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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A little finish

If it hadn't been so fiddly, and taken so much time, I may have titled this post "A tiny finish".  I stitched this for a cousin, who spent hours taking photographs of my Christmas decorations, and last year made me an incredible DVD of my Christmas house, set to my favourite Christmas music (Elvis singing Christmas songs).  She expressed an interest in having a pendant to wear during the Christmas season.  I found this double-sided pendant at a market in Brisbane in January, and it inspired me to stitch this double-sided pendant.  Santa is stitched over 1 with one thread on 28 count Jobelan.  The Christmas tree is stitched over 2 with 2 threads on 28 count Jobelan, and decorated with DMC Fil Or and colonial knots.  I mounted each design on card (I used the 10c coin as a pattern) and stitched them together with a buttonhole stitch.

Santa is adapted from a rag rug Santa chart
 in LA's Celebrations magazine, Premier edition

 No designer to credit for this one -
 it just grew as I stitched.



That's one more off my stitching list.

Susan at Super Mom-No Cape invited me to join her  Stitchery Link Party, and I was pleased to accept the invitation.  Pop across to her blog to see what some other needleworkers are making.

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.