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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Indian elephant and Van Gogh

I almost did something else again! But if I don`t post now, I never will. *puts on determined face*
I`m so busy having fun with my own stitching these days that I keep forgetting about other stuff I`m supposed to be doing. Not to mention the wee man`s school programs - and crocheting: have I mentioned I`ve learnt to crochet sunburst granny squares? I enjoy them so much I`ve started mass-producing them:

I`ve decided it goes faster if I do the same round on all of them - but when that gets too boring, I switch back to completing each square individually, it makes a change to swap between colours and stitch types. Hopefully, one day I`ll have enough squares to make a blanket.
So. There are some publications out there this week (last week?) that have my pieces in them, including this gorgeous Indian elephant in Gold 139, designed by Carol Thornton.

I love the vibrant colours and the straight lines that were especially soothing to stitch, as was all the filling out with that gorgeous pale yellow. Elephants are my favourite among favourite animals, so I was really pleased when this project came my way.

5,5 hours

11,5 hours

20 hours

32 hours

50 hours

67 hours - finished! 😊

I don`t always take pics of the back but I love how tidy those straight lines make this look

There`s also issue 257 of The World of Cross Stitching in the shops, and this month`s free gift is the beautiful butterflies card... that I think I`ve posted about already but here it is then, as a recap:

This week I was also excited to be able to pick up my parents` "Christmas" present from the framer - it looks just the way I pictured it in my head so I`m over the moon with it and I hope they`ll like it too. I`ll find out in about a fortnight - and when I come back from holiday, I can finally put some photos of it up here too.
What else? Finally, after 5 long years of owning the HAED chart of Van Gogh`s Starry Night, I managed to get round to having it re-printed in the library - I thought, why struggle when I can have the chart on A3 pages? So I had them done and last week I was ready to go:

I started from the bottom right corner and after 7 days I had my first page finish:

But then as I was showing it to folks on Facebook, I began to realise that I wasn`t happy with the colour scheme. 😩 I chose Starry Night not only because I love Van Gogh but also because blue is my favourite colour - as opposed to purple, the only colour I don`t like. I put my chart and a picture of the original painting side by side...

...and decided to abandon this project for the now. I think I`m going to chart it for myself, using blues instead of purples, and I`ll try to make it the right size so that I can still use this nice big piece of aida, which is still going to be quite large, even after I cut this stitched bit off (as there is no way I can unpick it). But so as not to be without Van Gogh in the meantime, last night I started his Sunflowers (I`ve had this Maria Diaz design for ages, it`s in the July 2009 issue (172) of Collection).

And while I was working on the bottom right corner of the purple Starry Night, I also realised that if I`m going to spend months and months stitching such a confetti-heavy piece, I`m going to need something (crafting-wise, I mean. At the same time, I`m also translating but that`s a different kind of challenge and satisfaction), so I`m going to need something that gives me instant gratification, i.e. a project that`s made up of blocks that can be finished in a day. So I had a look on the internet and found this amazing blackwork sampler (called `Save The Stitches`, free to download from Elizabeth Almond`s website), and I already have the fabric and threads - I`m going to use stranded cotton 301, 415 and 3821 instead of the metallics and no beads, either, I want to keep it simple and non-blingy. So in a few months/years/decades, I should end up with something like this:

How gorgeous is this?? 😍 I think I`m going to start this today 😉 Happy stitching!

Monday, 5 June 2017

dreamy tents and foxes

I`ve been a busy bee lately and only just remembered today that issue 319 of Cross Stitcher has been out for a week or two and in the back of it - well, you know, if you turn it around and upside down - there`s a summer festival supplement and in THAT there`s my wee `tenty` poster. It took about 38 hours to stitch and I enjoyed it tremendously because I love projects where you can load up half a dozen needles with the same colour of thread and off you go stitching. So this was ideal for me, a nice quick finish (my mom was here at the time so with this fast-growing stitch at least we could hang out more together - I try not to stitch 24/7 when she`s here). 😂

