Come visit with me as I stitch and craft my way from one Christmas to the next - I like to have Christmas projects close by me all year. I have a particular fondness for Santas and Angels. If you have the time, leave a comment so I know you've visited.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for November

Here we are again, with the penultimate GG report for 2016. I have a few projects to show.

First, the birth sampler I stitched for my great-niece Annabelle, now finished and framed.  I added some hearts and Annabelle's birth details.  I framed it myself in a white wooden frame purchased from a discount shop, and I had a custom mat made for it.  Annabelle is 14 months old now, healthy and gorgeous, but she had a difficult start to life, spending her first 3 months in Neonatal Intensive Care, and having a number of major surgeries in that time.

 Cicely Mary Barker's Apple Blossom Fairies (DMC)

And here is my progress to date on a growth chart for my great-nephew, 2 year old Angus. A family friend gave my niece the Semco 'Peter Rabbit Growth Chart' kit at her baby shower, and my niece intended to stitch it, but being a new mum who was working as a primary school teacher, and renovating a newly purchased home, she never got around to it.  So, a couple of months ago she handed the chart over to me to stitch, which I was pleased to do for her.  I was hoping to finish it for Christmas, but that is unlikely now.  I will give it my best try, though.  So far I have completed 2 of the 4 pages, with Peter Rabbit and Jemina Puddleduck stitched.  I am about to start stitching the Flopsy Bunnies, and hope to finish that page in the coming week, before I head off on my cruise round New Zealand.  That will leave just the top page featuring a squirrel, and I will then add Angus's name and birth and growth details.  I have organised my sister (Angus's adoring Nanna) to make it up into a wall hanging when it;s finished.  My sister has great sewing machine skills, which I totally lack.

I made a few changes to the Growth Chart stitching.  It was charted to be stitched using half cross stitch for the characters on 14 count Aida.  There were also largeish unstitched areas within the characters (eg all the white areas on Jemima, and the palest areas on Peter Rabbit.).  To me it looked unfinished, and I just didn't like the effect at all.  So I changed the half-cross to full cross, and stitched the 'unstitched' areas.  This meant, of course, that I had to re-kit the design, as there wasn't nearly enough floss included in the kit to allow for these changes.  The floss supplied wasn't identified by number, so I had to guess at the floss shades.  I am quite happy with the colour so far.

I have so enjoyed being part of the Gifted Gorgeousness group this year, and look forward to checking on all the reports for November.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Smalls SAL Report for October

I stitched and framed up this name plaque for a great-niece's 6th birthday in November.  I wanted to fit the stitched piece into a purchased frame, so I stitched it over 1 on 25 count, full cross stitch. Not a particularly good decision, as it's a messy chart with lots of fractionals and outlining stitches which jump across the cross stitches.  To reduce my stress levels, I converted most of the fractionals into full crosses, and sacrificed some of the detail.  I framed it in a ready-made 8" x 10" frame, and while I am happy with the outcome,  I think I will replace the mount with a plain white one (or perhaps a pale lilac one) with just a slightly smaller opening.

Cicely Mary Barker's A is for Apple Blossom Fairies

I wanted to stitch a birth sampler for my youngest great-niece, whose name also starts with A, as a Christmas gift. I already had the floss kitted up for the Apple Blossom Fairies design, so I decided to stitch the design again, this time over 2 on 28 count, and see if I found it any easier than the over 1 on 25 count effort.  The answer was, of course, that over 2 on 28 count was a much better choice.  

It is straight on  the fabric - my scanning skills need some work.
I will add a few salient details, then frame it up - I have a 10" x 13" frame that will suit.

So, that is my stitching effort for the month. I look forward to checking all the blogs - always a pleasant past-time for me.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Happy Dance at my house - and GG Report for October (a trifle early)

I have just finished the final item on my 2016 Stitching List - so I'm celebrating!  Of course, it probably won't mean the end of my stitching for the year - I'm sure that if I put my mind to it, I will be able to find a few more projects to add to this year's stitching list.  I do have another 10 great nieces or nephews after all!

