!  Other than a great photo opportunity.)

Anyway, the voodoo block is from A Dark Alphabet by A Note of Friendship.

V is also for Variegated Thread, Valentines and Violets, all of which feature in this month's block from Brooke's Books' Stitcher's Alphabet.

stitched on 28 count afghan 

I already showed my collection of Valentine Hearts for H and we have the Valentine's Blog Hop each year too.

Here's a collage of Valentines from my Secret Stitching Sweethearts this year:

Variegated threads are wonderful to use.  They are a great way of adding texture to a plain block of stitching if you use a tonal thread or you can add multicolours without changing thread every 10 stitches.  I used variegated threads quite a lot in A Dark Alphabet, Kelpie being particularly effective:

I also used them in CCN's Cherry Hill to produce a variety of greens:

DSC03339 CCN Cherry Hill_zps8dbb6da7.jpg CCN Cherry Hill

They work well for lettering and borders too.

I have only completed one design for V, the Victorian Doll's House in 2010:

DSC02572DollHouse_zps54684e5f.jpg Dolls' House

For designers I have a trio of spooky finishes from Val's Stuff:

This sweet freebie from Vavi

I also have three samplers from Victoria Sampler in my stash which I do hope to add to the rotation one day.

My blog roll is very slim again but luckily Veronica blogged recently:

Finally I have been asked what will happen when we reach Z?  Do not panic, for I have a cunning plan!  I won't be starting again at A just yet but I do have plans for another series of posts and will announce all in the final Alphabet Club Z post.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Dearest Edward

The postman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly.  A really lovely present - lovelier in a way than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after.  The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I'm afraid none of us got much sleep last night.  Mummy says she wants to use the rings to "wring" their necks - she's only joking, I think; though I know what she means.  But I love the rings.  Bless you.
Love Emily

12 Days of Christmas (Correspondence) - John Julius Norwich

Emily seems a little happier with her gift this month, even if Mummy has a bird-induced migraine.

Who remembers singing this part of the song with great gusto and not a lot of tune?

There will be gold beads in the little gaps when I finish this design.  I am saving all the beads until the end so the metallic thread doesn't catch on them.

Here is the full piece so far.  I will be stitching for another day on the top Herald Angel.  The plan is do a little bit on her each month to complete the design this year.

Those crumples do come out when I stretch the fabric out, don't worry!

I also stitched both my Hallowe'en pieces this month.  First up is Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating:

Black cats are our theme this month

I also started some of the "Happy" as the cat was such a quick stitch

The second piece is Witches by Oberlin Samplers:

Not a black cat!

When I stitched the french knot eyes in the first cat I realised that DMC 3345 is the perfect match for the fabric which is so hard to photograph.  Here's a skein of 3345 on the fabric and they look different!  So go and get your skein and just imagine that the fabric is the same colour as that skein.

Remember my Blogaversary this year, back in April?  I had a little giveaway competition where you had to tell me your favourite quote and you could win the new Stitchrovia Quotes to Live By partwork.  There were a lot of entries and I loved all the quotes.  I used the Random Number Generator to pick a winner.  You got one entry for commenting on that post and then additional entries for taking part in the Easter Blog Hop and Gifted Gorgeousness too.   The RNG chose:

who said "at the moment I still like "be kind to dragons, for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup" perhaps not inspiring words to live by but it makes me smile and that is a start."

Not the most deep and meaningful quote but it made me smile too.  It comes from the book Dragonswan by Sherrilyn Kenyon, which I have never read but maybe I should.  Find out more here-

also here- 

Fantastic Fiction is one of my favourite websites.  The Bookseller's best friend, it is basically a catalogue of almost every fiction author, their books, a synopsis and links to where to get them.  It lists every book written by the author, in series order and in publication date with a thumbnail of the cover.  So when your customer says "have you got the new M.C. Beaton book, it's got Death in the title?" you can look up M.C. Beaton, discover that almost every book she has written has Death in the title, you can print off the list, show the customer and work out which one they want.

It also has recommendations under "Visitors to this page also looked at these authors" which can be useful but remember that every bookseller in the country is skewing the results by looking up both Sherrilyn Kenyon and M.C. Beaton within ten minutes of each other.

Finally, Kaye is hosting a Christmas in July Exchange, so if you want to exchange some Christmas Goodies, hop over and visit her blog.  Click the photo for the link: