Thursday, 31 December 2015

End of year review 2015

Here we are - the last day of 2015! I hope this year has been a good one for you all.

I had a good year stitching - wise. I don't think I shared this photo before but here's my favourite finish of 2015 - right at the start of the year!

Cut Thru North Pole House 
by Bothy Threads 
Started 29th August 2013
Finished 10th January 2015

Other highlights of the year...

Taking part in Debbie's Crazy January Challenge in honour of SoCal Debbie who sadly passed away in 2014. I finished 12 of my 15 new starts. Here's a favourite finish...



Meeting fellow stitchers Ingrid (Mii Stitch) and Rachel (Ten Hour Stitcher) in April for a day's stitching and chatting at Nimble Thimble in Oswestry, and then again for our very own Stitching Retreat at Dairy Cottage! No photos as we're all camera shy but here's a special stitch - chart gifted by Rachel on our first meet up, and stitched by me on our retreat!

Stitchers make the Best Friends by My Big Toe Designs
Started 16th October 2015, finished 17th October 2015

"Killing off" four UFOs which in my heart I knew I would never finish, leaving me with a leaner list from which to choose in 2016. Here's just one that bit the dust...

The top left hand corner of Treasure Hunt Bookshelf
by Aimee Stewart (HAED)

I start 2016 with 11 WIPs / UFOs and my intention for the year is to reduce that number to just 5. I'm cutting back on SAL commitments and won't be joining Crazy January Challenge this year.  I intend to enjoy my stitching and hopefully finish some projects, particularly those I started for my sons, who are quickly growing up! I hope you won't get bored of seeing the same things and will continue to cheer me on as you have done in 2015.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and creative 2016!

Justine 
Thursday, 24 December 2015

Advent Calendar Blog Hop Day 24

The day before the big day is finally here!  And here's the last door to open in the Advent Calendar Blog Hop organised as ever by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching.  If you haven't opened all the other doors then here's a LINK to the whole Advent Calendar - go on, have a look, I'll wait for you!

Being last certainly isn't easy after all the gorgeous finishes that have been on display throughout December.  I have two finishes to share with you which between them to me just sum up Christmas.


...and they shall seek Him
by Just Another Button Company
Stitched on Fabric Flair 28ct evenweave Cloud Brown
with recommended DMC threads



En Retard by Madame Chantilly
Stitched on Fabric Flair 28ct evenweave
Snowfall with sparkles
with recommended DMC threads

These were both an absolute joy to stitch. For En Retard I adapted the design slightly and instead of stitching snowflakes and stars I used this gorgeous fabric from Fabric Flair. This was a bit adventurous for me but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

I also altered the front reindeer's nose as my younger son pointed out that Rudolph should lead the sleigh! 

Like many others who took part in the Blog Hop this year, our Christmas Eve plans are quite low key.  I go out early to collect our Christmas dinner from Marks and Spencer (other Christmas dinners are available) and then I usually treat myself to a quiet coffee in the cafe before returning home just in time for everyone else to wake up!  My husband usually works on Christmas Eve so I'll have a relaxing day at home with my sons who are 6 and 7 years old this Christmas.  In the evening we'll go to Mass and then leave out a mince pie for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.  The boys will no doubt remind me of the Christmas morning that I was cross with Santa for leaving his dirty plate and glass on the table instead of putting them by the sink ready for washing!

Thanks again to Jo for organising our Advent Calendar.  I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday, however you celebrate, and have a stitch and stash-filled Happy New Year!

Justine
Monday, 14 December 2015

Lots of gifts and another finish

Dear friends

I will definitely be on Santa's Naughty List this year after receiving so many lovely gifts from friends and not sharing with you all!

Back in October I won a giveaway on Maggee's blog and she made this beautiful cube finish for me...


Isn't it gorgeous?  Maggee hand-dyed the lace to achieve the right colour.  Now that's attention to detail.  Thank you Maggee I absolutely love it.

Then I was the recipient of one of the many Christmas ornaments that Jacquie has been sending round the blogosphere...


