Monday, 5 December 2016

Advent Calendar Day 5

Hello and welcome to Day 5 of our advent calendar, hosted by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching.

Let's open the door shall we?

This is an ornament I stitched a couple of year ago, which I don't think I've shared before. It was my first ever Christmas ornament and it has graced our tree ever since!

Snow Birds by Country Cottage Needleworks

Jo always sets us a question and this year's is to share our treasured Christmas decorations. My parents never really decorated much for Christmas - a small artificial tree with multicoloured decorations which was typical of many UK homes in the 1970s. The fashion now is for several trees, different themes and decoration throughout the home.

We only have room for one tree however, this one...



Some handmade and some shop-bought. Here's a closeup of three of my favourites.


Made by DS1 (snowman), DS2 (star) and a joint effort for the star on top of the tree!

I hope you all have a peaceful and happy Christmas.

Justine
Thursday, 1 December 2016

Gifts from Kim and a couple of "real" finishes

Happy Advent! I can't believe I haven't posted at all in November. Mostly because I have been working on a secret Christmas stitch for someone who reads my blog so I haven't had anything to show.

I had a happy mail day last week! As many of you will know, Kim of Wisdom with Needle and Thread has been celebrating her 60th birthday all year by sending out 60 RAKs to stitching friends all over the world. I was surprised and honoured to be counted amongst her friends and would like to share with you what I received from Kim...


The most beautiful stitched ornament, a gorgeous piece of Moda fabric (hanging at the back), a sweet Mill Hill beaded mitten kit, some DMC and last but not least the card on the left which is a print of a painting done by Kim in oil on porcelain, entitled "Ziva". Isn't she beautiful?

The stitched piece has very special meaning for me and matches perfectly an ornament I purchased from Kim a couple of years ago when she had an etsy shop.  Here they are together...


Thank you Kim for your generous gifts and happy birthday once again!

In the middle of November I met up with the lovely ladies from Needlecraft Haven which inspired me to finish-finish something for the show and tell table! First up was this Durene Jones chart which I stitched in October...


Here's the reverse, I just love this fabric...


And this Lizzie*Kate stitch, again finished in October...


Two very simple finishes but I was pleased with how they turned out.

Well I'd better get back to my Christmas stitching! Hope you are all getting ready for Christmas, and I'll be back next week with a door for you to open on Jo's Advent Blog Hop.

Until next time

Justine
Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halloween Blog Hop

Hello everyone and welcome to the spooky Halloween blog hop hosted by our very own Head Witch Jo!

Shock horror I have actually finished something to show you today!  Here are some little ornaments I have been stitching for my sons this year.


Halloween ornaments by Durene Jones
From World of Cross Stitching magazine issue 233
Stitched on 16 count antique white aida
with recommended DMC and Light Effects threads

Short and sweet from me this year, here's your letter...


(Photo courtesy of Clipart)

Now hop along to Melinda's blog Family Business for your next letter!



THIS WAY Ha ha ha! Happy Halloween!
Friday, 21 October 2016

Lots of finishes!

I've been busy for the past few weeks and have completed quite a few projects, including some new starts and a couple of WIPs, so I've got lots to show you today.

My friend Mii Stitch and I had a little cross stitch retreat at the beginning of October.  We rented a cottage and stitched to our hearts' content!  I started 3 projects - finished one while we were there and the other two the day after we came home.

Do Not Disturb by Durene Jones
(from Cross Stitcher magazine)
Stitched on 16 count Stormy Sea aida from Sew It All
with DMC threads
Started 8 October 2016, finished 9 October 2016

Halloween Owl by Durene Jones
(from WOCS magazine)
Stitched on 16 count antique white aida
with DMC threads
Started 7 October 2016, finished 10 October 2016

Is It Too Late to be Good? by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 16 count Cafe au Lait aida from Sew it All
with DMC threads
Started 9 October 2016, finished 10 October 2016


Thank you Mii for enabling all these new starts and finishes!

I had a fourth project packed up for the retreat which didn't get started, so as soon as I finished the others I stitched this one... (The snowman just needs some buttons for his chest)


Snowman '10 by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 16 count Tin aida with sparkles
from Sew it All
with DMC threads
Started 10 October 2016, finished 15 October 2016


After all those new starts I was longing to tick something else off my WIP list.  So I went back to this one and am proud to say it is now finished!  I really fell out of love with it in the middle of stitching it but it grew very quickly as it's on 14 count (which I never stitch on now) and maybe one day it will make it out onto display.

