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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

kitchen dresser - Collection 244

This issue of Collection has been in the shops for a while but in the run-up to Christmas I`m only having the time now to post some photos of the beautiful country-style kitchen dresser that Maria Diaz designed. Unfortunately, my brain is so fried after the past few hectic days of festive organising that I hardly know what I`m typing, so I`ll rather let the pictures do the talking - here they are, taken every 5 hours, as usual (I love how the building up of the blue bits formed the contours of the plates, etc. on the dresser):

And this is it all framed and beautifully accessorised in the magazine - how cute are these little heart ornies that are the exact replicas of the ones hanging on the dresser? :)

Even the distressed blue wood seems to be spot on! ;) Oh, and there`s little me again, saying all kinds of `clever` things... unfortunately, my answers have been cropped and re-organised in such a manner that I seem to make even less sense than usual, hehe.
Sorry about the poor photo quality but it`s partly due to the matt paper -
which , thankfully, Collection have promised to change back to the old, shiny type

Anyway, the `nightmarish` teeny-tiny backstitches I`m talking about are these:

But apart from the half hour I struggled with this bit, the whole project was a most enjoyable experience. As were ALL the projects I had the good fortune to stitch this year, come to think of it. So hoping that 2015 will bring loads more gorgeous stitching for all of us, I`d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

a true Christmas surprise

Something unexpected and simply wonderful has happened today: a courier turned up with a parcel from Cross Stitch Collection; it was massive big and I had no idea what was in it - then I saw and spent the next ten minutes running around the house, screaming, and the rest of the evening grinning like a Cheshire cat. Look what has returned to me! And just in time to be displayed for Christmas too - squeeeee! `Over the moon` would be an understatement! :)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cross Stitch Crazy 198 - Happy New Year!

Oh, dear... it`s been a while again, hasn`t it? In my defence, I started to work on a mega-BAP around the middle of October and only just finished it today - so this one project covered pretty much my whole autumn. Next thing I know, we`re all concentrating on Christmas, buying cards and preparing for the school fair - where has this year gone?!? Oh, and just to top it all: the latest Crazy is in the shops now, including my New Year cards - yep, Hello, 2015! (Gosh, how weird is that to type??)
These 7 funky little cards were designed by Jody Rice of Satsuma Street fame - if you haven`t heard of her or haven`t seen her Etsy shop yet, you can find out more from this interview with Jody on cross-stitching-dot-com.
Talking of cards: remember how throughout the summer I was stitching Christmas designs? Now I`m working on Fathers` Day cards... is it any wonder that I never know what day of the week it is?!? :)
My usual badly lit photo...

... and how they appear in the magazine...

... all made up into pretty little cards :)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

unexpected surprise I should`ve expected but didn`t

WOW! I got my complimentary copy of Collection 242 yesterday, with Part 2 of Santa`s Journey in it - to be honest, even getting the magazine was a surprise, I wasn`t sure how it worked (this being my first 3-parter), but the REAL surprise came when I opened it: there`s little me, stitching away happily, on page 10! Gob well and truly smacked...
Coincidentally, I`m working on another 3-parter at the moment, another Maria Diaz stunner - plus some smaller projects for Twilleys of Stamford and I also have a jumper commissioned so I`m knitting in the evenings... all the while making grandiose plans as to what else I`m going to be stitching and knitting for Christmas... never realising for a minute that in about a week it`s November. *sigh*
So if I`m even less communicative blogwise than usual, it`s because I`m busier than usual - but here`s a photo of my photo in the mag so you won`t forget what I look like:

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Santa`s Journey - Cross Stitch Collection 241-243