Here it is already on our tree.  Thank you Jacquie, it looks so pretty and smells absolutely delicious too!

Then last week Sally had a clear out of some Halloween ornaments and fabric, and knowing that I didn't have much in the way of Halloween designs, sent them all to me!


Thank you Sally - I know you said I could pass them on but I really don't think I will!  The pumpkin face is already a favourite with my boys and I'm sure I can put the fabric to good use next year.

And then my dear friend Ingrid of Mii Stitch sent this beauty along with some Christmas gifts...



Thank you Ingrid - you know I love everything and am already planning to buy more of those cute Flip-It designs!

Ingrid also sent a gift to our friend Rachel the Ten Hour Stitcher.  Please do check out the photos on Ingrid's blog here as they are much better than mine, plus my gift looks great side-by-side with it's stitchy twin!

As promised, I also have a finish of my own to share, and here it is!  Started as one of my Crazy January Challenge pieces this year in memory of SoCal Debbie, this is Pretty Little Paris.

Pretty Little Paris by Satsuma Street
Started 7th January 2015, finished 2nd December 2015
Stitched on 16 count Rustico aida
with recommended DMC threads


I'm very happy with how it turned out, it's so bright and colourful!  I made a few adjustments to the bridge running along the bottom as it was charted unevenly and my tidy brain couldn't cope with that!  Apart from that it was stitched just as charted with the recommended colours.

This one is my 12th finish of the 15 new starts I had back in January and sadly I will have to carry the remaining 3 over into 2016.  I plan to finish at least 2 of them next year but more of that later!

I am busy stitching on Christmas goodies now which I will share on December 24th as part of Jo's Advent Blog Hop.  See you then!

Justine
Friday, 27 November 2015

Another finish and WIP progress

Hello everyone!

I hope all my American friends had a great Thanksgiving and everyone survived Black Friday.  I have avoided the shops all day and it's been lovely.  Christmas shopping is mostly done and I honestly could not face queuing and fighting for bargains.  I've had a more peaceful day stitching!

First to show you today is my latest finish, Singing in the Rain.

Singing in the Rain by Madame Chantilly
Stitched on 28 count Fabric Flair Cloud Blue
using recommended DMC threads
Re-started 1st November 2015, finished 21st November 2015

I'm so pleased with how this one turned out, the fabric was gorgeous to stitch on and I think really sets off the reds and yellows of the piece much better than the linen I originally started it on!

Next up is Pretty Little Paris which will soon be a finish I hope - my 12th of the 15 pieces I started back in January for Debbie's Crazy January Challenge...

Pretty Little Paris by Satsuma Street
Stitched on 16 count Rustico aida
with recommended DMC threads

I've stitched pretty much everything to the right of the Eiffel Tower, there's just Montmartre and the Arc de Triomphe left to stitch on the left, then a bridge which runs right along the bottom of the piece.

I also had a new start last weekend, naughty I know but I just couldn't resist...

En Retard by Madame Chantilly
Stitched on 28 count Fabric Flair Snowfall evenweave
with recommended DMC threads
Started 21st November 2015

I was a little bit nervous about the fabric for this one but after lots of deliberation, plus advice from my two stitchy friends Rachel and Ingrid, I've decided it's perfect!  Though as Rachel pointed out, this design has lots of houses and I really don't like stitching houses!

You can't really see in this photo but the fabric is all sparkly too!  Really hoping to have this one finished for Christmas.

Enjoy the weekend whatever you decide to do - hopefully you will all have time for crafting!  I'm going to make sure I do.

Justine
Thursday, 19 November 2015

WIP update

Hello friends!

I've been trying a new rotation recently, well that was the plan anyway.  I moved three projects from my stash/WIP cupboard to my stitching bag, and the plan was to work on those three until one was finished, then replace it with another WIP etc etc.  Unfortunately it hasn't worked and I have worked on just one of them and not touched the other two!  Guess I must be a One At A Time stitcher at heart!

