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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Crazy 226 and some storage solutions

Yesterday was a busy day. Hubby took me for a day out: we had a round of bingo (he won £20! Friday the 13th and all that) and we did loads of shopping... well, it seemed a lot but not really, just the kind where you-hunt-for-school-shirts-in-every-shop-and-until-you-find-the-right-size-in-one-of-them-you-buy-a-couple-of-things-in-every-one-of-them. And so in my search for shirts for the wee man, I ended up, among other things, getting this new storage system for my threads - and I surprise even myself with how ridiculously happy I can get just looking at it! :D
OK, so this is how I stored my threads until now: lots of zippy bags in a large Ikea box.

I keep my threads in small zippy bags, which in turn are kept in larger zippy bags that are numbered by the hundreds, according to the DMC numbering system.

To be absolutely fair, this wasn`t a bad system - my biggest problem was that I didn`t like squeezing the air out and closing the zip every time I took a colour out or put it back. Erm, I probably need to revise what `problem` means but anyhoo, I was really chuffed when I saw this stackable drawer solution in Matalan yesterday: I`ve been looking for something like this for some time, I just never saw the right size, the drawers were either too big or too small. Not this time though, mwahahaha!

The units came in a 2-small-1-big arrangement and I bought 4 of them; luckily, the plastic frame comes apart, so I could rearrange the 12 drawers to build one tall tower - now tell me it`s not a thing of beauty! ;)

When we came home, the latest issue of Cross Stitch Crazy was waiting for me - love surprise Postie! :) - and I was happy to see the little wooden heart freebie that I`d stitched a few months ago. I loved working on these, they were such a breath of fresh air in between the other projects - usually I work on large designs and if you are a stitcher, you know how good it feels to sew something that you can start AND finish on the same day. ;)

By the time I sorted my threads last night, I admit I was too tired to go past the first page - which means I have the pleasure of reading through THREE magazines today, yesss! Yesterday I finally got round to buying the first issue of The Art of Cross Stitch (actually, I dilly-dallied so long that the 2nd issue is out now too). So I bought that one as well and now I can`t wait to see what they are like inside: I think I`ll give the no-brand threads to my friend`s daughter to make friendship bracelets with but the aida will come handy for cards and the hoop from issue 2 will be ideal for framing the flowery number I want to stitch for MIL for Mothers` Day. ;) And no matter what I find inside, I`m already happy that this magazine exists: anything that popularises our hobby is a good thing in my book. Happy stitching! :)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

4 seasons windows - Collection 271

In the UK shops now is the latest issue of Cross Stitch Collection and in it is the Seasonal Windows pic I stitched sometime before Christmas. It`s a Maria Diaz design and I enjoyed working on it a lot because one, I love her work, two, I love 4-seasons pictures and three, it is a really fast-growing project (once the walls and window frames are done, the middle fills out very quickly and there`s hardly any backstitch). The whole project took about 45 hours and as there are not too many colours and no fractionals or French knots, this could be an ideal `first big project` for somebody new-ish to cross stitch who`s ready to tackle something larger.
As I was working on this just before Christmas, I don`t have too many photos, I only took one at the end - but as the evenings were long and dark (they still are, by the way), my piccie turned out darker-than-usual too, so I took one close-up of each of the 4 windows too, these are a bit brighter. But I`ll add the photo from the magazine as well - not only is it much better lit than any of mine, it also shows the finished picture in its frame.
Hope your New Year is promising so far - happy stitching! :)

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

mandala cushion - Cross Stitch Crazy 225

This week another magazine has hit the shops and I thought I`d better post about my stitching in it before the whirlwind that is Christmas knocks everything else out of my mind. It`s a lovely pastel mandala designed by Tiny Modernist and it`s been one of the most relaxing stitches I`ve ever done - cross stitch is pretty therapeutic at the best of times anyway but working on repeat motifs like a mandala is especially joyful when you just want to switch off and chill out.
It took 48 hours - 40 for the cross stitch and 8 for adding the backstitch. I took a few pictures between `layers` and I`ll add the photo of the finished cushion too from the magazine. Have a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2017, stitchers! :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