Finally, the day has dawned (well, 2 days ago) when my favourite - and so far, largest - piece has been published, or to be more precise, its picture first appeared but the chart, due to its size, will be featured in 3 consecutive magazines, issues 241, 242 and 243 of Collection. But the first issue is in the shops now, so FINALLY I can show you the progress piccies (made into a "film") that I took every 5 hours while I was working on this BAP back in June. (I`d like to grab the opportunity and congratulate those among you who were observant enough to notice: yes, I did spend my whole Spring and Summer stitching Christmas pieces, lol!).
It doesn`t happen too often that you fall in love with a project so much that even though you`re looking forward to seeing it finished, at the same time you don`t want it to end. This lovely design by Maria Diaz is like the illustration from a picture book; it tells a story and, from a stitcher`s point of view, it means that you can work on mini-pictures within the picture, so it never gets boring for a minute... and then one day you realise that there`s no more detail to add, it`s complete (a bittersweet moment!). When I wanted to see the windows on a house properly, I did the backstitch. When I realised I couldn`t continue the BS because I`ve run out of finished XS, I did a bit more snow that connected the next mini-picture to this one. When I got bored of stitching with just white, I added another wee scene, and so on, and so on. I hope a lot of people will stitch it because not only is it a totally enjoyable piece to work on, but also something you can bring out every year - especially if there are young children in the house: I wonder how many will try to read the names on that list that Santa`s checking - as we all know, twice! ;)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cross Stitch Card Shop 98 - pets in stockings

As of from today, the latest issue of Card Shop is available, and in it are the pets-in-stockings cards I stitched, designed by Debra Page. This set of 6 took me a surprising 90 hours - I don`t know about you, but I`d really, REALLY have to like that pet owner friend of mine to spend 15 hours on stitching just a card for them, on top of giving them a `proper` present! But I might be just too "bah humbug" ;) 
Anyway, I wanted to ask your opinion because it may be just my eyes playing tricks on me (after all, it wouldn`t be too surprising after all the hours I spend stitching, lol). Don`t you guys think that the photos in these magazines are getting brighter and brighter? Maybe they have to be so strongly lit in order to show off beads or metallic threads, I don`t know, but I`ve noticed that there`s a huge difference between how I remember the colours of a certain project and how they appear in the mag... lol, or it might be due to my awful photography skills? ;) I`ll let you decide!
Lovely backstitch detail - what a difference it can make, right?
Guinea pigs in stockings :)
Next up: puppy dogs :)
Mixed message: Easter bunnies in Christmas stockings, lol!
That`s all six cards done ;)
And how they appeared in the magazine. Is it just me or are they a bit `bleached`?

Monday, 1 September 2014

Cross Stitch Gold 114

Finally, after stitching Christmas pieces from about March till July, the first ones are starting to appear in the magazines - yay! So much so that there`s an instant double whammy in the shops just now, in the shape of Gold 114, with my little snowman on the cover and my fairy inside. :)
The snow globe was designed by Durene Jones, as you probably guessed from the snowman`s distinctive carrot nose. ;) It took me 81 hours to stitch (back in May, lol!) - a bit longer than you might expect for a picture that has nice big chunks of colour - but there was some fiddly fractionals around the letters, backstitch and beads. In other words, a thoroughly enjoyable project that never got boring for a single second! ;)
My finished version looked like this:

And in the mag they opted for the hoop frame that`s so trendy these days:

Next came (well, in July, just before going on my summer holiday) the Christmas fairy by my favourite designer, Maria Diaz. There is such a Victorian elegance to this piece, don`t you think?

I have to confess that of all the colours, purple is the only one I don`t like - yet the baubles seem to work  in this picture somehow, so much so that I`d probably have opted for a purplish frame (but I guess they wanted to match it to the fairy`s poinsettia-like dress, not to mention that red is more traditionally associated with Christmas). As usual with Maria`s designs, there`s a stunning attention to detail, from the golden thread on the baubles to the fairy dust around the wand as she`s lighting the candle, to the background worked with two shades of moss green (cross stitch in one strand for added depth). This picture also took 80 hours to complete and I have a few progress photos to share - thank you for visiting and happy stitching to all of you! :)
First stage: the poinsettia dress :)

What I lovingly called "the haemorrhoid stage" ;)

The situation was getting even more kinky as my fairy got two balls :O

Then her hollow eye sockets started the freak me out so I stitched the details of her face :)

I plodded on with the background greenery...

