Sunday, 20 September 2015

Last of the summer crafting

Hello there!
Today I have some crafty pics to share with you because, although it has been rather quiet around here, I actually have been making things! I know I have not been very sociable, I have missed visiting your blogs & I am looking forward to catching up on what you have all been up to too, but this summer has been pretty challenging here so I have spent my available time crafting instead of being online.
So before the month changes again (!) here is Septembers' monthly small...

Stitched on a mushroomy colored 14ct aida with DMC colors, finished with fabric & ribbon from my stash and a cute little apple button that one of my lovely crafty friends sent me a while back! I do so love finding the perfect home for these sweet gifts! The free chart for this is available here.
On to another autumn themed small that has been on my "to stitch" pile for several years... 

This design is a freebie from DMC which you can find here. My version is stitched on 14 count rustic aida using three different DMC Color Variations threads to the ones listed. I tried a new-to-me way of finishing this, using the instructions for a flat ornament finish in a copy of Just Cross Stitch Magazine. (If you are interested in how to do this & don't have a copy handy you can find the instructions here along with a free halloween chart.) I used some pretty ribbon around the edges, it consists of three different strands of ribbon & beads loosely joined & twisted together & I fell for a few different spools of it in Lidl a little while back. I had no idea what I would use it for at the time but I think it goes perfectly with this! It is attached with pins - at first I just pinned it in place to see what it looked like, then I thought if I picked matching pins I could just leave them there!
I have one other stitching project to share with you today. My cousin got married last weekend so I can now show you the complete sampler I stitched for her & her new hubbie...
This design was in the July issue of Crossstitcher magazine and I haven't framed it for a couple of reasons. One, she has a much wider selection of frames available to her & I wanted her to pick the one she likes the best, and two, no matter how much bubble wrap I have used I have had problems with breakages in the mail in the past. To be honest after the postal service losing the last stitched gift I mailed to Canada I was just relieved to hear this one had reached it's destination!!
So on to yarny projects... Well despite it *allegedly* being summer I decided at the end of July that I needed some bedsocks to warm my feet up at night!! (Yes, it has been that cold & miserable here!) There are so many lovely & appealing sock patterns out there so where to begin for my first go at adult sized socks? Well as I love her crochet patterns so much I decided I couldn't go far wrong with a pattern by Stacey from Fresh Stitches & it just so happens she has a free beginners sock pattern right here. I added a few extra rows to give the legs a bit more length but otherwise followed the pattern exactly. I used some snuggly lilac aran weight yarn from my stash & they have been doing a great job of keeping my toes warm! You can see just how grey the light has been from the following pic, the socks are pale lilac & they are sitting on a green comforter!
They worked up really quickly which was just as well because I was meant to be concentrating on a crochet project! A while back Dear Daughter had requested a bath mat for her new student digs along the lines of the one I made back here for our house. With her move to this new place fast approaching it was time to get organised with picking yarn & sorting out the finer details. Luckily this coincided with the lovely folks at Wool Warehouse receiving a new batch of a limited edition cotton yarn at just 80p per ball! This pic is actually the aftermath, the leftovers along with the pile of ball bands, but (along with demonstrating what a yarn hungry pattern it is) it shows the colors she chose...
Now these rainbow colors are along the lines of what I would pick but the way she chose to use them was very different! Where I tend to be very random in my use of color she had A Plan! She took the red out & then sorted the remaining colors into groups, the blue with the yellow & mint green, the forest green with the orange & lilac. Once she explained what she wanted I got started. As before I used Lucy's hexagon pattern which you can find here, the only change I made to it was to keep the same color for rounds 1 & 2 like this...
This bathmat takes 51 of these little 3 round circles but it was surprising how quickly they multiplied! Soon we had enough to play with a layout & this is what my daughter came up with...
Sorry this pic is so dark, ugh! Here is a close up that I snapped on a sunnier day just before she packed everything up to move!
She loves the end result, a very bright but way more organised & orderly bathmat than I had envisioned when we ordered the colors!
Just before I go I want to share some stitchy goodies with you. Earlier in the summer I won a giveaway for a gift voucher for Sew & So from Mii at Mii Stitch (if you aren't already familiar with her blog go check out her fabulous stitching!!!). I also received a gift voucher for the same site from dear Hubbie for my birthday and I have had a lot of fun drooling over  exploring the site trying to decide what new goodies I might buy. In the end this is what I picked...
Two fat quarters of evenweave, two variegated & one neon DMC threads, an assortment of cute little buttons, and a new Lizzie Kate chart! Here's a close up of the buttons...
Aren't they adorable?!!! I used three of them within a couple of hours of receiving my order! Here's a close up of the chart...
I'm not too sure when I will get the chance to start it, most likely next year, but I know I will really enjoy stitching it! So big thank yous to Mii & to Hubbie for my gift vouchers! :-)
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you will come back soon to see what else I have been up to! Have a great week :-)


















