Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Stitchy Halloween!

Hello there and HaPpy HaLLoWeEn!!!
Today I have some more stitching to share with you. Although I haven't been very good about blogging my progress, I have kept up with the Mystery Sampler Stitch A Long being run by Paulette of Plum Street Samplers. Each part (so far) has taken me around an hour to stitch and I am really enjoying visiting her blog on a Sunday to discover what new part is the next one to go into the design. Here it is after Week 2...
Week 3...
And Week 4...
Week 5 is out but I haven't stitched it yet... However I did manage to finish my Rodeo Cowboys Cushion!! Ta-dah!!
Also in this last week I finally decided on a frame for Ladybird Fairy! I was in two minds about frame versus wall hanging but in the end opted for this frame and mount from a local store... 
I also decided it was time to put away The Wave for a little while. I'm really not into this right now and thought it would be better to get it back out when I actually want to work on it rather than feeling I should. This is where I have gotten up to...
As per my Stitchy Plans for the year I have gotten out the Christmas stocking to work on, which goes towards my goal of finishing a UFO and also makes a start on my Christmas stitching for the year (I don't know why but I'm really not feeling that Christmassy urge yet, for which I am sure I will pay later!). I will post a photo of my progress on that when I have something to show.
After months of little cross stitching this year I seem to have hit a productive streak over the last month - this is a little scissor keep I stitched for a lovely friend's birthday (follow this to Steph's beautiful blog)...
... and these are two designs I stitched up & made into Halloween cards...

I think I have finally brought you up to date with all my cross stitching now! I have a lot of sewing & knitting to share with you too, plus I still haven't gotten around to showing you inside my new sewing room! Next time, I promise :-) Until then thank you for visiting me here today, and an especially big thank you to those who take the time to leave me comments, oh and....
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! 













Monday, 28 October 2013

Feeling like Fall

Hello there!
Nature's colors are so spectacular at this time of year, rich reds and oranges, earthy coppers and browns, and greens in every imaginable shade. I just can't get enough of them! When we are blessed with a blue sky day and that gorgeous amber sunlight which marks autumn apart shines through everything I don't think there can be many more beautiful sights.This year I decided I wanted to try & capture some of this to enjoy indoors on those other grey, wet, & miserable days we get here in the north. I started off by making an autumnal wreath. I pulled the Easter decorations off the twiggy wreath base so I could reuse it, covered it with conkers, cinnamon sticks & ribbons, & some large brightly colored artificial flowers I found in a local shop...
Next I gathered some empty glass jars & tissue paper to try out an idea I saw on Pintrest. Using PVA glue I covered the jars with either orange or white tissue paper & left them to dry. The next day Hubbie resized some free Halloween faces I found here & printed them out for me, I cut them out & stuck them on the jars like so...
 I dropped a tealight inside each one & they make pretty effective lanterns when it's dark!
I picked out three seasonal cross stitch patterns to stitch up and finish as little pillows. The first one I found here, I added three little leaf charms to it once it was made up...
 The other two are designs from the Just Cross Stitch Halloween magazine for this year. To this one I added some black & purple beads around the edges...
 ... and to this one a little silver witches hat charm. Can you see the little pumpkin dangling from the hat? How cute! :-)
You might have noticed the Halloween amis have made an appearance too ;-) Hubbie & I have been collecting conkers, acorns, & beech nuts with their cases on our walks with the dog so now the top of the piano looks like this...


Along with the gorgeous little Halloween felties Lori sent me last year and the Halloween cushion I made last year it is really feeling like Fall in our house!
Thank you for visiting with me today, I hope to be back with another stitchy post in a few days...


