Thursday, 14 March 2013

Late January birthday presents

Hello there!
Thank you for stopping by to visit, today I have a couple of stitchy projects to share with you. The title of this post pretty much gives it away that these projects were intended as January birthday presents and they were both late! But now they are finished & are with their new owners I can share them with you.
Last summer I bought a new book of cross stitch designs by Joan Elliott & one of the designs instantly made me think of my sister. I wanted to make it into something for her birthday and, after a little think, decided it might be even nicer to send her two wee things so I had a look through my chart collection for a similar design. I picked one out & sat them both on my "to stitch" pile. Through November & into December my stitching slowed down as the headaches increased but even near the end of December as I finally made a start on the first design I hoped I might have them completed in time for her birthday. Eventually I had to face facts, give in, & send her birthday card off with a wee note "pressie to follow"... I carried on working on them when I was able &, a few weeks after her birthday, I finally finished stitching both designs. I picked some fabric from my stash to back them with & made them into small pillows stuffed with dried lavender from our garden. Here's the Joan Elliott design...
...and this is the second design. It's by Debra Page and is from an old issue of The World of Cross Stitch magazine...
I used the same fabric & ribbon from my stash on both of them & finished them off by sewing little silver charms saying "made with love" on the top...

The second (late) present was made for my daughter. A while back I came across the perfect chart for her here amongst the freebies by Pauline at Plum Street Samplers. We giggled over it together, agreed it was her to a tee and that one day she would have to stitch it. She does enjoy stitching but she really has so little free time these days & I don't see that changing any time soon as she prepares to go to university & study for her degree, so I decided I would stitch this design in secret for her birthday instead. I already had some 16 count aida that was the perfect color in my stash & two skeins of this chocolate scented thread to stitch it with...
Have any of you tried this thread before? The idea is that the scent is slowly released when the thread is handled & it lasts for about 20 washes at 40C. I don't think DMC make it any more, I bought several packets of it in different scents in a sale a few years back and it has lived untouched in it's packaging in my drawer ever since. I was really pretty excited about finally using some & thought my daughter would also get a real kick out of it too (chocolate being one of her other great loves!). So I began to stitch.... *sniff* *sniff* nothing.... well it did say "slowly released".... I kept stitching... *sniff* *sniff*.... no nothing.... neither hubbie nor son could smell anything either so I can only guess that I kept the thread too long & the smell gave up & vanished?? If  you have used this product I would love to know if you got better results than I did! 
The original design uses just dark brown thread throughout & that was my original plan too but then I saw this fabric on ebay (yes the dreaded ebay has a lot to answer for!)...
There was also a listing for a coordinating print...
...and so I decided to make this design into a cushion & change some of the dark brown stitching to reflect some of the colors in the fabric. Of course my daughter's birthday came & went, I had had little opportunity to work on this in secret, & I was still frantically stitching my sister's present (!) so in the end I decided to abandon the secrecy. I showed my daughter my plans for her (late) present & we agreed I would finish it once her auntie's pressie hit the mail. Once I could get a few decent sessions in on it (without having to hide it every time she might appear) it really didn't take long to finish - would you like to see? OK here it is...

Apart from the colors the only other small change I made to the original was to replace the date with my daughter's initials at the bottom. 
Now as she knew all about it by this time, her current stitchy WIP is a cushion project, & she is pretty keen on learning to use my sewing machine, we decided to snatch a few hours from her busy schedule to make this into a cushion together...
Do you like my glamorous fabric cutting area? Otherwise known as the strip of floor between my craft desk & the bottom of the bed! Hahaha! One day I will have a nice big sewing table & won't need to kneel on the floor all hunched over *dream*.... Anyways this is how I work for now... 
Once we had the fabric strips attached round the stitched panel I showed her how to put a zipper in an open seam. Then she sewed round the remaining three sides - would you like to see the first seam my daughter sewed by herself on the machine?

Pretty straight huh? Proud momma talking I know but I think she could be kinda good at this ;-)
Apart from my disappointment over the non smelly thread this was a really enjoyable stitch, I would do it again in a heartbeat! Here's the finished cushion...

Please excuse the great crease across the bottom corner but I waited a few days for better light to snap a photo of it & by then it had been put to use! Now the more I look at this photo the more creases I see... Oh well you get the idea of what it looks like & you can see she is using it a lot while she is studying for these all important exams ;-)
Now I'm working on another cross stitch project that will be turned into a cushion when it's finished, hopefully I will be able to share this with you soon... 


  1. Cute ornaments & lovely cushion!! Shame the thread has lost its smell!!! Never seen these before x

    1. Thank you for your lovely comments, have a great week, Helen x

  2. I love that cushion! Brilliant. Some of the smelly threads smell quite strong. I used a toffee one that had no smell at all. Lavender was quite strong and rose too. Very pretty mini cushions.

    1. Thanks Steph :) oooh so there's hope for the other different scented ones I have? Going to have to try them out soon methinks... Have a great week, Helen xox

  3. Hello! I 'found' you via Mary Jane's Tearoom. Love all your creations - I always think hand-made are best for gifts. My blog is a bit neglected of late - too busy making things and forgetting to post :/

    1. Hello! Thank you for stopping by & for your lovely comments, I hope you will continue to enjoy visiting here! Sometimes the urge to make is stronger than the urge to switch the computer on ;-) Happy crafting!

  4. All your stitchy makes are beautiful Helen...Such lovely gifts to receive too..they will be treasured!
    Hope you have a lovely weekend,
    Susan x

    1. Thank you Susan, I am thinking I have to find some time to learn to knit because your bunnies & bears are simply irresistible! Hope you have a lovely week, Helen x

  5. Gosh Helen can you tell I missed this notice, I think it was when I had had my surgery and then fell down the steps! lol...I LOVE the coffin thing...the saying is perfect for me, where can I get it? And your sewing area is like mine and also my computer building area! lol...xox

    1. Yes, I think it was around then Cathy, I sent you the link on fb, it was a pretty quick stitch really from what I remember! Here's to kneeling on the floor creating things lol xox


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