Anyway, the project I have been working on is one I started back in January for Debbie's Crazy January Challenge.  Here's how it should look when finished (borrowed from Madame Chantilly's Etsy store)

Singing in the Rain by Madame Chantilly

And here's how it looked when I last stitched on it earlier in the year.  As you can see I had to change the hen colour so it would show up on the fabric, and I really didn't like it.


Anyway, while I was away with Rachel and Ingrid last month we decided to throw it in the bin and restart on some Fabric Flair!  I selected Cloudy Blue 28 count evenweave and here's how it looks today!


I'm so happy with it!  It just needs the words and some backstitch so that Mrs Hen is pulling the chicks along on their trolley, and then it will be finished.

Here are the other two projects from the Stitching Bag, they have had a little bit of attention but not for a couple of weeks!

History Timeline by Bothy Threads

And a close up of the three new figures, Tudor Queen, Stuart Guy and Georgian Gent! (minus most of the backstitch)



Pretty Little Paris by Satsuma Street

I would like to have all three of these finished by the end of the year, but I am desperate for a new Christmassy start!  Either this free chart by Just Another Button Company...

[Picture from ABC Stitch Therapy]

or maybe this one...


Or maybe both?!

Have you started your Christmas stitching yet?

Until next time,

Justine
Monday, 2 November 2015

Two finishes!

You may remember I spent a wonderful weekend stitching with Rachel and Ingrid a couple of weeks ago. We decided to have a couple of new starts each and I was thrilled to not only start but also finish one of mine!

Stitchers make the best friends
My Big Toe designs
Stitched on 32 count Fabric Flair Cloudy Lilac evenweave
with recommended Crescent Colors and GAST threads

This seemed an apt choice for my first new start as the chart and pansy buttons had been gifted to me by Rachel earlier in the year.

My second planned new start (Alice by Tralala) had to be substituted as the girls decided my fabric wasn't right and chose something much more appropriate which I have on order. So I chose this one instead...

The Town of Halloween by The Primitive Hare
Stitched on 32 count Halloween Mist Kiran evenweave by The Crafty Kitten
Using recommended DMC 310 and 3032

I finished this one on Halloween and was really pleased with it. I don't usually stitch primitive designs but the fabric really gives this an added dimension in my opinion. No idea how I will finish it yet but there's no rush!

Now what to stitch on next? Christmas ornies are calling to me!

Justine
Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween Trick or Treat blog hop

Happy Halloween!

This post is part of the Halloween blog hop organised by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching.  If you want to take part, go to Jo's blog to find out where to start, and then hop round all the participating blogs gathering a letter from each as you go.  Or do what I did the first year and gather all the letters at random and then spend ages trying to work out the phrase.

If you post the correct phrase to Jo's blog then you are in with a chance of winning a small prize.

Here's a photo of my rather small collection of Halloween stitches.  I really need to add to this for next year!


And your blog hop letter from me is ....



Letter G!

Now hop along to say hello and collect your next letter from Jeremiah's Mom.

Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!

Justine
Thursday, 22 October 2015

Stitching Retreat goody bags and a clear out!

If you're a follower of Rachel the Ten Hour Stitcher (and if not, why not have a look over there now?) you may have already seen her post about our stitching retreat last weekend, together with Mii Stitch (another lovely blog).

We spent two nights in a gorgeous converted dairy last weekend and had lots of fun chatting, stashing and de-stashing and even managed to do a little bit of stitching!

This is the second time we've met up and on both occasions we have exchanged goody bags.  This time we had a Hallowe'en theme and I'd like to share with you the gorgeous goodies I received.

From Ingrid:
Lizzie*Kate design, fabric, glow-in-the-dark thread, Hallowe'en ribbons, 
decorations, Lego monster and lots of sweets (a few of which were missing when I 
came to take this photo!)


And a close up of the cute little witch she stitched, finished perfectly as always!

From Rachel:
Sue Hillis Hallowe'en chart, fabric, Hallowe'en ribbons and threads, Witches Brew candle, 
notebook and a Hallowe'en stitch!

Here are close-ups of Rachel's ornament (front and back) which I was honoured to receive as it is I believe the first ornament she has ever finished!


