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, December 14, 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for December 2020

 Wow! What a year - and it is almost over. This year there have been so many changes to adapt to, and more constraints than I have experienced as an adult. The only consolation is that we were all in it together, and there was good reason for the changed behavioural requirements.  One outcome for me was extra time at home, most of which I was able to use for stitching. This being the 15th of December, it is time for the monthly Gifted Gorgeousness (GG) report.  GG is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Anything stitched to be gifted, or stitched with gifted supplies, qualifies for inclusion in the GG report.

In the past month I have stitched five Christmas ornaments - a Santa initial adapted from LA's Alphabets Galore book, and four that just grew as I stitched. This brings to 75 the total number of Christmas ornaments I have stitched and finished this year. Of these 63 are to he gifted this Christmas  and the remaining 12 are mine, but were stitched with gifted supplies.

I used the last of the gifted fabric from  which I made most of my 12 Days of Christmas ornaments to create a new set of wings for a rescued angel who had lost her wings. The angel stands 60cm (24") tall, and I think she is quite beautiful. She was the first of my Advent gifts for this year, and now she is standing watch over the Advent gifts.

I added some crochet and beaded butterflies to finish off this little shopping bag for my 3 year old niece. I made it to use up some cotton left over from a sundress I made for her earlier in the year.

I made another cotton crochet shopping bag, which will be a Christmas Gift for a 5 yr old greatniece.  

I made another 20 beaded angels this month, bringing this year's total for beaded angels to 35. Most will be gifted, but I will keep some of the cream pearl drop angels (my favourites!). I am shoe-horning them into GG  as the pearls I used to make them were a birthday gift.

Earlier in the year I stitched name samplers for a little brother and sister, and a birth sampler for a greatnephew.  They came home from the framer last week, and I am very happy with them. They are all to be Christmas gifts. I had Boden and Niva's samplers framed in the same wood used for their older brother's name sampler 5 years ago, and George's mum opted for a white frame.

This year I stitched a total of 24 pages of HAED Christmas Dreams, which leaves 22 pages still to stitch. Christmas Dreams is stitched with gifted supplies (except for a few skeins of floss).

This is where I started on Christmas Dreams in June this year, after a long rest:

And this is what Christmas Dreams looks like now, at completion of the 44th page:

I have enjoyed participating in the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL once again this year. It's a bright spot in my month! I hope to do it all again next year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Advent Blog Hop

 Jo from  Serendipitous Stitching hosts the Advent Blog Hop, which is one of the blog hops I most enjoy.  Pop over to Jo's blog to find the doors that lead to each day's Advent blog post.  This year we have been asked to show something with a Christmas or winter theme that we have crafted, and to answer the question that Jo has set for the hop participants.

I have decided to show my Dowelling  Christmas Tree. It is a tree of my own design, made by my partner many years ago. The trees consist of a central wood post through which holes have been bored to take pieces of dowelling that form the branches. It is 3 dimensional, in that there are three branches at each level - one each side of the central post, and one at a 90 degree angle to the central post. It hangs on a picture hook in the wall when in use, and after Christmas the branches come out for easy storage. My trees are painted gold at present, though for the first 10 years they were painted green. I have two of these trees, one a little larger than the other.  The smaller one is 150cm (5') tall.  On one I hang angels, on the other I hang Santas. I like these trees because I can hang hundreds of ornaments on each tree, many more than I could hang on a conventional tree.  The ornaments are clearly visible, and the trees do not take floor space, which is in high demand in my house at Christmas. They are not my only Christmas trees (I have five other large Christmas trees, and dozens of small ones) but they are the ones I most enjoy decorating. 