baby girl love tree - Collection 270

You know how Facebook recalls an old memory of yours by randomly choosing something you posted 1-2-3 etc. years ago on the day? I was surprised to see the entrelac rectangle I`d knitted and then turned into a `dress` for my Mum - apparently, this was THREE years ago...?!? It surely feels less. Coincidentally, that might be the last time I shared a personal project here too, lol - since then, it`s been just one continuous stretch of stitching. Mostly models for magazines, so I can only show pictures of these once they are published - and now, when for the first time in a long while I am free to stitch for myself, I cannot share any pics because it`s a Christmas present and I don`t want the recipients to see it. I`ve been working flat out for over a week now and I have 9 days left to complete it, so I`d better stop rambling here and go back to my threads and needle. But before I go, here`s the Shannon Wasilieff baby girl love tree that`s the giant pull-out chart in this month`s Cross Stitch Collection - unbeknownst to me, someone else stitched the boy version for next month`s magazine, and magic hands also added the beads to mine which I didn`t have to. Thus my piccie is beadless... and badly illuminated, as usual, although I tried my best to make the tree visible on the almost identically coloured fabric. Thankfully, the magazine`s professional photographer did a much better job, so I`ll add the nice&bright photos and close-ups from the mag too. Hope you`ll all have a lovely Christmas and if it`s my last post for 2016, Happy New Year! :)

Monday, 21 November 2016

Spring door - Cross Stitch Gold 134

The new issue of Gold comes out tomorrow and as I have received my subscriber`s copy, I can show you some pics of the lovely Maria Diaz design that I stitched in July - wow, four months ago it was still Summer?!? So hard to believe, sitting here under 3 blankets even with the heating on full blast... meh.
Anyway, the project. It took 67 hours and I loved working on it, even the bits with metallics which are usually not my favourite part. I don`t know how visible it is but apart from the obvious golden oval frame, there`s leftover snow on the end of branches, on the logs and in the foreground in Light Effects white, so they shimmered under the light of my stitchy lamp (I suppose the photos don`t do it justice). Nevertheless, here it is, the framed picture from the mag, and a little `film` of how this design came to life. Happy stitching! :)


Monday, 14 November 2016

Rudolph stocking - Cross Stitcher 312

Just a flying visit this time because I have a pressing deadline... make that deadlines, actually. So in between 12-hour stitching sessions, I took a wee break today to walk to W H Smith and buy the latest issue of Stitcher that has this gorgeous reindeer stocking in it, designed by Susan Bates. It took only 28 hours to stitch so compared to some of the stockings out there that you look at and think that a lifetime wouldn`t be enough to stitch all those details, this one could be an ideal choice if you wanted to make a stocking before Christmas 2016. Happy stitching, peeps! :)

My finished stitching with the (now trademark) bleached photo with the flash :D

The sewn up stocking in Cross Stitcher 312

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Christmas pudding recipe - Cross Stitcher 311

Well, well, well. Same week, second post, another cover piece... :O #likebuses
We`re back from Iona and on the way home I picked up the latest issue of Cross Stitcher - my mum`s here visiting and I stitched this Christmas pudding recipe the last time she was here, which puts everything in a neat frame for my OCD, lol. The design is by Emma Congdon and I loved working on this (erm, apart from the whisks in metallic silver, hehe) because 1) it`s Christmassy, 2) it`s food-related, 3) it`s colourful, 4) it`s useful and 5) it grew so quickly (the whole picture took 32 hours, including metallic whisks). ;)
Here it is on the cover and inside the mag:

I have a few closeups of parts of this design, plus a bright photo of the whole. Hope you`re all having a good time, I`m off to cook with my mom and then stitch, happy days! :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

carol singers - Cross Stitch Gold 133

Flying visit - I`m literally typing this while packing a wee case AND emptying the fridge at the same time (we`re going away for 3 days only but, naturally, you have to empty the fridge, the freezer and, preferably, all the cupboards as well, as if you were moving out of the house forever).
The latest issue of Gold hit the UK shops yesterday and I`m sooooo happy to finally be able to share some pics of Joanne Aston`s Victorian carol singers, one of my all-time favourite projects to date.
For all the minute details that create this stunning picture, it grew surprisingly fast - I finished it in 70 hours and that included all the backstitch in 8 different shades and the dozens of French knots. I`m also happy to see it on the cover of the magazine - funnily, I`ve just noticed that it`s in a golden frame there, yet inside the mag it`s in a red frame to complement the door (I think both look lovely btw):

