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, December 27, 2018

December Smalls SAL Report

Another year is almost gone. Soon we will be trying to remember to use '2019' when writing the date. And if 2019 passes as quickly as 2018 did, we will be waving it goodby way too soon for my liking.

I have made a start already on my 2019 Christmas gift stitching. So far I have stitched 5 designs which will be made into Christmas ornaments for the children in my life. I have stitched four Jeremiah Junction (Nutcracker Factory 3) nutcrackers for the grandchildren of a long-term friend. They  will be flying to opposite ends of the world in November - the boys' nutcrackers to England, and the girls' nutcrackers to New Zealand.

The other design I have stitched will be a Christmas gift for a young neighbour. The designer is Sam Hawkins, and the chart was in a booklet called '50 Santas to cross stitch'.

So, that brings my 2018 stitching story to an end. It was quite a productive year. I stitched 59 Christmas ornaments and  8 framed pieces, all but one given away as Christmas gifts. My crochet hook was also quite active. I made 4 dresses and 2 ponchos for toddlers, a number of beanies, and lots of crochet shopping bags for young girls.  And I beaded 51 largeish angels, very few of which are still in my possession. As you might guess, I had lots of sitting time in 2018, recovering from assorted operations and medical interventions. There were times when my hands were pretty much all I could move! Fortunately I had a  grandmother who gave me excellent advice when I was 17. She told me to keep my hands busy to ward off arthritis. I have always followed her instruction, and while it didn't prevent arthritis (I have severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), it has allowed me to keep my hands flexible. I have always been grateful for her wisdom.

So now there is nothing more to say than Happy New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for December

Well, here we are - the final GG report for 2018. This year has slipped  by way too quickly for my liking. I am hoping that 2019 will proceed at a gentler pace (and also require fewer medical interventions). If you're not familiar with the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL, you can check it out on Jo's blog.

I had thought that all my gift stitching was finished, but when I found stitching on my floor frame was too uncomfortable, and I had to return my HAED Christmas Dreams to the UFO basket until I have healed from my radiation treatment, I decided to stitch some extra Christmas gifts. Earlier in the year I stitched a dinosaur name sampler for a great-nephew, and I was quite taken with the dinosaur alphabet, designed by Clare Crompton.  So I decided to stitch name samplers for three young honorary nephews (two brothers and their first cousin). To keep the cost down I decided the samplers would need to fit into purchased frames. Here are the stitched (not yet laundered) samplers I stitched, which fit matted 23cm x 18cm (9" x 7") purchased frames:

It's hard to believe given the colour variation in the pictures  but they are all stitched over 2 on a solid colour very pale blue 28 count fabric. 

And here are the framed name samplers. The photos have some reflections unfortunately. I wasn't able to get any clearer photos.

I have enjoyed taking part in GG this year, and watching progress of all the lovely gift-related stitching. I wish you all a happy Christmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Smalls Report for November

I thought I had finished all my Smalls for the year, but here I am again with three Smalls to show.

A friend found me a preloved TIAG Band of Angels chart (dated 1987), and I just couldn't resist stitching a few little angels. This one I am keeping for myself.

This one is for my youngest sister. It is not fully framed yet - I am trying to find the right window mount board.

And my final Christmas ornament for 2018 - this is for the latest addition to my extended family - a newly adopted puppy.

So, there you have it. I will enjoy popping in to see all the lovely Smalls stitched this month.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for November.

I've not achieved much in the past month, so there is little to report. I did crochet an outfit for a pre-loved kewpie doll which will form part of my Christmas gift for a 1 year old great-niece. Sarah loves musical sounds, and Kewpie has a lovely squeak when pushed in the middle, so I think she will be a hit. Kewpie's underwear (with press studs for easy dressing):

And in her new dress:

I have finished all my planned gift stitching except for a growth chart for which I am waiting for measurements, so at long last I was free to drag my HAED WIP out of it's basket in the craftroom and bring it down to my stitching chair. The chart, fabric and most of the threads were bought with birthday money, so it qualifies as a GG project.  It's 16 months since I last stitched on Christmas Dreams, and I am keen to finish 5 pages to complete the 4th row of pages by the end of the year. Wish me luck! I am finding it a bit hard to get 'into' it, but that's pretty normal for me. I'm pretty much a 'one at a time' stitcher except when it comes to huge projects, and I'm not good at swapping in and out of projects. In the first week of stitching I spend more time than I like searching my floss cards for the one marked 'J' until I finally realise that what I am really looking for is the floss marked 'n' (x 90 symbols, many of which are very similar), because my stitching is sideways and I marked the floss cards before I understood that I would be stitching with the left side of the design upwards. I usually eventually swing into it and convert without thinking about it (fingers crossed that it happens this time). I am about one-third through this project; I have stitched 19 of the 66 (large format) pages. Here's where I started on 1st November, about one-quarter of the way through the 20th page, which is actually page 48:

