Monday, 21 May 2018


We've just had an International Hermit & Stitch Weekend where I didn't actually have to work but there was still a lot going on so I didn't quite manage to reach my goal of completing the turtle's head.

Here's where I was on Tuesday for GG:

Progress by end of Friday:

Current Progress:

The full piece so far, with one of my little elephant thread holders.  These were a cover gift from Cross Stitcher so I've been using them for the main colours.

The other project I've been working on is Mrs Peggotty's Alice and the Flamingo.  Here's where I was last IHSW:

And here's where I am now:

stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

The colours are much better in this photo.  I've added both arms and a large amount of flamingo!  The brown/tan in the centre is her hair around her hairbow.  There are lots of colours in the current two pages I am working on.  Which makes a nice change after all the pink!

Finally, the next IHSW will be 15th - 17th June so make sure you note the date in your diary or come and join us in the Facebook Group - IHSW on Facebook.  If you don't do Facebook then you can check in on Joysze's Blog - Random Ramblings.  If she does a post, she doesn't always do one!

Friday, 18 May 2018

Time to H & S this W

Code for International Hermit & Stitch Weekend!  The third full weekend of each month is dedicated to stitching as much as you can.

Luckily I do not have to work this weekend so I'm in for all three days, the weekend starts on Friday!  I started by stitching with two friends and managed a finish.  A Just Nan, of course.  Charm Garden was started back at the end of March and was my 30-a-Day project throughout April.  It's a little bigger than some of the ornies and I didn't finish it when I started Maynia.

Stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

Each of those diamond shapes is supposed to have a different charm in them but I will be sourcing some flower charms as it's almost impossible to get the "official" JN charms now.

When I got home I typed up the Blogger of the Week post and then picked up the Discworld Mappe.

stitched on 32 count Murano custom dyed by Sparklies

My goal for this weekend is to finish the head and then work along the top of the chart.  This is a reminder of the size of the project:

The numbered pages are the ones I have stitched.  Bearing in mind that I am not stitching the blue, the next page along the top should be a quick one then I have two very densely covered pages.  The banner the hippos are holding is just two or three colours but there is all the backstitched lettering!

My plan for next year is to dedicate two weeks every month for this design.

I've been continuing with the Just Nan-a-thon with a new small start each day.  Here are the latest six:

13/05/18 Jasmine Mix
14/05/18 Mitten Men
15/05/18 Owl Winder
16/05/18 Pansy Basket
17/05/18 Peacock Tapestry
18/05/18 Porcelain Nosegay

Quite a variety of fabric colours there.  None of which are really accurate!  Another 13 smalls to go.

Finally, I am planning my Longest Day Marathon again this year.  I am not sure which day it will be.  21st June is a Thursday this year so I have my Toddler Group in the morning and an afternoon tea for a friend's Birthday.  So it will either be Wednesday 20th or Friday 22nd.  Or both, depending on how many WIPs I have by then!   To read more about the Longest Day, check out last year's post:

Blogger of the Week

New post is now up:

If you would like to recommend someone to be our Blogger of the Week, please send me an email with a link to their blog.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness May Link-Up Post with Added TUSAL

Welcome to the May Gifted Gorgeousness link-up.  The link-up date will continue to be the 15th and I will keep the link-up open until the end of each month so you have plenty of time if you are late posting.

The format remains exactly the same, there is a list of rules on the main sign-up page if you want to check what is required but basically anything connected to the word "gift" is allowed, whether it was a gift TO you or is a gift FROM you.

In the past month I have stitched a few gifted pieces:-

Just Nan's 12 Days of Christmas - Chart was a Christmas present

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

Just Nan's Diamond Bouquet - chart was a gift

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

Chatelaine's Gardens of London - a Birthday gift

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten


And seen here posing with this month's TUSAL:

Aerial view:

Close-up of the head:

stitched on 32 count evenweave custom-dyed by Sparklies

This is, of course, Lyndisfarne Design's Discworld Mappe - a gift for my son.  I have managed four short days on this, barely an hour a day because of work and other committments.  Hoping to get plenty done for IHSW this weekend.  I'd really like to finish that massive head!

Now it is your turn to show us your Gifted Gorgeousness for the month. Please use your name or your blog name in the field and NOT the words "May Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month. And link to the actual post, not just your blog. It is easier if you copy and paste the link, rather than typing freehand.

Please could you remember to link up as well as make your post.  There have been a few people making GG posts but not linking.  Which means they don't get entered into the draw.  If you have technical or memory issues, just leave a comment and let me know!



Finally, as mentioned above, it is IHSW this weekend.  International Hermit & Stitch Weekend, where you get to kick the family out of the house and spend the entire weekend stitching to your heart's content.  Or just try squeeze in ten minutes stitching time for yourself.  Sign up on Joysze's Blog or the Facebook Group via the links below:

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Stitch Maynia Just Nan-a-thon

Multi-start challenges are nothing new to the stitching world; there was the Crazy January Challenge, then the Ultimate Crazy January Challenge, the Year of Starts and March Madness.  I took part in the DUCJC in 2015 in honour of SoCal Debbie and also March Madness for Theme-a-licious and Theme-tas-Stitch but this is my first Maynia.  Founded in 2015, only a few months after the DUCJC, some people just could not get enough of the multi-starts!

