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.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Days at my house

I have two things to be happy about (apart from the many usual things).  The first is undoubtedly the most important. We survived the recent storm front with minimal damage, and now have power restored to the house after 60 hours with no power in an all-electric house.  Our only damage (apart from large branches and plant pots down, and debris everywhere in the garden and courtyard) was damage caused to a largeish section of roof tiles and capping bu branches from a near-by tree.   This resulted in flooding of our laundry and  water into a small section of the bedroom.  We had no land-line phone coverage and not enough mobile coverage to make or receive calls, but I texted every roof tiler in the phone book, and one responded and fixed the damage.  I was so grateful, as if it hadn't been fixed there would have been a lot more damage to the internal walls and ceilings.  It was a ferocious storm which lasted from Monday afternoon to Thursday morning, and resulted in major flooding in the Hunter.  At least six people lost their lives, and many lost their houses.  There were 8,000 power lines brought down by trees, and many roads (including mine) blocked by fallen trees. Some areas have still not had power restored.  So, I really have nothing to complain about, and a lot to be grateful for, when you look at the bigger picture.  Unfortunately, though I had a lot of time on my hands during the storm, the light available, even in the middle of the day, was not bright enough to read by, let alone stitch, so I had a lot of thinking time!  I give thanks to the disaster coverage provided by the local ABC radio station, which was our only contact with the outside world.  Having gone through a previous 6 day power outage in 2007, I always make sure I have a battery operated radio, torches, and plenty of extra batteries at hand, and we brought in our little portable gas camping stove so we were able to cook simple meals.

And the second reason for happiness is the completion of my Santa ornament (though it is not yet finished into an ornament).
Santa ornament designed by Melinda Blackman,
 from Cross My Heart's "Christmas Magic" booklet (1992)

I stitched him over 2 on 28 count Jobelan.  He took me longer than I thought, as there were lots of floss changes and so much back-stitching.  I added blending floss to the baubles on the right, but apart from that stitched it with the charted floss (unusual for me!).  I have stitched this as a Christmas gift for my youngest sister, for whom I have stitched a Christmas ornament or framed cross stitch every year since 1984.  I have kitted up an angel ornament from the same designer and booklet, to stitch for my second sister, but I may do a few less complicated designs first, and work up to the angel!

Now I have to get back to my post-storm clearing and cleaning.  So far I have done 5 loads of washing, and that's not the end of it.  And this afternoon I have to venture out to the grocery shop to replenish the fridge and freezer - I had to throw out bags of food, but fortunately not my store of frozen meat, which my niece, who had power, stored for me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness, April

I have just two pictures to show for this Gifted Gorgeousness report.   I finished the Dimension's 'Santa's Secret' kit last week (kit given to me by my niece, and I am returning the stitched piece to her as a birthday gift), and I have started on a Santa ornament to give to my youngest sister for Christmas.  I am about half-way through the ornament - unfortunately all the 'white' areas in Santa's cap and beard are still to be stitched.

Santa's Secret - The Gold Collection Petites by Dimensions, Design by Patti Gay

Santa Ornament from Cross My Heart's booklet "Christmas Magic" (1992).  
Design by Melinda Blackman

Friday, April 10, 2015

HD - Santa's Secret is finally finished

I am so very pleased to have put in the final stitches in this project.  I have enjoyed watching Santa grow - as I have enjoyed stitching each of the many Santas I have worked on over the past 28 years - but it was probably the most frustrating of all the projects I have stitched, because of having to match almost every one of the floss shades partway through the project, and I found the chart particularly difficult to read due to the red and green floss symbols and the multiple straight stitch and couching stitch symbols.  I started it on February 15 and finished it tonight.  Almost 2 months - quite a marathon for me.  I have stitched L&L Santas and Angels in almost half that time.  Maybe I was younger then ...  Anyway, I am very happy to have finished this kit.  I stitched it with two strands of floss 'over two' it on a piece of Lugana, and the stitched area measures  23 cm wide x 16 cm high - that's about 9.25" x 6.25".  I substituted cross stitches for areas of half-cross on the chart, because the half-cross didn't give reasonable coverage on the larger fabric (it was charted for 18 count 'over 1').

Santa's Secret - The Gold Collection Petites by Dimensions, Design by Patti Gay
The distortion is due to the way I scanned the finished cross stitch.  It is straight - really!

I have stitched this Santa as a gift for my niece.  She actually bought the kit to stitch for herself, but the arrival of her first baby caused her to go off that idea, and she gave the kit to me. She doesn't know I'm stitching it for her, so I'm hoping it will be a nice surprise. I've gone with her to choose framing for her projects sufficient times to be confident about choosing a frame she will like, and as its a smallish project I will get some mount boards cut and frame it myself.  Well, that's the current plan - always subject to change if it doesn't work out.

Monday, April 6, 2015

WIPocalypse Report, April

I've not had a great stitching month.  Sometimes life just gets in the way!  I had hoped to have finished my Dimensions Santa's Secret by now, but still have the bottom right hand corner to stitch.

This is how he was at the March WIPocalypse Report:

Here he is at the end of today's stitching session:

I will be very disappointed if I am still working on him when the next WIPocalypse report rolls round.

Now to this month's discussion topic - specialty stitches.  Satin stitch is the one I dread.  I can never get the required coverage, even if I add extra strands of floss.  I usually resort to double stitching - horizontal satin stitches topped by vertical satin stitches - and even then I am never happy with it.  I used to dread french knots, until I learned to do colonial knots instead.  I find the colonial knots much easier to do and they look just as good.  I happily tackle any other specialty stitches, provided there are diagrams to follow.