And, finally, after 80 hours, she was completed :)

Monday, 11 August 2014

sunflowers with a twist

Contrary to what I`d planned, in the end I didn`t have any time left to write another post before going on holiday, so I`m catching up now that we`re back (after 4 awesome weeks in Hungary... but I won`t bore you with details, it`s sufficient to say, again, that the holiday was AWESOME!). After arriving home last night, I found some lovely stitchy magazines piled up on the carpet, and the first one I opened was issue 113 of Gold, with Durene Jones` sunflowers on the cover. Although the colour palette is not one I`d have chosen if I had been to pick a picture for myself, yet I loved this project for its technical merits: it only uses a few colours, it grows pretty quickly and the beads add a nice change to the usual finishing touches. 
I hope you`ve all had a lovely summer, happy stitching!
In the beginning, there was the Venetian mask...

But in a few short hours, it turned into Sunflowers at Dusk

I love the finish: framed in a hoop - cute! 

Monday, 7 July 2014

blackwork birds - Card Shop 97

Another publication in the shops, yay! It`s Cross Stitch Card Shop 97, and in it are the gorgeous Lesley Teare cards I stitched back in January. I think they`re fab - a stunning combination of vibrant colours and the timeless elegance of blackwork (a great favourite of mine). I enjoyed working on these immensely and I`m happy that, after all these months, the magazine is finally in the shops.
Since I`m going on holiday in a few short days, I`ll write another post and time its publication so as not to miss issue 113 of Gold that`s coming out while I`m away. Hope you all will have a lovely summer, see you in August! :)

Friday, 27 June 2014

tea cups - Cross Stitch Collection 238

The latest issue of Cross Stitch Collection is in the shops today and in it are the little tea cups that have had me wondering for months now... well, not so much the actual cups - lovely, vintage china designs by Maria Diaz -, but the size of the pieces of fabric I had to stitch some of them on. Of course, now it all makes perfect sense: the smaller ones have been turned into napkins and a pocket sewn onto a pretty little apron, but the largest one ended up as a tea cosy - a matching set fit for the best of kitchens! I can think of at least five people off the top of my head right now who`d love to have these - maybe for Christmas? ;)

The blue cup pattern can be downloaded free from :)

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Cross Stitch Gold 112 - parasols

I thought the time would never come when one of my stitches actually appeared in a magazine, it`s been sooooo long since anything of mine has been published! Or maybe that`s just how it felt to me... Anyway, here`s the latest one: my cheerful parasols, designed by Durene Jones, which ended up on an oh-so-summery beach bag.
It has been a real pleasure to work on this - deceptively? - easy-looking, smallish design; after all, it`s only 128x123 (on 14ct, 23,5x22,5 cm) and uses a total of 26 colours. However, it definitely needed the deployment of a good, easy-to-follow marking system, both for the similar shades of cream in the background and the backstitch. Oh, and for a little teaser, at the back of issue 112, you can see my sunflowers advertised from the next issue of Gold - yay! This might just mark the beginning of a summery cheer-spreading offensive on the part of Durene and yours truly...? ;)
Over halfway there, trying not to mix up which handle belongs to which parasol ;)

Just remembered in the nick of time that I wanted to take a photo
of the finished cross stitch, before starting the backstitch (ooops!)