The challenge has evolved over the years.  Some people are doing the original 15 starts, some 18 starts (for 2018) and some are doing multi-WIPs.  There are even some people turning it on it's head and doing Monogamous May.  Whatever you choose, it's all good fun.

I have decided to follow on from March Madness in 2017 and do one small Just Nan start per day.  Just one length of thread, photograph it, post on FB and move on to my main piece for the day.

Here are the first 12 starts:

Just in case you can't identify them, here's the list:

01/05/18 Butterfly Lace
02/05/18 Butterfly Needlebook
03/05/18 Butterfly Needlebook 2
04/05/18 Spring Fantasy
05/05/18 Butterfly Welcome
06/05/18 Christmas Friends
07/05/18 Christmas Memories Ornament
08/05/18 Crystal Heart
09/05/18 Garden Maze
10/05/18 Holly Berry Snowflakes Icy
11/05/18 Holly Berry Snowflakes Chilly
12/05/18 Holly Noel

At the end of May each project will live in a folder with the ones left over from last March.  I will then work my way through them in order, hopefully finishing one every 3-4 weeks.

Here are the other pieces I have been working on this week.  First up is Just Nan's 12 Days of Christmas
stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

Here is the whole piece so far:

Next up was Just Nan's Diamond Bouquet:

stitched on 28 count Lilac evenweave

I didn't get much done as I was working in the afternoon but I managed most of the bottom row.  Next month I will finish that row and add the beads.  I want it completed before The Longest Day SAL.  News of which will follow in due course.

Finally, a piece which isn't a Just Nan!  This is my bathtime project, the one I stitch while the Small Boy is in the bath.  This is Alice and the Flamingo by Mrs Peggotty's on Etsy:

stitched over 1 on 25 count evenweave

I am about 30 stitches off completing the second page on the second column which will make 9 pages in total plus a good part of a tenth page (the sleeve and flamingo neck going upwards.)  To be on target to finish this year, I need to complete 2 pages per month.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Zodiac SAL - Taurus

Welcome to the  Zodiac SAL.  I will be posting on the first Saturday of each month with information about that month's sign and a linky for anyone who wants to join in.  The linky will stay open until the end of the month.

Last month we had three people link up with me, please do visit them now if you missed their posts before:

Taurus, the Bull, is an Earth sign ruled by Venus and covers those born between 20th April and 21st May.

The Bull represents a strong-willed character with great perseverance and determination.  In India Taurus is known by its Sanskrit name Vṛṣabha, which is occasionally given as a name for Shiva and his vehicle Nandi as well as the first of twenty-four Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhanatha.  In Egypt, Taurus was seen as the cow goddess Hathor.  Hathor was the goddess of beauty, love, and happiness, and she represented all of the riches seen in cattle as the providers of nourishment.  Roman astrologers considered Taurus ruled by Venus, the goddess of beauty, and Earth, the goddess of the earth and nature.

Taurus People: What They’re LikeTaurus people can be grounding, bringing a sense of ease and contentment.  Unless, that is, they’re worked up about something.  Then steam pours out of their ears.  You’ll see them pacing, muttering the same thing over and over, clenching their fists and looking like Bulls ready to charge!  But when they’re content and in the groove, there’s no happier sign than Taurus.  Lovers of the arts, you can find them composing photos, blissing out to music, losing themselves on the dance floor or preparing a feast fit for royalty.  This affectionate, comfort-loving sign can indulge in hours of deep lounging or sensual boudoir play.  As earth signs, they may love to go on walks, bike rides and hikes. Disclaimer: other Bulls think “communing with nature” means gazing at the French Riviera from the Hotel du Cap veranda, chilled rose in hand.  Never go cheap on a Taurus, because these epicureans love the finer things.  That said, they can be very down-to-earth and work hard to pay for their indulgences. (You might need to light a fire under their asses to get them going.  Once in motion though, there’s no stopping this charging Bull!)  Sure they can be materialistic, but really they just want tasteful creature comforts that last the test of time.  And, if you’re lucky enough, they’ll share the finer things in life with you, too.

Source: Astrostyle - Taurus

Famous & Celebrity Taurus People:
Adele, Al Pacino, David Beckham, Stevie Wonder, Donatella Versace, Cher, Robert Pattinson, Chris Brown, Channing Tatum, The Rock, Gigi Hadid, Queen Elizabeth II, Sam Smith, Megan Fox, Meek Mill, George Clooney, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Christian Lacroix, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Valentino Garavani, William Shakespeare, Harper Lee, James Monroe, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant, Harry S. Truman

This is a wonderful design from Bothy Threads showing some of Shakespeare's best loved plays:

I also added some lines from "The Scottish Play" to the edge of this design by Oberlin Samplers:

The Witches by Oberlin Samplers

For the stitching part of the SAL I have chosen a series of designs from the Donna Kooler book 365 Tiny Cross Stitch Designs. I am stitching them all on one piece of 32 count Millenium Blue fabric. Here is Taurus:

Here is the whole piece so far:

Now I have Taurus in place I can see that Aries was stitched in exactly the right place!