I tried to stand my fabric up to take the photo, and that has made it look quite out of shape, which isn't how it appears. The edges are really very straight. And here it is back on the frame and ready for stitching:

(If you have good eyesight you may notice my L&L Angel of Love - my very favourite piece - hanging in the right side of the pic.)  It is a bit tricky, stitching sideways, but it wouldn't fit on my frame the other way. I am forever consulting my little plan to check that I am working on the correct page, and I did already fall into the trap of re-stitching three stitches at the beginning of each row on two consecutive pages - that resulted on several months of frogging and restitching to correct the error.  Something I am so desperate to avoid in future that I have written reminders to check on each page. This is where I am on November 15, having completed a good section of the 20th page:

Nov 18
I am sad to say that I have taken Christmas Dreams back upstairs for amother rest. Hopefully not for long this time. I was finding it too uncomfortable while stitching on the frame, and my concentration has been a lot better than it is right now. I' m going back to small projects for the next few months.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness report for October

Mid October already - this past month has really flown by. My mind is still back in August! I'm quite recovered from my breast cancer surgery and so happy that I have finally lost my drainage tubes (on Day 24 and Day 32 respectively. The second one actually came out accidentally when the stitch just fell to pieces, otherwise I may still have been carting it around.) I will get my radiation therapy schedule this week when I see the radiation oncologist for the first time.

I have not been very productive this  month. I did crochet three cotton bags for three little girls on my Christmas list.


I finished up this replacement 'Baby's First Christmas' ornament for a friend's grandchild. I still have trouble understanding how I could have mis-spelled her name for so long. I am usually so careful to check spellings.

Just to keep my fingers moving, and my mood happy, I made two more beaded Christmas tree ornaments, to add to the basket of take-home gifts for Christmas visitors.

I have added the birth details to my great-nephew's dinosaur birth sampler. I have found a suitable frame, so now I need to get a mat cut so that I can frame it up for Christmas. 

And that ends my GG report for this month. I look forward to seeing all the lovely projects as I pop in to check the GG reports.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Smalls Report for September

I'm sorry to report that there has not been much stitching in my house this month. In the early part of the month I was focused on accepting the surprise breast cancer diagnosis. It was picked up at a routine mammogram - not even a lump to warn me that it was imminent. Then surgery, and for the last three weeks I have been carting around two sealed unit drainage bottles. So, cross stitch slipped down my priority list for a while! 

Nevertheless, here is my Smalls report for September.  The Smalls SAL is hosted bycHeather at Stitching Lotus.  I have stitched one more Baby's First Christmas ornament, post-dated as the recipient is now 4 years old. I have  stitched an ornament for her each year, but only this year did I discover she is an 'Annabel' not an 'Annabelle', which is what I had stitched each year on her Christmas ornament. So I decided she should have a BFC ornament with her correctly spelled name. On the  back I will stitch all her names and her date of birth. The teddy is (once again) the DMC on-line freebie chart, but I did change the facial features, as well as all the floss colours. I will be adding some tiny buttons and/or beads to the corners and sides of this ornament before I make it up.

 I have also finished all the letters on my 1 year old great-nephew's name sampler. I am using a shoe-horn to count each one as a 'smalls' finish. This dinosaur alphabet is by Claire Compton, and I found it in a UK hardcover book aptly titled 'Cross Stitch Alphabets' published in 2003. I swapped some of the dinosaurs, changed some letter colours, and added a bottom row of stitching to the 'Y's.

So, that ends my Smalls Report for the month of September. I am looking forward to checking out all the Smalls stitching reported this month.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for August

It's been a very mixed month for me, in lots of ways, including my crafting activities.  In between medical appointments and an unexpected operation to remove two breast tumours I have been making Christmas gifts. I made this sweet crochet cotton dress for my 1 year old great-niece.

I liked it so much I decided to make one for my 3 yr old great-niece.

I love this pic of the two dresses together.

Annabelle's grandmother popped in for a visit and pronounced her dress "too short", Annabelle being quite tall for a 3 year old. So, I pulled off the white trim and lengthened the dress by adding a second band of solid colours at the bottom, and then I crocheted her a matching shopping bag with the left-over thread.

I finally made up my last five Christmas ornaments, which had been lurking around in my work basket for varying periods of time.

I have started a name sampler for my great-nephew Harvey ( a Christmas gift). I'm using a dinosaur alphabet by Claire Compton, but I am swapping some of the dinosaurs and changing some of the letter colours, to balance the colours and design.

