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Sunday, 6 January 2019

swans and mermaids

Happy New Year! 😊 Hope you all had a great Christmas and a lovely holiday. I was in that strange but familiar state for the past two weeks where you barely know what day or what time of any day it is - not to sound all bah humbug but I`m a wee bit looking forward to tomorrow morning when everything is (supposed to be...?) going back to normal. 😉
A couple of weeks ago (I think. Sometime last year, anyway), issue 251 of Cross Stitch Crazy came out and the free gift with it is this gorgeous swan, designed by Durene Jones:


It took five and a half hours to stitch, which is always a welcome change between two big projects; I love when I can start and finish a picture, and a gorgeous one like this to boot, on the same day. And I also love the card that comes with the kit, it complements the design beautifully.


In between two mince pies, I also learnt that issue 6 (titled "Mixtape") of X Stitch Magazine has become available digitally, and in this, there`s a couple (or "wreath"?) of mermaids, designed by Peacock&Fig`s Dana Batho, that I stitched for Mr X Stitch. Here`s my photo of the finished pic, complete with beads... which, I`m just realising now, cannot be seen, so I`d better add photographer Stacy Grant`s professional pic too that you can find in the magazine. Have a great start to 2019, folks, and happy stitching! 😊





Saturday, 15 December 2018

Arts and Crafts

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to be part of DMC`s new collaboration with the V&A that resulted in the launch of a new range of cross stitch kits based on the works of William Morris and other prominent designers of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Since now the kits are available in needlework shops, I can share my pics of the models of the three 7" hoops and the two bookmarks I stitched. 😊

Golden Lily by J. H. Dearle

Myrtle by J.H. Dearle

Strawberry Thief by William Morris

Strawberry Thief by William Morris
Bird & Berry by C. F. A. Voysey

Around the same time, I was also lucky enough to be involved in Mr. X Stitch`s project at Standen House. This Arts and Crafts house belongs to the National Trust, and they entrusted him with this year`s Christmas tree instalment. Mr. X Stitch, not surprisingly, dreamt up a tree filled with stitched ornaments. You may remember that a few months ago, I also sent him this bauble...?


It turns out, mine was one of the over 800 (!) baubles that Jamie received and turned into mini hoop decorations. But at the same time, he also commissioned 12 big, 18" quilting hoops too, one each for the 12 Days of Christmas (luckily, there seems to be plenty of room on that 20-foot tree! 😉). I got the 7 Swans A-Swimming:


You can find out more about the project on Standen`s site or from this BBC report, and there are quite a few pics on Standen`s Twitter page  too - my fave being this one of the dozens and dozens of mini baubles behind Jamie and my swan in the naughty corner. 😂 Happy stitching, peeps, and Merry Christmas! 😊



Update: Thanks to a Facebook share by the Royal School of Needlework, I saw this month-old video by the National Trust the other day, and to my great surprise, I discovered the bauble I`d stitched among the many hundreds - what are the chances of that?!?* 😮😁🤗

*Answer: 1 in 800 😉



Thursday, 6 December 2018

festive animals and calendar girls - Cross Stitcher 339

The latest issue of Cross Stitcher is in the UK shops now and I have loooooads of pictures for this one... of the not-well-lit-but-informative (perhaps) kind.


First up, the festive animal hoops designed by Durene Jones. I loved working on these, not just because of the Christmas theme but also because I was reading a book at the time in which there was a family tradition of picking out the tree together and it was mostly the father`s thing but after he suddenly died, the family kept on doing it every year in his memory. So one minute I was going Awwwww! while stitching the dogs, and then I started on the cats and giggled every time I looked at them because I pictured my husband with the Christmas lights, doing The Detangling (another annual tradition, I`m sure, in many households).
I love stitching pieces that evoke such feelings and I also have a couple of photos for these hoops to show what a difference adding the backstitch made - I was in a stitching frenzy at the time, so I forgot to stop and take a pic for the first one, but I remembered (just!) when I started the BS on the cats and by the time I got to the fox, I was fully cognisant and stopped after I finished the XS to take a photo (let`s focus on this fact and not the quality, shall we?). So here they are:






With this same issue of Cross Stitcher, readers (of paper copies, I`m afraid, not digital) get a CD-case type calendar, designed by Maria Diaz. I stitched 4 of the 12 wee calendar girls and they were great fun to work on - you know that "same, but different" feeling? The same little girl every month was just familiar enough to make it quicker to stitch e.g. her hair but not enough to get boring and "same old, same old" because she wears/does something different each month. And on top of that, I got May, June, July and August - what`s not to like? 😉 It was a nice wee breather among all those Christmas projects. Happy stitching!








Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Double Dog and Fizzy Moon

I almost forgot to post about Double Dog! 😲😱😂


This cute little pup, designed by Makiko, is the free gift with the latest issue of Cross Stitch Crazy (250). As far as I know, he has no name - only I call him Double Dog, because I got to stitch him twice, once in May and once in July. Yep, some of the Christmas stuff gets prepared that much in advance (so no wonder the odd pup goes walkies occasionally). 😉 But the main thing is that he and his little robin friend reappeared for showtime:


And still on the subject of Christmas cards: last weekend I did some private stitching (IKR? 😱) and finished this Fizzy Moon for my mom-in-law. Hubby chose it from my stash (clearly, a man who has no idea of what backstitch is), but it got done and after my freshly ordered super-sticky double sided tapes arrived, I even made up the card so am well pleased with my effort - hope she`ll like it too! 😊



Tuesday, 6 November 2018

polar bear and printer`s tray

OK, if I don`t post tonight, I might never do (I know I`ll be snowed under for the next week or two). #accidentalpoem
Last week, issue 275 of The World of Cross Stitching came out and the free gift with the magazine is this cute little polar bear cub, designed by Angela Poole:


Isn`t he a sweetie pie? 😍 I stitched him around the same time as that two-sided snowman bauble, i.e. still during The Great Metallic Shortage, so the sparkly snowflakes were added later, and I love how they appear in the clever aperture card:


And today the latest issue of Cross Stitcher (338) hit the UK shops, with my printer`s tray on the cover:


This folksy project was designed by Faye Walsh from Little Dove Designs and I had great fun with it. As you can see, I got one big piece of aida to stitch it on, which was then later cut to size and fitted in the tray`s compartments. I always enjoy simple designs with hardly any backstitch between two fiddly, labour intensive pieces, and this printer`s tray project with its bright, cheerful colours was a breath of fresh air. I took close-ups of the individual patterns, hope you like them, happy stitching! 😊











Tuesday, 23 October 2018

singing mice and Aladdin

Yesterday I had two new magazines delivered (yay!) so I`ve got some pics to share. 😊 First up, the cover kit that is the free gift with this month`s Cross Stitch Crazy (issue 249). It`s another cute Margaret Sherry pic, this time of three little mice singing Christmas carols - and there`s even a wee red hoop in the kit to frame the finished stitching, how cool is that? 🤗


And from today, issue 151 of Cross Stitch Gold is available in the UK shops, with my Carol Thornton cushion in it of a cat that I affectionately named Aladdin - you`ll see in a minute why. Coz from just the tabby, it might not be that obvious...

15 hours

But then this happened:

24 hours

And even though I knew he was lying on a cushion or rug, all I saw was this:


But then I started to add the paisley border and it looked less magic carpety and more Christmassy:

30 hours

Finally, after 70 hours, it was complete:


And I love how turning it into a cushion transformed it: I`m surprised every time I look at the finished item how different it looks with the edge of the design touching the cushion`s piping and those four paisley corners were made to measure! 😍 I`m a big Carol Thornton fan (as it happens, I`m stitching another one of her pictures for a later issue of Gold atm) and I`m already excited about the wintry watermill I see in the preview of issue 152. I loved that beach cottage that was in a recent Gold too, and also her autumn watermill - who knows, maybe I`ll start a wall of "Buildings by Carol Thornton" one day, when I have loads of time (ha! Ha. HA!). Happy stitching!





Thursday, 4 October 2018

private zoo - thanks to Superpostie 🤗

Oh my, oh my, oh my! Still dizzy from hyperventilating a bit and legs still shaky from all the happy dancing I`ve been doing - but look at what postie`s delivered! 😮😍
Remember the tiger, the koalas and the lambs I stitched a while ago? Well, today I got them back... *continues to scream the house down*


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Aaaaaaand it`s October! 😲 Which means: Merry Christmas, everyone! 😆


This week, issue 274 of The World of Cross Stitching hits the UK shops, and the Cover Star (their words, not mine btw!) is this super sweet design by Margaret Sherry of three kittens in Christmas stockings. Well, that`s the official title anyway - but I think that wee mouse steals the show hands down! 😄 I`ve got a few progress pics for this project, my favourites being the two between 30 and 32 hours - that`s when I added the green backstitch to the needles of the tree and I lurved the difference it made.

7 hours

14 hours

19 hours

30 hours

32 hours

35 hours - finished! 😊

And here they are, nicely framed in the magazine:


Now, I can also share some pics of the Durene Jones Cover Kits Galore Event that is happening these past couple of weeks: last week, the latest issue of Crazy came out with "our" robin gift tags (more on those in a mo) but first, the snowman bauble kit that is the free gift with this issue of WOCS.


When I saw the wee pack, for a split second I wondered if I just dreamt that this had two sides - but no, if you check the bottom left corner, there`s the back of the snowman. 😊 And if you`re really eagle-eyed, you may also spot that the finished bauble has metallic BS added that`s missing from my original pics - the threads didn`t arrive in time so the team had to add the snowflakes, etc. in-house (there you go, a little behind-the-scenes info for ya). 😉


So as I said, last week issue 248 of Cross Stitch Crazy was published, and its cover gift is also by Durene Jones: a set of 8 little Christmassy robins that have been turned into gift tags. I loved stitching these, as well as the front-and-back snowman - they were fun, festive and cheerful, just the kind of project to put me in the Christmas mood, no matter what month of the year. 😃 Happy stitching, everyone!