Family Band Sampler by Riverdrift House
Stitched on 14 count white aida with included threads
Started 1 January 2014, finished 19 October 2016


I then picked up another project that I'd started for a friend earlier this year and had another finish yesterday...

Let's Party by Imaginatings
Stitched on 16 count Margarita aida by Sew It All
with DMC threads
Started 19 March 2016, finished 20 October 2016

I love the name of the aida colour, so appropriate for this design!

And finally, I started and finished another of the Lizzie*Kate Twelve Blessings that I planned to stitch one a month throughout the year and have on display this Christmas.  Sadly I've only stitched five of them but they do stitch up quickly so you never know!

Charity (Twelve Blessings) by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 16 count Cloud Brown aida by Sew it All
with DMC threads
Started 19 October 2016, finished 20 October 2016

My next project is another one from the WIP list.  I'm hoping to reduce it by two by the end of the year.

Thanks for reading!

Justine



Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Solo September update

Hello everyone

Better late than never, here's my update for Solo September. This was my own SAL where I and many other stitchers pledged to stitch on just one project for a whole month. I am planning a round-up post in a couple of days but thought I had better share my own progress with you.

I had a new start on 1 September, a Dimensions kit entitled Sheltered which was chosen by younger son. And it now looks like this!


I haven't been able to put this down and will be continuing for at least the remainder of this week, until the tiger cub's face is finished.

Thanks to everyone who joined me for Solo September - stay tuned for a round-up in the next few days.

Justine
Saturday, 17 September 2016

Jo's Big Birthday Blog Hop!

Our dear friend Jo of Serendipitous Stitching is celebrating a big birthday today.  Many happy returns Jo!  In her own unique style, she is marking the day with a blog hop with a difference.  If you head over to Jo's blog, you will see a list of the blogs taking part.  Reading the blogs in order will give you a history of Jo's life so far!

You can read here about this year in Jo's life...


In 1984 Jo was 18 years old.  She was studying 'A' levels in the Sixth Form at school, having passed 'AO' level Maths in the summer.  She continued to work after school and on Saturdays in a fruit and veg shop in town.  Her hobbies were listening to rock music, going to the local rock club and going to concerts with her friends.  She also continued to work on the drama productions at school with the Dracula Spectacular being the highlight of the Sixth Form.

I was 12 years old in 1984 and just starting to really listen to music.  Unlike Jo however, I liked pop music and especially the Top 40 chart on the radio every Sunday evening.  This was the year I was given my first record player, with a turntable that skipped if anyone walked near to it!

1984 was a great year for pop music - though in researching this post I found that Black Lace's Agadoo was the 6th best selling record of the year, so maybe not.

Some of my personal favourites from this year would have been Howard Jones' "What is Love?" (the first single I bought), Prince's "When Doves Cry" and "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell.  But seeing as Jo was a rock fan, I've chosen this one for you to enjoy...

Jump by Van Halen

This was also the year that the original Ghostbusters film was released, and of course who could forget the Christmas number 1 for that year...


Jo I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I wish you many happy years of stitching and blogging ahead!





Justine
Thursday, 15 September 2016

Solo September is halfway through!

Solo September is my own SAL where we stitch on just one project for a whole month.  This month I'm joined by 19 other stitchers who are all making good progress on their chosen project (I hope!)  Please see this post for more details and links to the blogs of those who are joining in.

My chosen project for Solo September was a new start on September 1st.  This is what it will look like when finished...

Sheltered by Dimensions

And here is my progress halfway through the month...


I am stitching the big tiger's leg, to the right of the baby tiger in the model picture.  You may be able to tell that I've finished the leg and am now stitching the foot.

I knew September would be a busy month but I was hoping for a bit more progress.  The good news is though that I love stitching this one.  It's really relaxing and as I prefer to stitch cross-country, I am stitching colour by colour and watching the shading come together is very satisfying!

A big cheer to everyone else who is solo stitching this month - good luck and hope you are making better progress than me!

Until next time

Justine
Thursday, 1 September 2016

Solo September project reveal

Well I bet my regular readers weren't expecting this!


And neither was I!

My stitching mojo has been missing a bit in August so I decided to treat myself to a new start, and my youngest son saw a stitched model of this one and to cut a long story short it came home with us!

