Tuesday, 18 June 2019

DUCJC 2016 Has Now Been Completely Completed!

Hello again!

Do you fancy a trip down memory lane? Or, if you are new to me, a look back at what I was stitching in 2016?

I didn't mention it when I posted my FFO of Sorciere in the FFG SAL, but her being fully-finished off marked a rather exciting moment for me - it meant that DUCJC 2016 has now been completely completed (just like the title says!)

For those of you who may not know about this Challenge, it was conceived by SoCal Debbie as 15 new starts during the first 15 days of January. When Debbie passed away, her idea was carried on as Debbie's January Challenge (DJC) then lengthened to include all of January as Debbie's Ultimate Crazy January Challenge (DUCJC) and then stretched even further to include February as Debbie's Super Duper Ultimate Crazy January and February Challenge (DSDUCJFC). Needless to say, some stitchers carried on into March and April and the maddest ones even further, some up to the end of the year!! I participated in DSDUCJFC in 2015 and DUCJC in 2016.

Since then so many other multi-start (and other) challenges have appeared on Facebook etc. that Debbie's Challenge has seemingly fizzled out and almost been forgotten about. I may not have taken part since 2016 but (with the exception of this year) I have been gradually and steadily working my way through the unfinished pieces. Out of a total of 90 starts for the combined years I have *only* 24 WIPs remaining.

Anyway, back to the January 2016 Challenge and the point of this post...

Out of the 31 new projects I started in January 2016 I actually finished 26 during that year, a further two in 2017 and the remaining three in 2018. However, I have only just deemed this challenge as being completely completed now that the last piece has disappeared from my Box Of Shame.

So let's rewind the clock, take a trip down memory lane and see all 31 projects I stitched for the 2016 Challenge and how they have been fully-finished off:

Toby Fox, Ollie Owl, Bert Badger, Frankie Hedgehog, Molly Mouse and Sally Squirrel
from Woodland Folk by DMC


Contentious and Cantankerous
from Cattitudes by Margaret Sherry


Let's Eat Dessert by Ursula Michael


Playful Puss numbers 3 and 4 (the bottom two) by Lucie Heaton


Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Seasonal Alphabets by Lizzie Kate


Save Water, Ride A Bike, Keep Our Air Clean, Plant A Tree, Be Kind To Animals and Eat Locally
Green Flip-Its by Lizzie Kate



Penguin, Red-Hatted Snowman, Black-Hatted Snowman, Santa, Polar Bear and Bear
Christmas Pals Ornaments by Dimensions



Sleepy Book and Balloon
from the Odd Dog collection by Lili Of The Valley


Blueberry from Popcorn and Friends by Dimensions


French Country Witch (aka Sorciere) by JBW Designs


And there you have it. All 31 pieces stitched and all 31 pieces FFOd!! The door is now fully closed on this challenge!!

And, because I talk too much, here are a few highlight/lowlights:

- the Woodland Folk pieces all required a lot of intricate backstitching which often split the stitches. I found it virtually impossible to accurately follow so I improvised. Quite a lot. To be honest, you wouldn't know.

- Let's Eat Dessert definitely saw the most frogging. It was my first 'word' chart and took a bit of getting used to. But once I was in the swing of stitching the frogs were banished.

- the Christmas Pals Ornaments were the most satisfying to fully-finish; they were some of the first ornies I made and definitely set the precedence for my preferred finishing technique.

- Sleepy Book has to be my favourite piece. It's tiny and just so darn cute! Blueberry comes a very close second though.

- the JBW Witch was probably the most fun to stitch as there were tiny motifs within the design which aren't immediately noticeable. It was the second of the 31 projects to be fully stitched but the very last piece to be fully-finished off.

As for the remaining 24 WIPS from DSDUCJFC 2015, I aim to have them all stitched and fully-finished off by the end of 2023 (yes, I have made plans that far ahead!) Therefore one day sometime around 2023/2024 there will be another happy post like this.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 15 June 2019

A Monarch A Month - Richard I

Hello all!

Over the course of the next four years I will be stitching Bothy Thread's Kings and Queens at the slow pace of one monarch per month.

We're already up to monarch number 6, Richard I, and here he is as the crusader he is remembered as being:

 Richard I from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 9th June 2019
Finished - 12th June 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 35 minutes


History lesson time!

RICHARD I
Preceded by Henry II (father)
Succeeded by John (brother)
Lived 1157 - 1199
Reigned 1189 - 1199
Married Berengaria of Navarre
Fathered 1 illegitimate son

Richard became King following the death of his father. But he cared little for England or the crown, spending only 6 months of his reign in the country.

Richard was first and foremost a military man, venturing into numerous campaigns including many against family members, especially his father and brothers.

His most famous campaign was the Third Crusade, embarked on soon after becoming King, with the aim of ousting the Muslim, Saladin, from Jerusalem and returning the city to Christianity.

Some sources say this is when he became known as Richard the Lionheart; other sources say it had been his nickname for some years.