My Angel Tree

My Santa Tree

I'm now wondering if I can really claim the dowelling trees as something I have crafted. The concept was mine but I didn't actually make the trees.  So, here is something Christmassy that I did craft myself. It is L&L's Oh Christmas Tree, and it's one of my (many) favourite Christmas stitcheries. I remember that I had a moment of panic when I was stitching it: suddenly I couldn't find my place on the chart, and nothing looked familiar. It took me longer than it should have to realise that I had inadvertently turned the chart over - one side of the chart had a graph for the decorated tree (which I was stitching), and the other side had a graph for an undecorated tree. I hadn't noticed that before.

 Jo has asked us to nominate our favourite Christmas book.  Not a particularly easy task for me. I do like books  and I have quite a large number of Christmas books.  After lots of thought, I decided on Anne Geddes' 12 Days of Christmas book.  It is a most delightful book, containing (as one might expect of an Anne Geddes book) pictures of babies posed in 12 Days of Christmas scenes. Some do require a little imagination. I choose to believe that no babies were harmed in the production of the book. Certainly they all look quite relaxed and cooperative.  

Thank you for visiting. I hope your Christmas is a happy one, and that 2021 brings a healthier and more settled year.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Smalls Report for November

 I'm a little late with my Smalls report. I've been away inland in the caravan, and that is why I actually have some Smalls to show this month. If I had been at home it is likely that all my November stitching would have been on my big WIP, Christmas Dreams.  The extreme heat we are having (today the temp reached 45C or 113F) ended our caravan trip earlier than planned, which is why I am home to make this report. The Smalls Report is hosted by Mary at Mary's Thread.

I have stitched three little Christmas ornaments. They are all ready to have their beads added, and be made up. My task for the next couple of days.

They will all look prettier when they get their beads.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for November

It's the 15th of the month (again) - time for the Gifted Gorgeousness report.  GG is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Anything stitched with gifted supplies, or stitched to be gifted, qualifies for inclusion in the GG report.

My WIP, HAED Christmas Dreams, is stitched with gifted pattern and supplies, and I am very pleased to report that it is now 71.8% finished. It's on track to be completed by mid 2021.  This time last month I was working on the 38th page. I have now stitched 43 of the 66 pages, and made a start on the 44th page.  I took this photo (off the frame) when I finished row 7 of charts (42nd page).

This next photo shows where I am up to now. I didn't take it off the frame for the photo, but I have turned the photo right-side up for ease of viewing.

I picked up my crochet hook  and made a little shopping bag for Miss 3. I had cotton left after making her a dress for her birthday, and thought that would be a good use for it.  I've ordered some large glittery butterfly beads to brighten it up. Miss 3 loves bags,  butterflies, and bling  so I think she will approve. I didn't have a pattern for the bag, but used my favourite twisted treble stitch for the body because it is quite a stretchy stitch and I thought it would work well as a bag.

I also made a batch of beaded angels, using pearl drop beads I was given for my birthday by a friend who recognised that the beads were crying out to be angels. I will keep most of these for my 'hand-crafted' Christmas tree, but some will be gifted this Christmas.

That's all I have to show this month  except that I did make up the Christmas ornaments I had stitched last month.

 I am looking forward to visiting the GG blogs to see all the lovely projects completed and WIPs.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Smalls Report for October

 It's been quite some time since I last had any Smalls to show - five months at least. This month I set Christmas Dreams aside, and finished stitching the last of the Christmas ornaments on my 2020 'to do' list. 

So, here they are:

Two Baby's First Christmas ornaments: one for a friend's grandson and the other for a new little neighbour girl. A family tree ornament for a friend (very similar to the one I stitched for her last year, at her request. This one has two new grandsons included). And the final seven ornaments in the 12 Days of Christmas set I made for my own Christmas tree.

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Mary at Mary's Thread, and the reporting date is the final Friday in each month.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for October

 I'm feeling a bit like Alice's White Rabbit - I'm late (yet again) with my Gifted Gorgeousness report. GG is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching, and the day for reporting is the 15th of each month. Anything stitched with gifted supplies, or stitched to be gifted qualifies for the GG report.

I have some gift stitching to show this month. I stitched and finished up this personalised Christmas Tree ornament for a friend. I stitched a similar one for her last year, and she asked me to make another to include the two new grandsons who joined her family this year.

