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.

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,

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Christmas Dreams - Progress

Just a partial page to stitch, and row 2 (or should that be column 2?) will be finished.  I have now stitched almost 20% of the picture - I am very pleased with that.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Christmas Dreams - page finish

I finished another page of Christmas Dreams today.  This is my ninth page, and I do think this page was the quickest to stitch - it took me just one week.   I enjoyed stitching Santa's hair/beard and his red coat.  So, this is how Christmas Dreams looks tonight:

I also made another little crochet hat for my little great-niece, using a partial ball of super chunky wool I found in my wool bag. The wool came in a bulk lot, from a garage sale, some time ago.  Once again I didn't have a pattern, and just stitched it 'by feel'.  It worked up so quickly I was surprised.  I was watching a movie when I started, and I finished stitching just as the movie finished. When I finished off the last stitch I sawe that I had used all but about 30cm (12") of the wool, so I think it was meant to be.  I made a white rose to brighten up the hat, and found an old button to finish off the flower.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness - July post

Here we are again - it's time for the Gifted Gorgeousness Report, once again.  This month I finally started working again on my HAED Christmas Dreams (chart, fabric & most of the floss bought with gifted money), I made five Christmas ornaments to give as Christmas gifts, and I got my crochet hook out again, to make two beanies for a friend's birthday, and another poncho and hat for my great-niece.

Christmas dreams had been relegated to the craft room since the end of April following a death in the family.  I moved it back downstairs to my stitching chair in early July, and I am very happy to say that I have now completed my eighth page, and hope to have the ninth one finished by the end of July.  Here's where I was in April:

And now:
Big excitement - Santa's ear has appeared!

My ornaments:


Crocheted poncho and hat (modelled by Annabelle):

And my crochet beanies:

So, a very mixed bag this month! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Crochet and more crochet

I do have the crochet bug at present.  It is so very many years since I did any serious crochet, but I just can't seem to get enough of it right now!  I had forgotten how rewarding crochet is.  I love watching my projects grow so quickly.  Another bonus is how easy it is to unpick unwanted rows or add a few extra.  This came in handy with the pink/purple poncho I made for my great-niece recently.  As you can clearly see, it looked as though Annabelle had borrowed her big sister's poncho.

So, I unpicked the neck edging and added some extra rows, to bring the poncho further up onto Annabelle's shoulders.  I made an opening at the back so it would still easily fit over Annabelle's head, and I moved the flower up a little.

I was so pleased with my efforts that I decided to crochet another poncho and cap for Annabelle.  This time I used a twisted double-treble (twisted treble for US readers) stitch for the body of the poncho and cap. I made this one shorter at front and it is more like a little cape than a poncho.  Because I like making flowers, I added a rose to this set too.

A friend whose long hair is usually worn up in a bun complained that she couldn't find a beanie that was large enough to fit comfortably and come down over her ears.  So I decided to make one for her, in her choice of black wool.  I found a pattern on-line by, called Stay Stylish Crochet Beanie that looked promising.  After a little trial and error and several fittings) I made a beanie that fitted my friend very well, and she is very happy with it.  I had to make a few changes to the pattern - adding extra rows to both the body and the band.  I also added a crab stitch edging and a flower.  I would have had a different coloured flower and possibly a contrasting rather than matching band had I been making this for myself, but my friend wears predominantly black, and black is what she wanted.  Here is the finished beanie with band turned up all round (my friend will turn it up at front only when wearing it).

I have promised my friend another beanie once she decides on a colour, and I may make one for myself.  And I have a yen to make a little summer dress for Annabelle's birthday in September - so I'm not putting my crochet hooks away quite yet.  However, I have no current crochet project, so I have retrieved Christmas Dreams from the craft room and set it up by my stitching chair.  I have made a start on page 8 (which is actually page 13, since I am stitching it sideways) and hope to finish this page before the end of this month.  Here's where I am tonight.

And that's all from me tonight.