During this Third Crusade, Richard successfully occupied Sicily (releasing his Dowager Queen sister from imprisonment) conquered Cyprus, married Berengaria of Navarre (possibly as a strategic manoeuvre since Navarre bordered his family's beloved Aquitaine) but was unable to free Jerusalem from Saladin's rule.

After lengthy battles a truce was agreed, after which Richard set off for England. However, he was captured en route, imprisoned and held for ransom. The ransom was paid, Richard was freed but he never did reach England.

Richard died from a crossbow bolt wound whilst still in FranceHe was buried with his father in Fontevraud Abbey, although his (recently-discovered embalmed) heart was buried in Rouen.

He was succeeded by his last surviving brother John who, disgruntled at having not been left as regent during Richard's extended absence, was plotting to overthrow him anyway!


Richard left one long-lasting legacy; he was the first monarch to use the 'Three Lions' to represent England, a design still used to this day.


So there you have it, not the most nationalistic monarch England has ever had but still an interesting historical figure in his own right.

And because I'm six months into this project, I thought I'd show you my progress to date. I still have beads to add to shields, spurs and the letter i's but they won't be added until the very end. It's also a terribly difficult fabric to photograph correctly; it's a very pale grey background with hints of grey marbelling.


Stitching time to date - 32 hours


As a side note, there are still 4 more days left to link up to the FFG SAL if there are any more of you who have an FFO or more to show!

Take care,
Rachel x


Monday, 10 June 2019

Link-up for Fully Finished Gallery SAL - June 2019

Hello all!

It's the 10th of the month so time for another Fully Finished Gallery SAL. Is it me or are the months just flying past this year?! So let's see what you've been working hard to fully-finish off this last month.



The aim of this SAL is to encourage all cross stitchers to fully-finish at least some of their completed cross stitch projects and proudly show them off via this gallery. These might be projects which have been gathering dust for weeks/months/years and/or projects which have recently been completed; it doesn't matter.

Whether you are a regular fully-finisher, an ad-hoc fully-finisher or a reluctant fully-finisher, you are all welcome. There is no need to sign up and no commitment required, just pop in when you have one or more fully-finished cross stitch projects to show.

If you are unsure of anything, the FFG SAL 2019 page at the top of my blog may help, or just ask.


Over the last month I fully-finished three projects; two monthly smalls and one from my Box Of Shame:

1) Kookaburra from FuzzyFoxDesigns on etsy was my May Smalls SAL piece and finished in my preferred style with rather bright blue backing fabric (since I don't have any neutral-colours in my stash) and brown barley twist cord. My flock of lovely Aussie birds is getting bigger!




2) June in Alexandrite was stitched for my Year of Birthstones and finished off as another cardboard-backed hanging ornie. I wasn't originally taken with this way of finishing but, six months in, it's finally growing on me, although once this series is over I don't think I'll use it again. Been there, done that.




3) Sorciere by JBW Designs has been sitting in my Box Of Shame since February 2016, waiting for me to stitch something else so I could finish her as a double sided ornament. But since that hasn't happened, and probably won't in the near future, out of the Box she came. I originally wanted some spiderweb black lace for the trim but once I'd seen these cute mini pom-poms I changed my mind. I know they're not very Halloween-y but I love how they frame her. They took ages to attach though (about 3 hours) so if ever I use them again I'll have to refine my method.





Now it's over to you to show what you've been finishing this month.

Please link-up using the URL of your FFG SAL post and not the home page of your blog, adding a thumbnail of a finish and either your name or your blog name as the caption. The link-up will remain open for 10 days, closing at 6am UK time on 20th June.



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And please don't forget to follow other links and see what fellow fully-finishers have been up to; you never know, other projects may give you an idea for your next finish!

Once the link-up has closed I shall update the FFG SAL 2019 page with the number of entrants and entries.


Inspiration has been a bit lacking so I'm afraid there is no new Featured Finishing Idea this month. However, I do have an epilogue to these little frames from last month:


By complete coincidence I was informed that they are in the latest Cross Stitcher magazine. I haven't bought or seen a copy but have been told there were some cute summer projects that would fit. I might have to check them out!

Also, through chatting with some of you, further ideas emerged of either covering them in metallic paint and/or adding glitter to make perfect frames for Christmas ornies, especially if those ornies contained metallic or sparkly threads. That might be a bit more appealing than trying to work around the patterns supplied.

That's it for this month then. Next month's link will go live at 6am UK time on 10th July; hope to see you there!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

June in Alexandrite - started and finished!

Hi all!

At the beginning of each month I will be stitching a little calendar piece, by Palkolp, in that month's birthstone colour. This idea was inspired by Jo's People's Choice SAL Birthstone posting and from her link to a website about birthstones.

June's birthstone can be pearl, or moonstone, or alexandrite:

By her who in June was born
No gem save pearls shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity

Ermm, that's the third time this poem has been used in six months! Wonder how long before it pops up again?!

Visit here if you would like to read little interesting snippets of information about pearls, moonstones and alexandrites.