Here is my latest finish, which will be a Christmas gift for a great-niece, after I have found a frame for it. It's not as faded as the picture suggests, and there is no colour variation on the fabric, which is actually antique white.

Cicely Mary Barker's Apple Blossom Fairies, 
from DMC Collections's Flower Fairies Alphabet book.

It is stitched 1/1 on 25 count linen, full cross stitches.  The design was full of fractionals, and I just found that too difficult and frustrating over 1 on 25 count, so I converted most of the fractional stitches to full cross sttches,  Consequently, some of the lovely detail has been lost, but I am happy with the overall effect.  I also added some 'rosebuds' to the fairy's hair, and changed the letter colour from the charted greens to Amelia's favoutite purple.

In the last month, I also stitched and finished an ornament for a niece.

 It is adapted from 'Give Love for Christmas' by Fran Colburn of Legacy Designs. The chart was printed in JCS Ornament Issue 2015. I made lots of changes, so I can just see the designer pulling out her hair and denying responsibility for the outcome! I changed the fabric, all the floss, and the entire message section.  I also stitched the border in 2 colours rather than the one colour charted and did the birds in smyrna cross stitched to help them stand out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Smalls SAL - and almost a big happy dance

I have a few smalls to show this month - five finished Christmas ornaments, and one yet to be made up.  The big happy dance starts when I finish up the final ornament .  It is the last Christmas ornament on my stitching list (and gift list)for this year, and will be my 40th ornament stitched in 2016.

So, the finished ornaments. They all have the same Santa, but different initials. The Santa initials have appeared frequently in my stitching this year, and I really enjoy stitching them. The chart is in LA's Alphabets Galore booklet, and I did make a few changes - 'mending' the missing stitches near the arm, adjusting the face and beard a little, changing floss colours, and removing the tree in Santa's sack.  I also slightly changed some of the letters.

The first three are for three young sisters.

The other two are for a young brother and sister.

The unfinished ornament is for one of my nieces, who lives about as far from me as you can get without leaving Australia.   It is adapted from 'Give Love for Christmas' by Fran Colburn of Legacy Designs. The chart was printed in JCS Ornament Issue 2015. I made lots of changes, so I can just see the designer pulling out her hair and denying responsibility for the outcome! I changed the fabric, all the floss, and the entire message section. I also stitched the border in 2 colours rather than the one colour charted and did the birds in smyrna cross stitched to help them stand out. I plan to finish this one up in the next day or so.  I think this one may be my favourite of all the ornaments I have made this year.

I look forward to seeing what everyone has stitched this month.

Friday, September 16, 2016

It's Jo's Birthday - Happy Birthday, Jo!

Jo from Serendipitous Stitching has given me the year 1988 in her Birthday Blog Hop.

Here's what was happening in Jo's life in 1988:
In 1988,  Jo was 22.  She continued with her career in Insurance, making friends at work and enjoying the social life a busy office brings.  She also decorated her new home and enjoyed being able to choose her own colour schemes and finally having a bedroom without her little sister's pop posters on the walls.  Jo's new bedroom was blue with gold stars and moons.  She also went to lots of concerts with the Reading Rock Festival being the main one that year.  

In 1988 I also moved house - into the house in which I currently live, though I have to admit it wasn't my first house, and I was a good 2 decades older than Jo. I can recall moving in with little furniture - just beds, a refrigerator, and four kitchen stools.  Gradually other items were added, and now the house is full to overflowing with furniture and 'treasures' (precious to me, but not valuable).  It was also the year that cross stitch entered my life (and soon became an addiction).  I decided to make lavender sachets for my female relatives (mother, 3 sisters, 2 sisters-in-law, niece, and aunt), and was looking for a way to personalise them.  I wandered into a craft shop, and came out an hour later with a metre of 14 count Aida, an assortment of DMC floss, and a Vanessa Ann cross stitch book that included in its pages a floral alphabet.  It took me a full week to stitch the first letter, and I do recall resorting to coloured pencils to mark off my chart, to help me see where I had stitched.  By Christmas I had made personalised lavender sachets  for everyone on my original list, and a good few extras.  I had also started a long love affair with cross stitch, which has greatly enriched my life, provided many gifts for family and friends (and sometimes casual acquaintances), and decorated the walls of my house.  1988 was a good year for me!