So for September I will be mostly stitching grey and white.

I have no idea how long this is going to take me but it's very different to what I normally stitch!

Good luck to everyone who is joining in with Solo September and stitching on just one project this month.  Hope you all have a good month and don't forget to share your progress with us.

Justine
Monday, 29 August 2016

Solo September sign up

Hello everyone

Back by popular demand (well I've had one email asking where the sign-up page is!) I'm hosting another monogamous month, where we stitch on just one project for the whole month.  This month I'm a bit more organised and we will have a sign-up page so that anyone who wants to be jealous at how much progress we all make can find a link to the blogs of those who are joining in.

If you haven't heard of this SAL before, take a look at my posts for Faithful April and Just One July.  The idea is that rather than flitting from project to project, you pledge to stitch on just one project (or two if you finish your original choice!) for the whole of the month.  It's a great way to see progress particularly on larger projects or those that you keep putting to one side for whatever reason.

There are no rules to the sign-up except that it would be nice if you could link to this post below with a blog post including a "before" photo of the project you plan to work on, and I will put another link-up post at the end of the month where you can put a link to your blog showing your "after" progress.  Feel free to post updates throughout the month, and link up here if you would like.

I'm a bit later with posting this than I would have liked.  The main reason is that I can't decide what project to work on!  I had planned to work on Frosty Forest which was here last time I stitched on it...


and should look like this when finished...




But I am really keen to have a new start!

Anyway, I still have three more days to go before I have to make a final decision.

I hope you'll join me and see just how much you can achieve with one month dedicated to a single project!

Justine


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Just One July and Solo September

OK so I know it's August now, but it's been one of those weeks...busy at work and home and barely time for anything!

Just One July was my own little informal SAL where I decided to stitch on just one project for the whole month.  Several stitchers decided to join me and lots of progress has been made!

I was off to a great start to my month by finishing this project which was promised to my younger son back when I started it in January 2014.  Glad to have this off the WIP list...

Cut Thru Pirate Ship by Bothy Threads
Started 6 January 2014, finished 14 July 2016

The second half of the month was much less productive.  I don't know whether the heat got to me or if I'm just not enjoying this project.  I chose to stitch my second oldest WIP and could have had it finished too if I'd spent more time on it.  Anyway, it went from here...


to here...

Family Band Sampler by Riverdrift House

This is stitched on 14 count white aida which isn't something I would choose to work on now but it's surprisingly relaxing and stitches up quickly.  I'm just over halfway through it now but I could have stitched so much more!

I am planning to run my monthly SAL again for Solo September - but this time I will do a "real" SAL with sign-ups!  It will be low stress, the only commitment will be to work on just one project for the whole month (or two if like me you have a finish!) and to post a before and after photo to share your progress.  You can feel free to update your blog during the month to share progress if you wish but there's no obligation to do so.

I will be putting a sign-up page up later in the month, and feel free to join me if you want to make a big dent in something, or if you have a deadline to meet, or just fancy stitching One At A Time for a change!

Happy stitching!

Justine
Thursday, 14 July 2016

Just One July - or is it?

Hi folks

It's time for a Just One July update.  This is my own little SAL where I, and a group of stitchers joining me, stitch on just one project for a whole month.  Except of course where you finish that project during the month, then you have to choose another one.

And guess what?  I have a finish to share!

Cut Thru Pirate Ship by Bothy Threads
Stitched on 16 count ice blue aida with included threads
Started 6 January 2014, finished 14 July 2016

Here are a few close-ups of my favourite details...

Pirate bedroom complete with treasure map

All aboard for a barbecue anyone?

Shark!!!

And just for Rosey, another view of Pirate Kitty and the mice...

I'm so thrilled to have finished this one, and younger son is going to be even more thrilled when he comes home from school and sees it!

So now I have to find something else to stitch for the rest of the month.  Don't worry, I'm not abandoning my little SAL.

Hope everyone is having a good stitchy month, especially those who are joining me for Just One July!

Justine

Friday, 8 July 2016

Just One July - the first week

Well the first week of Just One July is over and I have some progress to share.

Just One July is my own little unofficial SAL where I stitch on just one project for a month in an effort to make significant progress on some of my WIPs.  There are quite a few stitchers joining in too so you might see this popping up on other blogs you read.