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Mystery Sampler Stitchalong

Hello hello!
Just a quick post today to share my start on the Sunday Mystery Sampler stitchalong being run by Paulette at Plum Street Samplers. After rooting through my fabric stash I couldn't really find a suitable piece to stitch this on, everything was either too dark or too bright when I compared it to the listed threads. There was a nice sized piece of white belfast linen though, which got me thinking...maybe it was time to try dyeing some fabric with coffee or tea? I have been thinking about dyeing my own fabric for a while & I'm sure a few years ago there were tutorials aplenty to be found online for doing this, but when I went looking for them I came up pretty empty... It seems many of the folks who have cracked this technique are now selling their dyed fabric so aren't willing to share their methods... I turned to a lovely stitchy friend who makes all kinds of amazing things (follow this  to see some of the wonderful things Steph makes) for some advice, and amongst other things she reminded me to just go for it & have fun! So I did!
I boiled the kettle, dumped some instant coffee in the kitchen sink &, once the coffee had dissolved, added a scrap of damp evenweave. I used a teaspoon to move it around in the brew &, once it was dark enough, removed it & submerged it in some cold water & vinegar before rinsing it in cold water. I squeezed out as much excess water as I could & then used an old iron on a fluffy towel to dry it. I didn't measure the coffee or the water or the vinegar, but I did have fun! I decided to go for it with the white linen & did almost exactly the same thing to it except for adding one step. Before I fixed the color with the cold water & vinegar I threw in some used tea bags to the diluted coffee brew. Then after a few minutes I pulled the plug & smooshed the tea bags over the linen in a few places. It created a nice subtly mottled effect - I am definitely going to play with fabric dyes some more! I will keep you posted ;-)
So (of course) my lovely newly dyed fabric didn't photograph all that well, but here's a shot of it with the colors that will be used in the sampler. The white piece of paper is a pretty good match for the color the linen started off so you can see how much darker I made it.
I plan on photographing this each week as I add the new section so hopefully I will manage to get one at some point which captures the coloring in the fabric more accurately! This is week one's section of the sampler... 
I am not the world's fastest stitcher & this took me just over the hour to complete so if you fancy joining us in this stitchalong & haven't started yet it's not too late! It won't take you long to catch up (even if you decide you need to be awkward like me & dye your own fabric first ;-) )
Well I promised you this would be a quick post so that's it, I am off to put a few more stitches into the Rodeo Cowboys cushion - I hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are up to! :-)

Friday, 4 October 2013

It's October!!!

Hello hello!
I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, I wasn't well for a week or so & then Hubbie & I took a trip to London (which I will tell you all about once I get the photos off the camera) and all of a sudden it's October!! Although it has arrived rather quickly this year I LOVE October! The colors, the golden light when the sun does put in an appearance, that crispness in the morning air - love LoVe love! Plus the days like today when it is far too wet & miserable to even contemplate going out & you need no excuse to find a comfy corner & get some stitching out! :-)
Despite everything the past month I have managed to get quite a bit more done on my Rodeo Cowboys...
As you can see I'm on to the last one now; I'm still really enjoying stitching this & hope to have a finished cushion to show you soon!
I do have two small finishes I can share with you today, firstly a little something I couldn't resist stitching for the start of September...
I'm sure many folks can relate to this one! (Although to be honest it isn't really the case in our house as you would be hard put to tell who is the biggest American football fan between me & my hubbie!) The eagle eyed amongst you may be able to tell which team we support from the colors I switched in for the lettering at the bottom ;-) The hardest bit about this stitch was getting the aida straight in the wee flexi frame at the start! I have never used one of these before, so maybe there's a knack to it? I'm happy with the end result but it was a lot of faffing about...
For today's second small finish may I present Mr Owl!
I have a big weakness for owls &, as he is stitched on black fabric, he worked up in only a couple of evenings. I made him up into a wee pillow with the last decent sized piece of this gorgeous orange leaf print fabric I found on ebay last year. I would love to be able to track this down & buy more but sadly there were no details accompanying it which makes it pretty unlikely... The other thing which made him a pretty quick stitch is that he is not very big, here he is with my embroidery scissors & fob to give you some idea of the scale...
 Although I would like to get some more autumnal stitching completed before making a proper start on the Christmas stitching for this year there is one project I do plan on starting this week. Paulette at Plum Street Samplers is holding a mystery sampler stitch along! You may remember she designed the Coffin Buzz Pillow I stitched for my daughter earlier this year? Well this stitch a long is entitled Mary's Sampler and it's theme is the birth of Christ. Running from the nine weeks from Sept 29 Paulette will post one section of the sampler each week on her blog so that by the Sunday before Thanksgiving you will have a completed Christmas sampler! Part one is available for free download now, you can find full details of the stitch along here - it would be lovely if you joined the fun too! Well I'm off to do battle with the printer & pull threads & fabric to make a start right now :-) Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope your week brings lots of good things your way!