Home Sampler designed by Linda Gillum, Dimensions

This is one of my favourite stitched samplers.  I wish I could have got a clearer pic, because I am aware that this is not the best quality.  I stitched it over 2 on 18 count Aida, so it is quite large. I stitched it in 1994, and it sits on my dining room wall, with a Australian floral alphabet sampler I stitched 10 years later.

I hope you are enjoying your special birthday, Jo. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gifted Georgesness Report for September.

It's been a mixed stitching month for me - some happiness, and a lot of despair!  First the good news.

I have stitched two more ornaments , and started a third.  I still have some beads to add, as well as the finishing into ornaments.  They will be Christmas gifts for three delightful Irish-Aussie sisters, children of one of my sister's friends.

And the bad news.  The moral here is 'pride goeth before a fall'.  I am talking of my progress on HAED Christmas Dreams (chart, fabric, and most of the floss bought with birthday money). I was steaming ahead on Christmas Dreams, till disaster struck.  Here is the story:

This is where I was last month. Row 2 finished (12 pages complete).

I had met my stitching target for the year, but decided to keep stitching.  By the  first week of this month I had almost 15 pages completed, and was feeling very pleased with myself. 

And then I noticed that the top of page 3 wasn't matching the bottom of page 2.  Major panic, and an hour of counting stitches, and checking charts, and some questionable language and hair pulling.  Then the penny dropped - I had repeated the last three stitches on each page in the third row of pages - so I was now 6 stitches out - and it did matter! In my defense, I will point out that because I am stitching sideways, the shaded area on each page, indicating the repeated stitches, didn't coincide with the actual stitches repeated.  But I got it right when stitching the first 2 rows of charts - so why would I then forget when stitching row 3!  (Hint:  advancing age and receding memory.) So, for the past 2 weeks, I have been unpicking my work,  Very chastened.  I still have about 1/6 of a page to go.

Today it looks like this:

You can see the unpicked area (it looks dirty).  When it is all unpicked, I will have just the first 30 rows on page 3 stitched (the first page being a partial page).  So, in the end some progress - but not reflective of my stitching (+ unpicking) time, or the angst it caused me!  I am afraid this is the final appearance of Christmas Dreams for this year.  He is going upstairs for a rest until 2017 - just as soon as I have gone through all the chart pages, and cut off the 'repeated' rows - to make sure that I can't make the same mistake next year.

I hope everyone else had a less stressful stitching time in the past month!  And if you have any hints for cleaning up the unpicked area, please pass them on to me.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for August

Have you noticed how quickly the 15th of each month comes around?  It always catches me by surprise.  Perhaps it's related to my advancing age (I have celebrated a birthday since the last GG report).  It's a very simple report from me this month, as I have worked on only one project - my HAED Christmas Dreams.  Christmas Dreams qualifies as a GG project because I used birthday money to buy the chart, fabric, and most of the floss.

So, here is where I was on Christmas Dreams on July 15:

 And this is where I am now - I have finished another 4 pages, and the second row/column is now finished:

I am very happy with my progress on Christmas Dreams.  I have now stitched 20% of the design, and I have met my stitching target for 2016 - 12 pages. I'm revising that target - I now hope to get another row/column stitched (ie another 6 pages) this year.

An on-line friend asked me today about my Christmas stitching, and I took this photo to show her how many Christmas ornaments I have stitched this year, 34 in all.  It's amazing how stitching a few at a time can add up to a sizeable number quite quickly.

So, that's the end of my report for August.  I am looking forward to visiting the blogs of other GG members, which I always enjoy,