The other day I also received my copy of Cross Stitch Crazy 231 and in the back of it I saw that my little sleeping fox mum and cub will be next month`s free gift - I`d better attach some pics here, just in case I`ll be snowed under even more in a few weeks time (the wee man is about to finish his last year at primary school and the last few weeks promise to be pretty hectic, from award ceremonies to their end-of-year show, from family barbecues to discos and induction days at his future high school, from birthdays to orthodontist appointments, I have a bit more to keep in mind than usual... usual being "stitching deadlines" 😉 ). And then we are going on holiday, so anyway, just in case I forget, here are my sleeping (dreaming?) foxes - first my own photo, because for once it`s brighter than the magazine`s, but only because it`s a small picture in the preview section but I`ll attach that too so you can see how cute it looks in that hoop that`ll also be a free gift next month, I can`t wait! 😊 Happy stitching!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

roses cushion and butterflies - WOCS 256-257

Good morning! Since my last post, I have finished the private project I`d been stitching for over a year now - it`s the one my parents were supposed to get for Christmas 2016 but instead they`ll get it in July when we go to Hungary. We took it to the framer yesterday and it should be ready in a few weeks - squeeee, I`m so excited and can`t wait to share some pics of it here too (but that`ll have to wait until I`m back from holiday). ;)
In other news, I`ve just received my subs copy of The World of Cross Stitching 256 and my rosy cushion is in this issue. This lovely design by Poppy Benner I appreciated even more as I got it right after a backstitch-heavy piece and I simply relished the fact that this one had no BS at all. Plus I liked the Cath Kidston style roses `wallpaper` that`s achieved by subtle shade changes - there are 23 colours in this design and it took 68 hours to finish.


And here it is as a finished cushion in the magazine:

On the last page of the magazine I also spotted my wee butterflies in the preview of the next issue and just in case I`m in a packing/going on holiday frenzy by the time it comes out, I`d better add those pics here too. So next month`s free gift with WOCS is going to be this beautiful butterflies card cover kit (bottom right):

And here`s my close-up - hehe, while typing this, I`m drooling over those gladioli in the top left corner, I think that cushion is already on my to do list, can`t wait for this issue to come out! :) Happy stitching, peeps!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Lesley Teare`s sleeping cat (Gold 138) and Margaret Sherry`s cute hedgehogs (Crazy 130)

This week I have received two subscriber copies and thought I`d better post about them before I get carried away with other stuff and forget (I`m reaching new heights of forgetfulness btw: the other day I sent the wee man to school on an inset day. Not that it hadn`t been etched on my calendar for ages beforehand - I just forgot to check my calendar). 😵
Anyway, so first up is this gorgeous cat, designed by Lesley Teare, from Cross Stitch Gold 138:

It was such a joy to stitch you wouldn`t believe... well, you will when you start to stitch it for yourselves. 😉 I took a few photos at various stages - not the usual 5-hourly caper because as you`ll see, the stitchable portions were quite self-evident. I loved everything about this project: the cat itself, obviously, but also the colours, the flowers, the butterflies and I like the finish too, I think the red fabric they used for making up the cushion brings out the red of the strawberries very well.

9 hours

20 hours

30 hours

53 hours

And today I received my copy of Cross Stitch Crazy 230 with the free cover kit that I`d stitched almost half a year ago - the cover kits are done even farther ahead than other magazine projects (I guess because they involve more preparation? I mean the actual putting together of thread lengths, charts, cards, envelopes and what have you). These two adorable hedgehogs were designed by Margaret Sherry and I had so much fun stitching them (I`m mildly obsessed with hedgies anyway). Not to mention one of them is sleeping in a sunflower, my favourite flower - what more would a girl need? Hope y`all are having a lovely weekend and happy stitching!

These hedgies took 4-5 hours to stitch each 😊

I love these gorgeous cards with the matching frames
- more strawberries and especially more sunflowers can only be a good thing in my book! 😉

Monday, 1 May 2017

coastal scene and psychedelic hippo

Last Friday the latest issue (318) of Cross Stitcher hit the UK shops and it has the beautiful coastal scene on the cover that I stitched a few months ago.