I've added the names to the two Baby's First Christmas ornaments I stitched earlier this year, and I will be making up those two ornaments in the next day or so.

At the beginning of the year I planned to stitch one Twelve Days of Christmas ornament (using gifted supplies or supplies purchased with birthday gift vouchers) per month. This went by the wayside once I started stitching on Christmas Dreams in June. So, this month I have taken a little break from Christmas Dreams, and stitched the remaining seven ornaments to complete the set. I haven't yet made them up into ornaments; that is my task for the next few days.

Speaking of Christmas Dreams - there has been some progress, though it's been resting for the past two weeks. Here's where I was a month ago.

I finished the 6th row of charts, and am now working on the second page of row 7 (my 38th page). This is where I left off stitching 2 weeks ago:

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness, September

  Another month gone - this year is disappearing fast. The 15th of each month is the day on which we can report our 'gifted' stitching - those items destined to be gifts, or stitched using gifted supplies.  

This month I once again have just one project to talk about. I have made good progress on Christmas Dreams, which I am stitching for myself using gifted chart, fabric and most of the floss. This time last month I had stitched 28 pages, today I am stitching on my 34th page. I still have a bit under a quarter of the 34th page to stitch, but I expect to finish the page tomorrow, as it's all plain stitching in just one floss colour (black). I have passed the half-way point now. I am keen to have Christmas Dreams framed and on my wall for Christmas 2021. However my immediate goal is to finish row 6 of charts by the end of September. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for August

 I'm a little late for the GG report this month, but better late than never as my Granny used to say. Jo at Serendipitous Stitching hosts the Gifted Gorgeousness Report on the 15th of each month.  Anything stitched with gifted supplies, or stitched to be gifted, qualifies for the GG report.

While I was touring in the caravan, I made these three cotton crocheted sundresses - two for Miss 3, and one for her doll.

And since I got home, I have been stitching madly on Christmas Dreams, and finished two more pages. It's not a great pic, but the best I could do today.  It actually looks so much better on the phone.  I have now finished 28 of the 66 pages.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Summer Blog Hop - Stitching Friends

Please be kind when reading my post. I am just at the end of a caravan trip through outback NSW and Queensland. I have only my mobile phone with me. Usually I can do a blog post on the phone with no problem. Horror of horrors, when I got onto my blog I didn't recognise it. It must have updated. All the soothing words have been replaced by icons that mean nothing to me. I have no idea how to put in links, for a start. Help! 

Jo at Serendipitous Stitching is hosting this Stitching Friends Blog Hop.

My stitching friend is a very busy crafter, with many years of stitching experience. As well as cross stitch, she likes quilting and knitting. Unlike me (I can cope with just one project at a time), she has a number of gorgeous projects on the go.  Again unlike me, she is not particularly fond of Christmas stitching, but she does like stitching Halloween projects, and she seems to be likely to choose band samplers and quaker-style charts. She stitches lovely gifts for her family.  She likes working specialty stitches, and  stitching with silks.  

I wish I was able to put up a pic of a project I think she would like, but I have a steep learning curve to master before I can do that. A chart I think she might like is Lila's Studio's Halloween Quaker. I found it on the 123stitch site.


 My stitching friend is Sandy

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for July

Here we are again - 15th of the month, and time for the monthly Gifted Gorgeousness report.  GG is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching. Anything stitched to be gifted, or stitched with gifted supplies is eligible for the GG report.

My report will be short. All my stitching in the past month has been on my HAED Christmas Dreams.

This project counts for GG as the chart, fabric, and most of the floss was purchased with birthday gift vouchers. I am very pleased with my progress.  I brought CD down to my stitching corner on 11th June. This is what I had completed before packing it away last.

I had finished 19 pages, and was working on 20th page. I have been stitching obsessively on it every day, and I am very happy to have finished another 6 pages. I am now working on the 26th page, which is close to finished.