All the gifts were just wonderful, and my boys (aged 6 and 7) were absolutely thrilled to see all the decorations and sweets when I got home, dare I say it even more excited about those than seeing their Mum after her weekend away!

We did manage some stitching and I even started and finished a cute stitch during the weekend, but I will share those photos another time.

I had taken with me most of my UFO pile and stash and with the help of my friends I sorted through everything and managed to get rid of three projects that I no longer want to stitch on for various reasons.  So you won't be seeing any more of this one...

(too hippy dippy!)

or this one...

(chart too complicated)

and most importantly, this one has gone too!

(too big!)

Yes, I've killed off my HAED Treasure Hunt Bookshelf!  It was full of confetti and just didn't "grab" me any more.  I have other HAED charts though and I still aim to complete at least one of them one day.

Thank you girls for a fun weekend - can't wait for the next one!

Justine
Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Refocusing

I signed up a few weeks ago for Kaye's Kitten Stitching and the Friday Frolics SAL. It's a great idea where each Friday we cheer each other along working on old WIPs. I thought it would be a fun way to pick up (and put down again!) some of my slightly older pieces.

But two weeks ago I picked out the Bothy Threads History Timeline I started in September 2013...and I haven't put it down yet!

Here it is now...


Half complete!

I love working on this one. As each figure is separate from the others I can work the backstitch as I go, so each figure feels like a mini finish. Plus my knowledge of history is so truly awful I am learning as I go.

I'm not ready to put this one away yet so you may see it again soon!

Justine
Thursday, 24 September 2015

Giveaway winner at last!

Life got in the way this week but I did choose a winner for the Strawberry House chart on Tuesday evening as promised - I just didn't have time to post.

And the winner is...




KARIN!!!

Karin said: Beautiful finish. If I stitched the pattern I would finish it with a flat fold technique or I would use a foam block and do a no sew technique to make a cube.

Thank you all for your suggestions, especially to Laura who mentioned Sudberry candle screens which I had never heard of before and am now trying to justify spending a fortune on postage to the UK to get one!

Karin please let me have your postal address and I will get this out to you!

I have been busily stitching away on two secret pieces of exchange stitching so there's nothing to show you this week but I'll be back soon with an oldie but goodie for Kaye's Friday Frolics SAL!

Back soon!

Justine
Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness September - another finish!

Hi everyone

I love this SAL - many stitchers sharing projects that are made with gifted charts, fabric, floss etc, or that are intended to be given as gifts, or anything that could be shoehorned into a gifting theme!  If you don't know anything about it, head here to get all the details.

I have another finish to show you today.  The chart for this beautiful design was gifted to me by Mii Stitch as part of the Tutti Frutti Exchange Mii organised last year.  This was one of my Crazy January starts in 2015 and I am pleased to say I finished it!

Strawberry House by Little House Needleworks
Stitched on random 36 count linen
with recommended WDW, GAST and DMC threads

This chart was an absolute pleasure to stitch, thank you Mii.

In the spirit of Gifted Gorgeousness, I would love to pass on this gorgeous chart.  So please tell me in the comments box below how you would finish it, and I will choose a winner one week from today!

See you soon for more Crazy January Challenge updates...

Justine
Monday, 7 September 2015

A small and spooky finish

Hello

Are you here to see a finish?  Well, here it is!



Spooky String by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32 count linen 
With recommended Crescent Colors and DMC threads 
Started 12th January 2015, finished 5th September 2015

This is finish number 9 of my 15 new starts for the Crazy January Challenge 2015 in memory of SoCal Debbie.  I started it on 12th January when it looked like this...



but then didn't touch it until this week.  I had it all stitched up in three evenings and am going to attempt an oblong-cube-type finish (I'm sure a mathematician could put me right on the correct name for an oblong cube - a cuboid?!) as seen on Vickie's blog this week here.