It`s a Maria Diaz design at its best: patches of colour that make it easier to break the whole down to manageable areas, `daily bits` that help the project grow so much faster. The flowers in the foreground (1 day), the sea (2 days), the cliffs with the lighthouse (1 day), the beach and the harbour with the little houses (2 days) - and then, instead of spending another day or two backstitching... hardly any BS to add because it`s more like a watercolour painting! 😍
Fair enough, it took me a month to finish it, but only because I had the flu for 3 weeks in the meantime - fact is, it can be stitched in a week (if you need an urgent last-minute present for someone) because it`s one of those projects that you can`t put down, you know the type I mean? I think every stitcher is familiar with the concept of `I`ll just finish this little bit here and then I`m off to bed` and then you stay up till 2 a.m. 😂

The above-mentioned flu made me rethink a few things and I realised that the only time I have for myself is time I spend sick in bed, unable to do anything anyway - not exactly quality me-time. 😩 So I`ve slowed down a bit and now I can make room for other stuff too, e.g. I picked up knitting again and finished the little psychedelic hippo I started months and months ago. I named her Lucy after Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and put her in my Etsy shop for someone to fall in love with. 😁 I also dug out my Personal Stitching but I can`t show any pics of it yet, it was supposed to be my parents` Christmas present in 2016 but hopefully, they`ll get it this year. Happy stitching, folks!

Saturday, 15 April 2017


I have been busy stitching large stuff lately, from Indian elephants to the Mother of All Christmas Stockings, but in between these big projects I`ve managed to finish a few smaller designs too, so I thought I`d gather them up and make one decent sized blog post out of them all.
First up, a recent issue of Crazy had this butterfly shaped frame with it as a freebie and I wanted to stitch it as soon as I saw it. My mom was here for a fortnight while the wee man was off school for the Spring/Easter break and I knew she`d go back home in time to celebrate my gran`s birthday so I had the perfect excuse too: I stitched it for her 84th.

While I was working on this, I remembered that there was another white wooden frame freebie in an earlier issue of Crazy, so I dug through my freebie bag and found it, a heart shaped one - I stitched this one for my mom, as a belated birthday present because we couldn`t be together in February.

I`m always pleased when I can give them matching gifts - for Mothers` Day (which is in May in Hungary) I got handbags and chocolate for them - I hope the carefully wrapped parcels survived the journey in mom`s suitcase because they can`t open them till 7 May. 😊
For Mothers` Day here in the UK at the end of March, I stitched another freebie kit for my MIL,  a card from the Diary of an Edwardian Lady series. It was a bit FK-heavy but even that didn`t matter, I was so elated to be able to start AND finish a project on the same day. 😂

And then sometime around March, there was another freebie kit that came out in WOCS, a Fizzy Moon card that I`d stitched... or, to be precise (and to sound like Thomson and Thompson), HALF a Fizzy...? 😕

Of course, it made much more sense when I saw it made up as a card: he`s peeking from behind a door! 😀

Apropos teddies: the other week I saw a random advertisement on my page from DMC and it looks like their new printed cross stitch kit range is up and running. I stitched this Tatty Teddy from their Me To You series and I have to say, this has been the most joyful way EVER to stitch a Tatty Teddy because for the first time, I didn`t have to bother with the BS-heavy fur as I only had to sew the present with the ribbon and those few flowers. 😁

I`m not a great fan of printed cross stitch per se, I think it`s very hard to be exact during the printing process and my OCD flares up when I see out-of-line... lines, I guess, but I have to admit that this is the quickest and easiest way to have a framed Tatty Teddy picture on your wall while feeling that sense of achievement that you get from a finished piece that you have stitched yourself. 😉
Have a lovely Easter weekend, people, and happy stitching!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

cottage kitten - The World of Cross Stitching 253

Since I`m almost back to normal flu-wise and, happily, I`m at least several days away from that panicky stage where the idea suddenly hits me that I was hugely mistaken when I thought I was getting on surprisingly well with my current project, I have decided to post about the latest publication before I end up like with the last one, losing track of time.
I`m not sure when Issue 253 of WOCS is coming out, probably next Mon or Tue, but I`ve already received my subscriber copy and I was pleased to see that my little kitten is on the cover of the magazine.