I'm about to head off in the caravan for a month or so (provided the state border remains open for holidayers), so after I finish this page Christmas Dreams will be resting again until I get back home. In the next stitching session (hopefully September) my aim is to reach my 50% complete goal. Three more pages should see that.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for June

This year is just slipping by for me, despite the changes we have all been experiencing recently.  As it's the 15th June, it is time for the monthly Gifted Gorgeousness Report, hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  The things that qualify for GG are items made with gifted supplies, or items made to be gifted. Most of my stitching qualifies for inclusion.

I have two name samplers to show this month. There is a little story about them.  Way back in 1993 I bought my first real cross-stitch book, because I really liked the cover chart- which was Allura's Australian Alphabet designed by Guy Hayes. It ticked many of my boxes - I have a particular fondness for stitching samplers, alphabets, birds, and animals. Over the years I often looked at the chart, but didn't have the opportunity to actually stitch from it.

Eventually, a niece moved to New York, married and had a baby boy. I decided to stitch a name sampler for Jude using the Aussie alphabet, to remind him of his Australian heritage.

My niece and her family have since relocated back home to Australia,
and when I offered to stitch a design for each of her other children, she asked me to use the Aussie Alphabet again. So, the book came out and I have just finished stitching the samplers.  This time I followed the chart more in using the different colours for the letters (though I did swap some of the colours around). I also added more backstitching to the birds and animals, and I swapped acacia (wattle) for the Australian flag in Niva's 'A', just because I thought the acacia was more appealing to a small child. Boden's sampler is stitched on pale blue 28 count evenweave, and Niva's is stitched on antique white 28 count evenweave.

I will be taking these to my framer, along with George's birth sampler which I finished last month, just as soon as he reopens. Fingers crossed that he does reopen. Lots of businesses here are closing. When framed, these samplers will be Christmas gifts.

I've almost finished my 2020 'to stitch' list, so I have brought out my HAED WIP, 'Christmas Dreams' (artist Dona Gelsinger, charted by Michele Sayetta). I categorise this as a gifted project, since I used birthday money and vouchers to buy the chart, fabric, and most of the floss.  This one is being stitched for me. I started stitching this in 2016, and when I last packed it away I had stitched about 31% of the 260,000 stitches, and was stitching on my 20th page - just 46 more pages to go.  When finished and framed, Christmas Dreams will measure about 89 cm wide and 64 cm high (that's around 35" x 25"). The stitched area will be 74cm wide x 49 cm (28.5" x 19"). It's my biggest project so far.
Hopefully, one day I will have something like this hanging on my wall.

My floor frame wasn't wide enough to take the fabric, so I am stitching this project sideways, which has been quite challenging.  It has caused  me quite some angst at times. It's been quite a steep learning curve! For a start, I had kitted it up prior to realising it would be stitched sideways, and as is my habit, I had carefully drawn the 90 floss symbols onto the floss cards. It is amazing how different a symbol looks when the chart is turned 90 degrees. Since lots of the symbols are similar shapes reversed or rotated, it made stitching harder than necessary. This time I have made new floss cards, complete with rotated symbols, so I am hoping it will be easier on my ageing mind. I have also learned to check and double-check where the repeated rows and columns on each page are - they are never the rows marked on the chart as repeats. I spent a month learning just how important it was to get it right, when I stitched a page with 3 duplicate rows along the top. It took twice as long to frog the area than it had to stotch it. I'm not going there again!

So, here is where I was when I took Christmas Dreams up to rest in December 2018.

And here it is on the frame, ready for stitching. It always takes me a while to get back into the swing of it, but I really hope to be making some real progress on this over the next few months.

And finally, a photo taken at the end of tonight's stitching session. I have finished the 20th page and moved on to the 21st (which is actually page 37).

I always enjoy reading all the GG posts, and I am sure that this month will be no disappointment. In this time of social isolation, the diversion is much appreciated!