And I have made 51 beaded angels, which I plan to distribute to my extended family as part of their Christmas gifts. I am embarrased to admit that, despite the fact that it is at least 10 years since I last made a beaded angel, I had all the 'makings' for this group. I could have made quite a lot more with my supply of beads, but I did run out of beading wire. The biggest angels measure about 7.5 cm (3") tall.  In all honesty, the angels are not very photogenic. They look much nicer in reality than they do in the photos. They are hanging angels, so lying around really isn't their thing.

And that brings me to the end of this month's GG report.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Smalls Report for August

I've had a little break from cross stitching while I grappled with an unexpected health issue (I am not happy when life interrupts my indulgences!), but I have managed to finish up the five stitched ornaments that have been sitting in my stitching basket for ages. I have now stitched all the Christmas ornaments on my 2018 Christmas list. I may make a few more to keep for myself.

These two little DMC Teddy Baby's First Christmas ornanents are for the grandchildren of friends.

And my three bead decorated Christmas trees.

That brings the total number of stitched ornaments for this year to 57. I may just have to stitch another 3 to round that number up to an even 60. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Another crochet finish

A finish - a Christmas gift for my 1 yr old greatniece. I used 5 ply cotton (4 x 50g balls) and 3.5mm hook, with 4mm hook used for the bottom half of the skirt.  I've probably made it a bit too long, but it's still 4 months till Christmas, and she's having quite a growth spurt at present.  I'm happy to rip out any unwanted rows at the bottom to correct the length. This was a trial and error project. I started with My Accessory Box's Baby Blossom Summer Dress pattern ( but wanted a less openwork look, so I changed the skirt pattern, using only the chevron rows, increasing every 2nd row. When I thought the skirt was wide enough I stopped increasing and kept the stitches in each chevron strip to 18. I added the trim to the sleeves, and finished the bottom edge with crab stitch.

I have started a larger version for my 3 yr old greatniece, also as a Christmas gift.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Finally ... something to show!

That crochet bug has stayed with me long enough to make a second pinafore for my great-niece Sarah's first birthday. It's crocheted with 4 ply cotton using a 4 mm hook. I used a Ravelry chart Summertime tie top by Annie's Playground for the bodice but changed the shoulder ties to pinafore tabs. I went off on my own  for the skirt, edging and trim.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Smalls Report for June & July

I have had a stitching break for the past 6 weeks while I was outback in the caravan. We had a great holiday, free-camping most of the time. We travelled over 5000 km and visited towns and areas that I had never seen before, and a few old favourites. I learned a lot about the history of dinosaurs in Australia when I visited the Age of Dinosaurs Museum and the Dinosaur Stampede site  outside of Winton (in Queensland, Australia).  It was most  informative and enjoyable.

I may be using the shoehorn with this. I consider it a small project. It is a cotton pinafore for my very tiny 1 year old greatniece. I still have to add the buttons. 

And I stitched two First Christmas ornaments which are waiting to be made up:

The teddy (an old favourite) is adapted from an on-line freebie chart from DMC.

Finally, I stitched one bead decorated Christmas tree. I want to make another 5 for special Christmas visitors.

Not my most productive two months, but it was a very enjoyable holiday!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Crochet Fix

The crochet bug has been visiting my house. It happens infrequently these days, but there was a time when crochet was my major craft activity. I'm going back quite some time now, but I was a prolific crocheter for the 23 years before I discovered cross stitch. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 17 (and meant to be studying for my school final exams). I took to it with a vengeance. When I discovered cross stitch, I packed away my crochet hooks. But every now and then something causes me to bring out the crochet hooks, and that's when I quickly remember how much I enjoy crochet. This last week has been such a time.

The stimulus for my crochet binge was my cold ears. It's winter here, and we had a very sudden transition from summery weather to winter (hardly saw autumn at all this year). My hair is short. My ears were very cold. I felt the need for a beanie to keep my ears warm at night. So, the crochet hooks  came out, I found some wool, selected a pattern (Perenni, designed by Deanne Ramsay from Addydae Designs, and before long I had a beanie. Then two identical beanies - one for nights, the other for wearing out and about. I've had a beanie on my head ever since.

The urge to crochet was still with me. So I used the same pattern and some wool scraps to made two little beanies for my youngest great-niece Sarah, who is 10 months old.

My niece (Sarah's mother) was so happy to have the beanies that I decided to stitch a poncho for Sarah.  Unfortunately my first effort was too small (and now donated to a charity shop).  The poncho just grew as I stitched - so there is no designer to credit.

So, after taking a few measurements and some discussion with my niece about preferred wool colours, here is my latest effort for Sarah. Much more sedate in colour, but more in keeping with my niece's taste in baby clothes!

I fear the crochet bug is still hanging around. I find myself sorting out my wool and patterns and trolling the web for more patterns.  Perhaps I need more than 2 beanies. Maybe a scarf? Time will tell!