I can't resist showing a few pics of my Angela, who is now 9 months old, and just gorgeous!

Playing with toys in the lounge-room.

Imagine it's the right way up. It's the best I can do! She was meant to be walking nicely on the lead, but gt a bit exuberant, and took off like a little rocket.

Resting on the lounge - but ready to spring into action as soon as anyone moves.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness, March Report

It will be a brief report from me this month.  I've worked on just one project, which I started on 16th February.  I would have liked to report it as finished, but I'm afraid I'm a long way from that!  I'm stitching this as a surprise gift for my niece, who actually gave me the kit.  It's a Dimensions kit (my first ever kit in over 30 years of stitching.  I won't bore you with the details, but just let me say that I have already decided kits are not for me!).  He's quite a beautiful Santa, and he is a little over half finished now. Well, I should say the design is a little over half finished - Santa is well on the way to completion, just the missing stitches in his hat (has to wait till I find matching floss - again!) and the rest of his beard to go. I hope to have finished him by the April report.

Santa's Secret - The Gold Collection Petites by Dimensions, Design by Patti Gay
I have no idea why he is on his side.  He looked perfectly upright in the pic I imported.  I also don't know how to turn him around.  Maybe I will have worked it out by April 15!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

WIPocalypse Report (March)

I was astounded when I looked at my calendar and saw it was once again time for the WIPocalypse report.  This past month has just slipped by.  The topic set by Measi for this month's discussion is about what projects would be on the bucket list if money and time were not limiters.  Hard for me to answer - I'm pretty much out of wall space for hanging framed projects, so for me that is my major limiter.  Maybe a couple more Santa designs by Michele Sayetta / Dona Gelsinger  of HAED.  Perhaps a few more L&L Angels.

This month I have started Secret Santa, a Dimensions Gold Collection Petite kit.  My niece bought it to stitch, but a new baby (her first) has left her with little time for stitching, so she passed the kit on to me.  I will stitch it and return it to her.  It's actually my first ever kit, in 30 odd years of pretty obsessive cross stitching.  I can't say I'm impressed.  The fabric that came with it was Aida 18, a cut piece so neat that left no room for mounting on my lap-frame.  I didn't fancy stitching the design on Aida anyway, so I substituted 25 count evenweave.  The larger count size meant more floss used per stitch, and that combined with my wasteful floss practice of discarding any unused portion of floss each time I thread my needle with a different floss shade meant that I quickly ran out of many of the floss shades.  Fortunately I found a Dimensions to DMC conversion chart on line, and I have so far replaced 13 of the floss shades - and I'm not even half-way through the design yet..  My other major issue with this kit was the coloured chart - I found it difficult to read initially(particularly the green symbols) but I have adjusted to it over time.

Enough whining - here's a pic.  I'm almost half way through the chart (commenced on 17th February 2015), and I have done some of the backstitching as I went.

Since the last WIPocalypse report, I have also made up the ornaments I stitched for James, Alex, Chloe, and Dylan in January. And I have stitched and made up an ornament for Ruaidri & Edin.

 I also stitched a baby's First Christmas ornament for a new addition to the extended family, expected to arrive in New York this month.  I can't make this one up until baby arrives and is named.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for February

I can hardly believe it's the 15th of the month again.  It's come around so quickly.  So, it's time to do an update for Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness SAL (there's a link in the sidebar).

In the past month, I have made up into ornaments the designs I stitched last month, and a few extras I stitched since the last report.  Here are the pics:

A gift for a friend's grandson.  It's actually a replacement for the one that went missing in the mail in 2013.  The stocking design is loosely based on one in LA's Christmas Caboodle leaflet, and the little bear is adapted from a design in one of the Graphworks Christmas Miniatures leaflets.

Christmas gifts for young sisters from a family partial to nutcrackers.  The Nutcracker designer is Jeremiah Junction.

Christmas gifts for three of my great-nieces and nephews.  The teddy is a Dale Burdett design (I changed the floss colours), the Santa is a Barbara Mock design (floss colours and trim on parcel changed), and the stocking design is adapted from LA's Christmas Caboodle leaflet and the teddy bear adapted from Graphworks Christmas Miniatures design.

The Santa is a gift for a nephew and his partner, and the stylized tree design is a gift for a young friend who will be receiving her twentieth Christmas ornament from me this year.  The Santa design is adapted from a chart in LA's Celebrations magazine Premier Issue.  I decided on floss colours and added back-stitching, as it was originally designed to be stitched with fabric strips on a jute mat.  The only part of the stylized tree that needs to have a designer credited is the 'Merry Christmas' teddy bear design, which was in a Graphworks Christmas Miniatures leaflet.

 Christmas gifts for another great-nephew and niece (siblings).  These designs came from Barbara Mock's Christmas Quickies II booklet.  I've shown the front and backs of these ornaments.

And finally, I have stitched a Baby's First Christmas ornament for another great-nephew who is expected to arrive in March.  I will have to wait for baby's name before I can finish this one up.  This baby will be born in USA to Aussie parents, so I added a koala to the stocking.  I may stitch a kangaroo or two on the back before I finish it up.  The koala design is adapted from Di Noyce's design printed in Jill Oxton's Cross Stitch magazine, and the stocking design is adapted very heavily from the stocking design in LA's Christmas Caboodle leaflet.

That's it for me.  I think I'll take a break from ornaments now and start stitching on the secret santa chart for my niece Aislinn.