I have made another mini-film with the 5-hourly photos I`d taken but before that, here`s a sneak peek I`ve spotted right under the close-up shots of the carol singers: a preview of the Maria Diaz picture I stitched a few months ago. Happy stitching, everyone! :)


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Home For Christmas sampler - Cross Stitcher 310

Remember how I said in my last post that I`d just finished with the Christmas projects? It turns out, that was just a one-off mini break: I`m back on stockings this week. You`d think I`d be sick of them by now but on the contrary: I`m enjoying this current project so much that I almost forgot to show you another project (yes, it happens to be a Christmassy one) that`s out now in the latest issue of Cross Stitcher.
Funnily enough, for someone who hates stitching the same motif over and over again - I get bored very rapidly with repetitive stuff... makes you wonder how I can spend most of my time stabbing some fabric with a needle, then, but there you go. Anyway, I guess it`s more like... I couldn`t (or wouldn`t want to, to be more precise) stitch the same teddy bear design 3 times for three nieces, for example - but band samplers, I love! Stitching just 3 or 5 of the same mini-motif isn`t enough to qualify as `repetitive` and there is something rewarding in watching the whole grow one band at a time. In addition, I liked both the fabric I got for this one and the `traditional with a modern twist` appeal (besides, anything that has a red VW Beetle on it can only be good in my book). I`m glad to see it on this months`s cover in the frame that complements it so well:

Here`s my own photo, sans frame, but at least in its entirety:

And - still on the subject of Christmas - I also spotted in next month`s preview the funky Christmas pudding recipe I stitched in the summer. *sings in Bing Crosby voice, `May your days be merry and bright, / Here`s a pudding I stitched in July*

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

partridge in a pear tree - Cross Stitch Gold 132

This week the latest issue of Gold hits the UK shops and I can finally share some pics of this lovely design by Porterfields that I worked on around April. Yes, that means I`ve been singing The Twelve Days of Christmas since April. Actually, I just finished working on Christmas designs, so I can take a wee break for Halloween, basically, and then the real Christmas starts - no wonder I`m in a festive mood all year round! ;) 

It took 58 hours and I love its folksy feel, plus - I don`t know if you can see this - but there are 3 variegated threads used: apart from the obvious green one in the frame, the purplish blue and the sandy coloured background are variegated too, and somehow the subtle colour changes make stitching big blocks more enjoyable. #orisitjustme


This Gold is the first really Christmassy issue this year and I love seeing all the reds, golds and greens, and all the Santas, Rudolphs and snowmen starting to appear - maybe that`s why I love stitching them almost all year round? Oh, and lookee what I spotted on the preview page: my gorgeous carol singers will be in the next issue! :) *starts to sing 12 Days of Christmas, again*

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

chandeliers - Cross Stitch Crazy 220

The new issue of Crazy hits the shops tomorrow but I got my subs copy a couple of days ago and decided this morning to tear myself away from the latest commission (it`s a Maria Diaz and I`m having so much fun with it, it`s hard to put it down!) to share some pics here of the chandeliers I`d stitched a few months ago. They were designed by my Technical Editor, Fiona Baker and were, in a way, an experiment, to see how jewellery beads would work - as opposed to the more customary Mill Hill beads that we usually see on cross stitch projects. I`m happy to report that the large beads were great fun to work with: I enjoyed that I didn`t have to worry about the needle size and also the challenge of finding the best way to secure them to the fabric so that they`d stand upright and glimmer as they`re supposed to. And I`m glad to see that - with the exception of one or two rebels that must have fallen on their faces in transit, lol! - I`ve succeeded. :)

I love the finishes too, these metallic hoops look great! :)

And since this is Cross Stitch Crazy, the only magazine that publishes the stitcher`s name, I can have my 15 minutes of fame too:

Not to mention that - albeit anonymously this time - I provided another pic for this issue: the pub signs I stitched for Twilleys of Stamford are among the recommended kits in the Sherlock Anne section of the magazine - yay! :) Happy stitching, folks!