This month I am stitching on the Cut Thru Pirate Ship by Bothy Threads.  This was started in January 2014 as part of the Crazy January Challenge, and is going to be a gift for younger son.

Here is what it will look like when finished...

This is where I was up to at the start of the month...


And this is what it looks like now!


I am pleased to say that all of the cross stitch on the ship is finished.  There is just the sea to stitch and then the backstitching needs to be completed, and it will be done!  I'm hopeful of a finish before the end of July.

I'm really enjoying stitching this - I must be a One at a Time stitcher at heart.

Until next time, happy stitching!

Justine
Monday, 27 June 2016

Lots of finishes and preparation for Just One July

Hello everyone

Well I might have been away from my blog but I've been busy stitching.  I have quite a few small finishes to share today.  Sadly as is usual for me none of them are actually finished into anything, but I have plans!

Firstly here are two Lizzie*Kate patterns which were gifted to me by Mii Stitch.

Life is Better by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 16 count Tea Rose aida by Sew it All
with recommended DMC threads
Started 25 June 2016, finished 26 June 2016


This was a sweet bonus chart which was included with the one above.  Perfect for me as I am a real worrier!

Stitch Now by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 16 count Tea Rose aida by Sew it All
with recommended DMC threads
Started 13 May 2016, finished 14 May 2016

Another gift from Mii Stitch, this is such a cutie!  Perfect for summer.

Odd Dog with Butterflies by Lili of the Valley
Stitched on 16 count Cloud Blue/Pink aida by Sew it All
using included threads
Started 20 May 2016, finished 17 June 2016

Next up is this cute cow stitch which I just fell in love with.  I changed the colours from the recommended ones as I knew I wanted to stitch this on a bright fabric. I'm usually nervous of making alterations but I'm pleased with how this turned out.

Happy Moood by Barbara Ana
Stitched on 16 count Cloud Pink aida by Sew it All
using DMC threads
Started 5 May 2016, finished 24 June 2016

There's more!  I also stitched two of the cottages from Country Cottage Needleworks Seasonal Celebrations.  The original charts are much longer and have seasonal words across the bottom.  However I have to admit I shamelessly pinched the idea from Judith of Judith Makes just to stitch the cottage at the top.  I so admire her finishes and am going to try something similar with mine.  Well they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Spring from Seasonal Celebrations by CCN
Stitched on 16 count Cloud Blue aida from Sew it All
using recommended DMC and GAST threads
Started 14 May 2016, finished 19 May 2016

I changed Summer a little bit as it had two enormous ants (as big as dogs!) on the left hand side of the design.  While they were fun, I decided to replace them with more flowers.

Summer from Seasonal Celebrations by CCN
Stitched on 16 count Sunshine aida from Sew it All
using recommended DMC threads
Started 7 June 2016, finished 23 June 2016

Right, I think you're all caught up now!

JUST ONE JULY

Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in Just One July.  This is my own little SAL where I pledge to stitch on just one project for a whole month (you can read about my success with Faithful April here).  My project for Just One July will be this one...

Cut Thru Pirate Ship by Bothy Threads

Here's the latest photo I have of this project.  I'm pretty sure I've stitched a little more of it since then.  I think a finish this month is definitely achievable!


Despite all my mini finishes above I'm looking forward to being a one at a time stitcher again for a month!

That's all for now, until next time!

Justine
Sunday, 5 June 2016

We have lift off!

Do you want to see a finish?

Well, you've come to the right place because.......ta-daa!


Cut Thru Rocket by Bothy Threads
Stitched on 16 count navy blue aida with included threads
Started 2 January 2015, finished 5 June 2016


I'm so pleased to have this done!  I chose it as one of my new starts for Debbie's Crazy January Challenge 2015 and didn't really touch it since, until I finally decided it had to be completed.  Faithful April saw me working on this one alone for a whole month which meant real progress and just the boost I needed to get it finished.



It's been planned as a gift for elder son since it was started, and I've finished it just in time for his 8th birthday tomorrow.  He has shown lots of interest and actually put five stitches himself into the ring around one of the planets.



I've put all my other stitching to one side to get this done but I have truly enjoyed it and can see me returning to One At A Time stitching in the near future to get this one done for younger son...


And here's one more close up...


Thanks to everyone who joined me or cheered me on during Faithful April.  Who's up for Just One July?!

Justine