I am also stitching the Satsuma Street Zodiac and this month I picked up Libra which is my current WIP:

stitched on 28 count black evenweave

I have got quite a lot done.  I stitched all the right hand bird and it's cup as well as finishing off the base of the scales.  There is a rose vine wrapped around the scales so that will be the next part.  After I fill in his beak!  And the missing area which is a colour I need to order.

My brother is a Taurus but I have never stitched anything for him.  Sorry!  However my husband's niece is also a Taurus and I made these sugar skull designs for her when she got married:

Senor and Senorita Sugar Skull by Brooke's Books

This is the place for you to link up if you want to join in, please link to the actual blog post, not your blog homepage and include your name so we can see who has joined in.



Finally, there's a new blogger in town.  I have persuaded and enabled my friend Sarah to start a blog!  You can find her here - The Hermit Crafter
I have to be nice to her, she knows me in real life and could tell you all my secrets.  So please visit her and say nice things to her!

Monday, 30 April 2018

April Pie and Stitch from Stash

For my final post of the month I thought I'd do a look at my focus piece for April - Gardens of London by Chatelaine Designs.  I started this one February 2017 and plan to make it my focus piece for five months this year.  In an attempt to see some real progress on it!

I stitched a lot in February 2018 and here is how it looked at the end of that month:

And here is where we are now:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast from Crafty Kitten

And some close-ups:

Top Left Garden

I am using a mixture of the recommended silks and some substitutions.  Some are the plain DMC recommended on the chart and others are variegated from Jodyri Threads.  Sometimes I am blending two DMC shades to make a subtle effect too.

The gaps in the centre part are all for beads.  The gaps in the border of the small garden are mostly speciality stitches and some beads.  I plan to stitch all the xxx first and then the speciality and metallics.  The beads I will leave until the end.  Because I haven't bought them yet!

And now the part you have all been waiting for - Pie!

I managed nearly half a month on Gardens of London which is about average for this year.

Now on to to Stitch from Stash:

Cross Stitcher sub £8.72
JCS sub £22.94
Beads £8.00
Total £39.66

The RoEx has worked in my favour because my Just Cross Stitch subscription has gone down in price this year.  I think Cross Stitcher have made an error because their subscription was due in May not April.  I have emailed them.

The beads were a real bargain.  A local crafter had a table at our Friday Coffee Morning and was selling various scrapbooking items and multipacks of beads.

These are not Mill Hill, maybe a little bit bigger than standard Mill Hills but great for making hangers for ornies or trimming them.  And at £3 for a packet of four, that's a bargain!

Finally, here's the progress on my Temperature SAL by Hetti:

You can see the warmer days we had at the beginning of the month on the right hand side, some nice yellow there.  In the bottom left you can see the mini heatwave too.  That bright orange is 26 degrees Celsius or 79 F, phew what a scorcher!   Now down to a chilly 7 C or 45 F to finish the month.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

April WIPocalypse Oldest WIP

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.  For me, this will be my "18 in '18".  Many of them are part of SALs so I will be working on them each month.

This month I have stitched on 8 of the 18 projects!

1. Bande des Dragons by Dessins DHC:

stitched on 14 count aida from Hell

2. Enchanted Alphabet by Lavender & Lace:

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily by Sparklies

3. Gardens of London by Chatelaine:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten

4. Zodiac by Donna Kooler:

stitched on 32 count Millenium Blue linen

5. Happy Hallowe'en Night by Jardin Prive:

stitched on 32 count Cognac linen

6. 12 Days of Christmas by Just Nan:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

7. Alice and Flamingo by Mrs Peggotty:

stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

8. Diamond Bouquet by Just Nan:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

Measi always sets us a discussion topic:

April - Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO

When I read the topics at the start of the year I knew which piece I had to include in April's stitching, one of the oldest WIPs I have.  I have 11 projects which could come under the heading UFO.  All started prior to 2015 and only worked on recently during my Longest Day SAL for 20 minutes.  I have decided to pick one a year to focus on and actually finish them.

This year's choice was Bande des Dragons by Dessins DHC, here is the cover photo that I fell in love with back in 2001:

An alphabet and dragons, what's not to love?  Answer - the fabric.  I bought some 14 count aida and some variegated Anchor threads, a gorgeous dark red (1206) at 50p a skein from my LNS.  Price has doubled in the last 17 years.

The aida is awful; hard, scratchy and coated with something weird.  I struggled on, getting a friction burn on my wrist and complaining all the time.  Last time I moaned about the piece Christine had the brilliant idea of finishing the part of the border I was doing and calling that a finish.  Which is what I have done.

So this is it:

The plan is to cut off the top border, find a round wooden box with a circumference of 14 inches and make it into a useful box with a dragon border.  The letters I will cut out individually and make cards.

Then I can start again on some gorgeous fabric and not feel guilty for abandoning this quarter-finished.

Finally, busy preparing for Maynia and the Just Nan-athon!