And a mere 56 hours later - the finished product :)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

surprise post

This post is not only a surprise to those who thought I`d disappeared (it is truly shocking how long I`ve neglected my blog!), but the title also refers to the surprise I got a few minutes ago. I was looking for a Riolis design and while browsing the Sew and So website, I spotted Twilleys on their list. I clicked on it, and sure enough, I came across some familiar pictures! :) I stitched these for Twilleys of Stamford such a long time ago that I can`t even remember where I saved the photos, so I`ll use Sew and So`s links. I worked this poppy wreath sometime last autumn, and this beach sign... oh, it must have been over a year ago now...? Gosh, and as I`m scrolling down the Sew and So page, I`ve just discovered some bookmarks here and here that were also stitched by me - wow, what a strange `reunion`!
That reminds me: this year it`ll be 20 years since we`ve graduated from high school and my old classmates are busy organising the party - for the first weekend in September! :( If everything goes according to plan, we`re going to Hungary in July for a wee holiday, so I`m going to miss this reunion again - such a pity, I`d love to see the old faces after all this time! Ach, well, I just have to wait another 5 years now... ;)
In other news, the reason why I`ve been neglecting my blog is that I`m super-busy with more (!) Christmas stitching - big piccies, cards, you name it. I`ve been humming Jingle Bells since the end of March now but photos, alas, I can`t show you yet - my next project will be in Gold 112*, out around the middle of June. So until then: happy stitching!

* Technically, if you`ve seen issue 111, you`ve probably seen my pic too in next month`s preview, but I`m such a tease, I won`t even tell you it`s the pa... oooops, it almost slipped out! :)

Friday, 2 May 2014

Escape to Paris - Cross Stitch Collection 236

Well, here it is! My biggest project so far is in the shops now, so finally I can show you what it is (I`ve been bursting for months!). It`s a Parisian street scene by my favourite designer, Maria Diaz, and as it happens, it`s been selected as the chart of this month - which meant I had to send in a more-or-less presentable mugshot, eek! I managed to find a pre-double chin piccie of myself, and as a bonus, I`m stitching in it, so that was fine...well, I`m saying `fine` - you decide for yourselves:

I spent practically the whole of January stitching this stunning, 180x180 (32.5x32.5 cm on 28 ct evenweave) picture and I absolutely loved every minute of it, even the 7 or 8 hours` worth of backstitch and the 320 French knots - when you`re working on a picture of Paris, you tend to say c`est la vie more readily. ;)
When working on a magazine project, I have to time myself (as well as take notes of the lengths of thread I use of every colour), so with this one, I started to stop and take a photo after every 5 hours. Little did I know at the beginning that it`d take me 122 hours to finish - thus I ended up with so many photos that this blog wouldn`t be big enough for all of them! :) So for the first time ever, I tried to turn them into some sort of a montage, a very basic mini-video with no sound or special effects... or even proper lighting, lol. I`ve seen more professional ones on YouTube but this one`s special to me; I love watching how the picture grows, and I hope you`ll like it too! Happy stitching! :)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mama`s cottage

I know, it`s been a while AGAIN, but I haven`t had any magazine pictures to share lately, and the only `private` stitching I`d done* was a secret until last Sunday. But now the recipient, my Gran, has been presented with it for her 81st birthday, so I can show it y`all; moreover, I can even report that she loved it.
It`s a lovely little cottage, designed by Michael Powell, from issue 234 of Cross Stitch Collection. The design measures 9x9 cm on 28 ct evenweave and originally uses Anchor threads but I substituted them for DMC, because I have more of those. I took 3 photos of the finished picture: one after all the cross stitch was done, and one with all the backstitch - if it`s true that the backstitch makes a design really come to life, I think it`s doubly true to Michael Powell`s creations. And the third picture is of my finish: I bought this mini easel off Ebay, it`s about 12 cm tall and the actual frame I stretched my canvas (!) over is about 10x10 cm. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the back, so you can`t see how neatly it`s stapled and covered with brown paper - very professional looking, even if I say so myself, lol!
If I don`t see you before then, HAPPY EASTER, everyone - and now back to my snowman (yep, I`m already stitching for Christmas... in April). Is it me or are the years getting shorter??