I tried to look up who the designer is but could not find it - there is an image in the mag of the original artwork that has been translated into a cross stitch chart but to find out more about the artist, it seems I would have to register with Image by Design, which I don`t want to do (not that it`d be too much of a hassle, but because I`ve registered on so many sites lately that I`m running out of password ideas).
I know I always say this but I loved working on this project. Which is probably a good thing, come to think of it: it might even be a prerequisite of being a model stitcher, the ability to find something lovable in every project, otherwise cross stitch would become a chore and that`d be pretty dismal. And there was plenty to like in this one:

First and foremost, I love stitching in blocks, both in shapes and colours. This project had `daily blocks` on the one hand - the kitten, the curtain, the leaves, etc. - and on the other, nice big chunks of blue, yellow and greens, when I could just thread a dozen needles and off I went. I admit, I`m not the biggest fan of tons of backstitch, although I don`t hate it as much as some, because as I have said it before, I like the way it brings the pieces alive and besides, it usually means I`m towards the end of the project, near the finish line. There was plenty backstitch to be done here - if I remember correctly, those leaves almost reduced me to tears 😉 - but I quite enjoyed adding the details to the fur and especially the beams (how clever is that play with shadows under the window ledge and the thatched roof? Love it!). Anyway, the whole project took 85 hours and since I only had about two weeks for this one, I didn`t stop to take photos as often as I usually do; however, I still have a few pics that I managed to string together in a mini video to save scrolling time. Hope you enjoy it, happy stitching!


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Welcome to our home sign - Cross Stitch Gold 136

Confession time: I don`t really know how long this magazine has been out - I seem to have lost a few days and weeks lately. I managed to get the flu about 3 weeks ago and since then this is the first day when I don`t feel like I`ve been thrown under a steamroller, so I`m making the most of it and (apart from stitching like mad because I have a deadline next Tuesday) I thought I`d post some pics of the chalkboard design from issue 136 of Gold.

I was so glad I got this project. There was a time when I stitched almost exclusively Durene Jones designs but then they stopped - not the designs, I mean she`s probably more prolific than ever; they just always seem to go to other stitchers, so I was glad that this one came to me. 😊 I love chalkboard style designs: they`re not the easiest things to stitch, true, and a lot of people don`t like working on black fabric (or evenweave, for that matter), but I think they`re worth the effort because the impact is stunning. I already love how the white pops on the black fabric - and then there are all these bright greens, pinks and oranges (not to mention SUNFLOWERS!!!), all working together to turn a traditional cross stitch staple, the home-sweet-home sampler, into something contemporary and fun. Oh, and it has chili peppers too, for goodness` sake - how cool is that? 😂
It also grew fairly quickly: the whole project took 42 hours and it might have been even less, had it not been for my new batch of needles that are too big-headed for French knots (since then, I`ve ordered another batch from another retailer and these are suddenly-wide types too, even though that`s not how they looked on the photo. I don`t know what happened to the gradually-tapered needles of yore that used to put up less of a fight... all I know is, I had to work hard on almost every individual FK on this project, and every new one ever since). So my hunt for good needles continues but in the meantime, here are some pics of how this sampler came to be - enjoy! 😊

5 hours in and the biggest chunk is practically done
- a great morale booster 😉

15 hours - SUNFLOWERS!!! 😀

20 hours - my high-tech fabric gridding method for evenweave 😉

42 hours - all finished (NB. the thread is NOT pulled on the H,
that must have happened during making up the hanging)

I hardly ever take pics of the back but I did for this one so I add it to the bunch,
I quite like the effect of the `dotted line` around the banner

Friday, 27 January 2017

kingfisher cushion - The World of Cross Stitching 252

Subscribers have already got their copies of the latest issue of WOCS so even though it only hits the UK shops next Tuesday (I think), I can now show you pictures of this lovely kingfisher I stitched last May - yes, 8 months ago! :O Usually, we don`t work this far ahead, I think I only got this one so early because it is part of a quartet of `birdy cushions` designed by Amanda Gregory. As I happen to know her on Facebook - and I happen to NOTHING about botany -, I asked her to tell me the names of the flowers featured on my cushion, so that now I can look all knowledgeable and say: I hope you like the marsh marigolds (top left - oh and btw these grow in or near water *looks up from notes*), the reed mace (top right; these are often mistakenly called bulrush - may I just add, I would NEVER make that mistake! 😝). The mauve flowers are violets (which even I knew - yay, go me!) and the yellow ones in the bottom right corner are primroses (I thought these were the marigolds, just shows you how much I know about flowers).
So here they are, all these lovely blooms and paisley motifs, surrounding my gorgeous wee kingfisher. I really enjoyed stitching this picture, I love projects where you can get on `chunk by chunk` and as you`ll see from my mini-vid, the colour blocks are just so that you can get quite a lot done in five hours, which is always a good morale-booster when you work on larger projects. Hope you like this and the other 3 cushions too, happy stitching! :)


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! :)