For June I chose not to go with pearl or moonstone as they were a little bland, but with alexandrite whose colour is usually depicted as lilac:

June by Palkolap
Stitched on 16ct Azalea over-dyed aida by sewitall.com 2 over 1
Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched with Anchor variegated 1209 and Mill Hill frosted seed beads 62047
Started - 1st June 2019
Finished - 4th June 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 25 minutes


I moved some of the swirls a little, so the design is not quite as charted, and added the border in coordinating beads.

As usual, I plan to have this FFOd in time for the FFG SAL on the 10th. I hope lots of you are taking advantage of the longer daylight hours to delve into your UFO pile and embark on some fully-finishing?

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 1 June 2019

People's Choice SAL - Mermaids

Hello all!

It's the first Saturday of the month so time for the People's Choice SAL run by Jo from Serendipitous Stitching. Continued thanks to Jo for hosting this unique SAL which has a different theme each month.



This month's theme is mermaids.

This theme was easy-peasy for me!

Here are the mermaid or mermaid-related charts I have stitched, am stitching or are waiting to be stitched:


No, that's not a photo error; the total amount of mermaid charts I have is zero! It's not intentional, just a theme which has never made it into my stash. But I'm not going to let that little inconvenience stop me from joining in with this SAL!

I'm guessing other participants will show some of the beautiful and numerous Mirabilia, Nora Corbett and Pasione Ricamo mermaid charts available, so when I went internet browsing for things to show I deliberately stayed away from those. Out of the huge variety a google search returned (most of which were Disney's Ariel) here are some to whet your taste buds (or needles).


This chart of Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is by Eva Rosenstand. Not many 'real' things tend to be stitched, so I thought this would make a change.

Image result for cross stitch mermaid copenhagen


Soda Stitch have charted many fairy tale stories in their unique style (I counted 18) including this one of The Little Mermaid. I doubt I'd ever stitch them (they'd probably make it onto my to stitch list around 2035 at the earliest!) but I do find myself being somewhat drawn to them.

Image result for cross stitch soda stitch mermaid


Staying with Hans Christian Andersen, I managed to track down this version of The Little Mermaid I remembered seeing years back. I still very much like it, especially the traditional rather than Disney-fied illustrations. There are six Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales in the set, the other being Thumbelina, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling, and The Princess and the Pea. They've long been discontinued but if I ever came across one I would definitely add it to my stash. I'd have to change the writing though - unless it's just me that finds the font difficult to read?

Image result for cross stitch kit dmc K5517


Finally my travels took me to HAED where this piece, Nouveau Mermaids by Selena Fenech, stood out. At first I thought the mermaids represented the four seasons but they are apparently Air, Earth, Fire and Water. I especially love the colours of Fire's hair.



So there we go, nothing stitched, or even in the pipeline, but plenty of variety to show. I shall now enjoy following the links to see which mermaids other participants have actually stitched!

Next month's theme is finishing; that should be very interesting!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday, 31 May 2019

Smalls SAL - May 2019

Hello all!

It's the last Friday of the month so time for the Smalls SAL. Thank you, Mary, for continuing to run this fun little SAL. Pop over to Mary's blog to see what other participants have been stitching in the way of Smalls this month.



Each month I stitch a small project specifically for this SAL which doesn't appear elsewhere on my blog. For May, this was another little Australian Bird from a series out of which I have already stitched three but still have many, many more to go. Here's the latest one: 

Kookaburra by FuzzyFoxDesigns (etsy)
Stitch Count 43 wide by 35 high
Stitched on 16ct Sand Dune over-dyed aida from Sewitall.com 2 over 1
Started - 3rd May 2019
Finished - 7th May 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 25 minutes


I love stitching the birds in this series. They're basically all the same shape but that's so easy to overlook when they've all got such different colourings. Here's the link to FuzzyFoxDesigns' Little Birds in case you feel tempted!


For this Smalls SAL I'm also re-showing other qualifying projects I've stitched during the month.

My birthstone of the month, May in Emerald:



And my monarch of the month, Henry II:



In June I'll be stitching another colourful little Australian bird from this collection. See you then!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 70 hours

Good afternoon all!

So here's Hogwarts again. For this session I wanted to concentrate on the left hand side, stitching more sky and hoping to get down to the castle itself. I just about made it, although did leave cheeky gaps in order to do so!

I also added a bit more backstitching and am especially pleased with the moon. As coincidence would have it, I'm listening to the audio of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the moment (I don't think I've previously mentioned that I usually listen to the Harry Potter audio books when I stitch on this) and have just reached the chapter where Snape covers for one of Lupin's Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, taking advantage of the opportunity to teach the students about werewolves. How's that for perfect timing!

Last time:


And this time:


And the full piece:



The bottom of the stitching just about marks the halfway point down the chart although, of course, not the half way point of the actual stitching. I'm now really looking forward to making progress on the castle itself. There's an awful lot of backstitching coming up, so watching the splodges of blues and browns turn into turrets, roofs, windows and walls will be immensely satisfying. I can't wait!

Take care,
Rachel x