* apart from a couple of heart-shaped fridge magnets I made for `the girls` for Mothers` Day, of which I forgot to take a photo, and now they`re away, my Mum took them home and she and my Gran are not supposed to open their cards until the first Sunday in May.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

entrelac beauty

Apologies for the shorter-than-usual posts but my Mommy`s here and I`m busy doing all kinds of fun stuff with her - normally, I wouldn`t include `spring-cleaning` in this category, but doing it with my Mum, even that can be fun! ;)
Anyway, I just wanted to share a quick photo with you of the finished entrelac garment, which is yet another proof of my Gran`s genius: she knitted a rib for the bottom to stop it from curling, and another one for the neckline, plus she crocheted two shoulder bits to make room for said neckline. And as a bonus, the whole thing got 3-4 inches longer, so now it can be worn as a sort of tunic - as I said, the woman is a genius!!!
Mummy marvelling at the mini Christmas tree that we`d bought 2 years ago for  Gregory`s
teddies (?!?), and after Xmas we relocated it outside in this empty planter, little knowing that
the previous tenant left some bulbs in it, probably daffodils, which we`ll replant soon elsewhere

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cross Stitch Gold 110 - the Poodle Bag

The latest issue of Gold is in the shops now, so I can share a few pictures of the bag I stitched. It was my first project designed by Debra Page, and I totally enjoyed working with a slightly different medium this time - a ready-made, 20-ct linen bag, on which I had to use 3 strands for better coverage. And here`s the end result:
Halfway there...

All finished!

Professional magazine photo with accessories :)

Saturday, 8 March 2014

another 4 cards - Cross Stitch Collection 234

I don`t want to over-use the phrase about buses but here we are: another lot of 4 cards, also designed by Maria Diaz, only this time the theme is not `new home` but `birthday blooms`. And yet another strange coincidence: the photographer arranged them almost identically to how I took my picture before returning them - weird or what? *question fades into Twilight Zone theme music*

Thursday, 6 March 2014

new home cards - Cross Stitch Card Shop 95

Basically, the title says it all: the latest issue of Card Shop (95) hits the UK shops today and in it there are the 4 new home cards, by Maria Diaz (naturally!), that I stitched sometime before Christmas. They were a quick and easy stitch and I took a couple of quick and easy photos of them:
The first one I finished, my favourite, with the little birds :)

All 4 done, ready to be ironed and sent back...

And how they`re cleverly turned into cards (excuse the fold line) :)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

La Scapigliata - finished!

I had to rummage through some pretty old posts to find when I started this - apparently, on 17 May 2012. As with all my own stitching, I enjoyed the luxury of not having to keep count of the hours and minutes I spent working on it - therefore, I have no idea how long it took but I`d guess I spent about 2 or 3 weeks in total stitching this. Now I wonder how long it`ll take me to find a suitable frame for it...

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

George, the handsome hippo

Do you remember Gloria, my glorious diva of a hippo? Well, I put her up for sale in my Etsy shop, and a couple of weeks ago someone saw her and - as expected - fell in love with her. Only problem was that this lady wanted a boy version for her (yet) unborn nephew, and preferably in grey. So I slightly amended the original Alan Dart pattern and came up with this:
I think he`s just as gorgeous as his big sister - pity the lady who`d ordered him never contacted me since! I hope she still wants him... then again, I wouldn`t mind keeping him at all! I`ll keep y`all posted.
Elsewhere, in my little dreamworld of freedom (=I haven`t had any commissioned stitching for over a week now), I stitched this freebie from the latest Crazy and made it up for my MIL for Mothers` Day - I hope she`ll like it, I wanted something cheerful (she had a heart operation a few weeks ago and she`s still not 100% but she`s getting there). So here are some colourful birds to cheer her up:

And as there`s still no sign of any model stitching in the pipeline for the noo, you won`t believe what I`ve unearthed from the bowels of my cupboard: La Scapigliata! Yes, I started working on it last night and I hope to finish it before the next commission arrives - again, I`ll keep y`all posted of my progress. Happy stitching!