Saturday, 12 September 2015

Traveling to some blue skies!

Hello there!
Our weather has been so grey, wet, & miserable these summer months that I have been looking back through some of the many photos from our travels last Fall. Today I thought I would share some of them with you so that if you have also been enduring these grey conditions you can enjoy some blue skies with me!
The last three weeks of our vacation were spent with my brother & his family in western Colorado. This is an area I truly love & split between family times, sight seeing & a little crafty shopping the days just flew by! By the first week of November we were beginning to see our remaining time dwindling & one place we were determined to still visit was Arches National Park. It is located just north of the town of Moab in eastern Utah, about 3 hours drive across the state line from where my brother lives. Now my previous impressions of eastern Utah could be pretty much summed up by these two photos...

Not much to see here but desert right? Wrong!! This day would completely change my mind about eastern Utah. About 25 miles south of the interstate the highway dipped into some very different scenery... 
The snow-capped La Sal mountains came into view and the desert began to sport amazing rock formations.... 
For those of you who have yet to visit Arches National Park is 76,679 acres of unique rock formations including over 2000 natural stone arches (the biggest amount in any one place in the world). The National Park Service advertise it as a "red rock wonderland" and they're not wrong!
There are many viewpoints & parking places along the road to stop, get out, & explore but even on a warm sunny day you can feel the chill when you head into the shadows cast by the towering stone walls...
After a little while you start seeing faces & animals in the rock shapes, do you see a buffalo in this balanced rock?
Some of the formations have names like the "Three Gossips" below...
But no matter what you call it it is spectacular....
...across an immense scale...
This is part of The Great Wall rock formation which runs parallel to the road for quite a ways...
On the other side of the road the desert stretches out to more formations in the distance...
Some of them are world famous like Balanced Rock...
Once you get closer you begin to appreciate the scale, the top portion is the size of three school buses!
Probably the most famous though is Delicate Arch...
It's the one you see on the State signs & on lots of tourist info for Utah.
We headed on up the road to the Fiery Furnace area. This is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons that you can hike through on a Ranger guided tour (it's easy to become lost & gps doesn't work in the deep canyons). Hopefully we will be able to do that on our next visit as we were a bit pushed for time this time round. But we were still able to enjoy the area from  viewpoint & also from the road...

We were torn between staying here for sunset (the dying light on the rock here is what gives it it's name) and squeezing in a little bit more of the park. In the end we decided to go for a quick peek at the Windows Section. We passed the Cove of Caves & Double Arch area...
.... Another area we want to explore some more in the future!
This time round we wanted to get up close and look through the South Window...
This is the view on the other side of the window...
...and this is where I was standing...
...do you see the tiny white moon to the left of me? This is the view above my head...
It was just incredible!!! 
As the sun went down the sandstone began to "catch fire" & the colors became even richer. It was difficult to capture on the camera (plus you wanted to put the camera down & just drink it in!) but here's a pic of the North & South Windows as the shadows lengthened (the South one is on the right hand side)...
Behind us at this point was the Turret Arch through which the sun continued to set...
The desert moon rose & began to glow...
It really was a beautiful night...
As the light faded we drove out past Balanced Rock...
We were part of a long procession of headlights winding down the road out of the park & back to the highway. It had been a truly magical day & definitely whetted our appetites to go back another time & explore more of the park (there was a big section at the northern end which we never got to at all). I hope you enjoyed a little trip through it with me! I'm hoping to be back soon with a crafty post, thank you for visiting me here today, have a wonderful weekend!