I think realistically I could finish another four of my January new starts by the end of the year, but there are a couple of them which I pretty much knew I wouldn't get done (Mini HAED Christmas Mailbox I'm looking at you!)  I plan to finish up the smaller ones as quickly as I can and then focus on the Bothy Threads Cut Thru pieces which I have started - Rocket for elder son and Pirate Ship for younger son.  They have just had 6th and 7th birthdays so I want to finish these before they are too old for them!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend.

Until next time

Justine
Monday, 31 August 2015

And the winner is....

The winner of my 2nd blogaversary giveaway was comment number 2 from...


Beth!


Beth if you could email me your snail mail address I am gathering together a few little things that I hope you will like and will hopefully be ready to post at the end of the week.

Here's a sneak peek of my handmade "creation" that will be included in your prize, if only I'd known you were going to win I'd have stitched it in blue!



I love having giveaways so I'm sure it won't be too long before I have another.  Thanks to everyone who entered and for all your good wishes on my second blogging anniversary.

I have been stitching my first ornie for the Christmas Ornie SAL hosted by Kaye of Kitten Stitching.  I didn't meet my own self-imposed target of actually finishing off the ornament, but I did finish the stitching by the end of the month which I am pleased with.  Our theme for this month was Father and/or Mrs Claus so I stitched both on this lovely CCN ornament..

Holly Jolly by Country Cottage Needlecrafts
Stitched on 32 count linen
with recommended Crescent Colors and DMC threads

I have also been doing a little bit of crochet.  I am making butterfly brooches for my friend to sell in aid of the local children's hospice.  Here's my first attempt...


It was quite fiddly but I'm pleased with the result and hopefully my friend will be able to sell them at our church to raise money for this great cause.

Until next time

Justine
Monday, 24 August 2015

Happy blogaversary to me!

It's my second anniversary of blogging today!  I can't believe it's only been two years.  Many things have changed in that time...

I have completed 53 projects in that time, the largest of which is this one which funnily enough was the first project I started after my blog began!

Cut Thru North Pole House
Bothy Threads

My stash has grown from a few skeins of DMC and a kit or two, and I needed to buy this cupboard to keep it in!

When I started blogging I had three projects "on the go", I now have 20 WIPs and UFOs, four of which are HAED size!

I have taken part in several exchanges and have been gifted with some very generous gifts, including lovely handiwork by other stitchers, all of which are displayed in my little craft room.


You can read my first ever blog post here.  I was thrilled that eight other stitchers commented on that post.  I now have over 200 followers and have made many many friends in the last two years, some of whom I have been lucky enough to meet in "real life"!  I truly appreciate all of you who read and cheer me on with my projects, and I enjoy reading all of your blogs too!

Anyway, to celebrate I am going to have another giveaway as they are so much fun!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post.  No need to mention on your blog.  The prize will include something handmade by me and also some lovely bits for you to use in your own stitching and finishing.  No photos yet as I only realised today that it was my anniversary!

I will make the deadline next Monday 31st August to give everyone a chance to enter.  I will draw a lucky winner on that date.

Bonne chance everyone!

Until next time

Justine
Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A month of Alice is almost over...

If you remember I designated July the month of Alice of Wonderland, to mark the 150th anniversary of its publication.  I picked up one of my Crazy January Challenge 2015 new starts, the gorgeous Alice in Wonderland by Madame Chantilly, and here is where I got with it...

Alice in Wonderland
Madame Chantilly
Stitched on 28 count Cashel linen
with recommended DMC threads

Close-up of the detail - I think the bottle was my favourite to stitch so far!

I'm not altogether happy with my progress but I am enjoying stitching this one which is what counts!

I have a little gift to share with you...this came from Melanie the WIP slayer.  She ordered a few too many for gifts at a retreat, so decided to share them with the readers who had recently commented most on her blog.  What a great way to hold a giveaway - I may have to pinch the idea!  Anyway, I was one of the lucky winners and received a "stitchy bug" needleholder this week, isn't it cute?!


Now I will always know where to find my stitchy bug.

I am taking a little break from blogging for some family time and a little holiday but don't worry I'll be back soon, hopefully with some stitching to show!

Until next time

Justine