Thursday, 16 December 2021

Peter Rabbit, matryoshka, Christmas baking, pill boxes and Rialto

Last post of 2021 - where has this year disappeared?? 😲 Feels like we barely put the Christmas decorations away and it`s time to get them out again! Anyway, thought I`d better add one more update on what`s happening around here before the end of the year. 😊
In the UK shops now is the latest issue (315) of The World of Cross Stitching, and I have two projects in this one: the cute Peter Rabbit card as the free gift, and a Russian doll in shades of blue.

The classic Beatrix Potter illustration was converted into a cross stitch chart by the magazine`s multitalented Senior Technical Editor, Fiona Baker, who also designed this matryoshka doll that was a joy to stitch. I love nesting dolls anyway, but in this case it wasn`t just the subject that appealed: there are all sorts of technical challenges that kept me entertained. I enjoyed the straightforward, easy blocks of cross stitch, the elegance of the blackwork detail, the rare opportunity to work lazy daisy stitches, and adding the backstitch and beads.

Another magazine, Cross Stitcher (378) is also in the UK shops now, and I`ve spotted a surprise in it: this is an Emma Congdon design I`d stitched a good while ago but things must have got reshuffled and it`s only being published now. I`m pleased to see it in print - I seem to remember there was a therapeutic quality to stitching those Christmas lights. 🤣

In other news, after that big rush of commissions in Sept-Nov, I continue to make sure I take time to craft things `just because` - the first case in point being these pill boxes I spotted at our local post office. They were £1 each and I liked that they have 7 slots for the days of the week. I immediately thought of my MIL who`s always hunting for new/better pill boxes (at the moment she has a tiny one with two miniscule compartments), so I picked up 2 of these beauties, in case I muck up the first one (which is exactly what happened, so well done, Past Laura, for the foresight *pats own back*). 😉

Now, far be it from me that I should offend lovers of pugs, novelty hats or kitsch in general, but I felt these lids had to go and be replaced with a little cross stitch motif that MIL would appreciate more. Disclaimer: I got a lot of help with this project from DH - for example, after I`d attacked the first one with various sharp implements and broke the plastic into smithereens, he spent ages soaking the other one in hot water, until it came off in one piece. But then I found out that while the white background could be peeled off (in 1 mm segments of torn silk), the actual pug face - and hat, let`s not forget the hat - was part of a see-through plastic foil that was welded, or held by magic, to the perspex (I came to this conclusion after breaking 2 nails and 1 plastic spoon).

When DH saw that I was wheezing and about to attack it with sandpaper, the dear man must have thought, `Well, that`d knacker it anyway with score marks`, and he ordered new perspex from Ebay for me - and not only the perfect size, but he even made sure the edges were bevelled! 🥰 So I added my wee stitched rose to it and I think it`ll be a much more suitable pill box for my MIL: 

Finally, last week I also started on a cross stitch project just for me: Mary Hickmott`s `Rialto Bridge` (available from her Etsy shop). I thoroughly enjoyed working on this, brought back memories from 30 years ago (THIRTY?!?), and while I was stitching it, the fabric arrived for another Mary Hickmott design called `Highland Living` that I specifically bought to go in the long, narrow space on the wall above The Monarch of the Glen, so I very enthusiastically started on it last night (even though a couple of commissions have arrived in the meantime but January deadlines seem so far in the future atm). 😉 For the now, nothing else matters than the holidays - I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, all the best for 2022 and, as always, happy stitching! 😊

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