Saturday 26 September 2015

Stitch From Stash - September 2015

Good morrow gentle-folk!

It's coming towards the end of yet another month so time for another SFS report. Here are my September figures then:

SEPTEMBER BUDGET - $25 = £16.29 (at 01/09/2015 exchange rate)
EARNED - $28.00 = £18.25
SPENT - £52.44

* £4.99 on Christmas cross stitch magazine (although I'm tempted not to count this as I haven't actually seen the magazine since my mum "borrowed" it the day I bought it!)
* £36.25 on fabric (mostly for some 2016 Crazy January Challenge starts)
* £11.20 on threads for two new starts (which you will find out about in October)

I also bought frames for Polar Bears, My Treasure and Playful Puss 1 and 2 but this spending is exempt from the SFS budget.

Challenge projects worked on: (post to follow on 1st October)
* a tatty friend
* winter owl
* spotted owls

Other projects worked on: (post to follow once I have completed a 10 hour stint)
* OMG Tigger Is Out

Projects completed: $4, $4, $12 and $8 respectively
NB I forgot to count the August stamp last month so am counting it now.

Lizzie Kate August flip-it stamp  Lizzie Kate September flip-it stamp

Ravenclaw                            Polar Bears

Yes, I splurged a little this month but apart from a few threads I've got everything I need for my 2016 Crazy January Challenge starts. Which means I'm more or less free to buy whatever I wish with my October, November and December budgets. Q: Now, what do I really need? A: Nothing really! How boring!!

Happy stitching!
Rachel x

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Box of Shame Finishes - My Treasure and Playful Puss 1 and 2

Hello all!

Thank you for all of your lovely comments regarding my finishing and framing of Polar Bears. It's nice to know I've done a good job! Now, how about these.....

I have a confession to make - whilst I was visiting the website the other day to purchase a frame for Polar Bears, I just happened to design two more frames which "accidentally slipped" into my basket. Well, it wasn't worth just ordering one frame was it?

First up was My Treasure, a free chart from Dragon Dreams Inc which was my 27th February Challenge piece. Although only small (3.75" x 3.75") I wanted him out and framed, not scrap-stitched. I had green mounts and a gold frame in mind and found exactly what I was looking for. So my dragon now looks like this:

The frame is 15mm Gold Foil with mounts of Damascus Green (top) and Mid-Green (bottom).

Second up were the first two Playful Puss designs by Lucie Heaton, stitched as the 12th and 30th January Challenge pieces. I knew these were going to be more difficult to frame as I wanted fun mounts to match the fun designs. I dabbled with green, lilac, pink and yellow mounts until satisfied with this combination. As long as you like pink I think this really works:

The frame is 13mm Dark Grey Stain with mounts of Pink and Bright Green.

The other two spaces will remain empty as a reminder that I need to stitch numbers 3 and 4 in the set. Soon.

That's it for framing. Only 18 more pieces in my Box of Shame (at the moment) to frame, scrap-stitch or make into ornaments!

Talking of my "Box of Shame" Tina is adamant that it should be renamed and I sort of agree. I need a phrase that reflects I am shameful I have not "finished" the finishes but also proud that I loving stitched each piece. I've thought of the obvious "Treasure Chest" or "Treasure Trove" but they're not quite right. Any other suggestions would be gratefully received.

Happy stitching everyone!
Rachel x

Saturday 19 September 2015

Challenge Finish 15

Good morning again!

No, your eyes do not deceive you! I have been beavering away and completed yet another project from DSDUCJFC 2015. This is Polar Bears from the Gloria and Pat Young'ungs collection.

After finishing Ravenclaw I went through my WIPs and this one stood out. It was about 60% complete but little did I think I would actually finish it! To be fair, there are big blocks of colours so it's not surprising it stitched up quickly. Here it is then:

Polar Bears from Young'uns by Gloria and Pat
Designed by Ruth Morehead
Stitched on 16ct Lagoon over-dyed aida by Fabric Flair 2 over 1
Stitch count 79 wide by 91 high
Started - 7th February 2015
Finished - 13th September 2015
Total stitching time - 32 hours 50 minutes

I made two deviations from the suggested pattern:
1) I used B5200 snow white instead of white for the polar bears.
2) the snow is stitched in one strand B5200 and two strands Kreinik blending filament #032 instead of the suggested two strands of white rayon/satin thread. You can just about see the snow sparkles in the photo.

There was absolutely no way I was going to allow this gorgeous finish to go into my Box of Shame, so I went to my usual, chose a 21mm blue and grey painted frame and this is how Polar Bears looks now:

I dabbled with many black and grey frames but thought this one looked best as it complimented rather than "framed" the picture, if you know what I mean. Mounts were definitely not necessary.

It's also very difficult to get the colour of the fabric right. It's called lagoon so can have hints of blue, green or grey depending on the lighting. This is about the most accurate colour I can get. I hope you like it - I LOVE it (of course)!

And this finish marks a milestone - I have now officially finished 1/4 of my January/February starts. I'd only set myself a target of finishing 6 January starts this year so am way ahead - even if I add in 6 more target finishes for the February starts.

However, this achievement has very much been at the expense of my bigger projects so maybe it's time to put down my Challenge pieces for a while and return to my too-long-neglected larger WIPs. So..... OMG Tigger Is Out - here I come!

15/59 Challenge pieces down, 44 to go!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 12 September 2015

Challenge Finish 14

Hello everyone!

Goodness me, I'm back again and definitely on a roll at the moment with my third, yes third, achievement for September!

But before that I want to say thank you for your recent comments. It seems I may have inspired some of you to "Scrap-Stitch" as Sarah called it - what a fantastic phrase! I try to reply to all my comments so if you are not receiving a reply it's because you are a no-reply blogger.

Now onto the finish. This is, of course, the Ravenclaw crest from Harry Potter, started as one of my February pieces for DSDUCJFC 2015. And here it is:

Harry Potter Ravenclaw Crest
from theworldinstitches (etsy)
Stitch count 96 x 118
Stitched on 16ct Cream Aida 2 over 1
Started - 18th February 2015
Finished - 8th September 2015
Total stitching time - 44 hours 20 minutes

But, wait there..... not only have I completed the project, I have actually framed it as well! So Ravenclaw actually looks like this:

I'm absolutely over the moon with the result. I did play around with brown, grey and blue mounts but decided that just a gold-rimmed darkish wooden frame (which I already had) looked the best. I can always swap to a bigger frame and add a mount or two later if I change my mind. But I doubt I will. I rather like the simplicity.

Ravenclaw is already hanging in our snug and awaiting the arrival of its three siblings. All I need to do is finish them, although goodness knows when that will be as I'm (probably) going to take a (short) break from Harry Potter stitching for a while.

So, what to work on next? I really, really, really don't know! Obviously I don't have enough WIPs to choose from so maybe it's time for a new start - only joking! Actually, I don't have any impetus whatsoever to start something new so I'll have a rummage through my Challenge, and perhaps even my bigger, pieces and see what takes my fancy.

14/59 Challenge pieces down, 45 to go!

Love and hugs,
Rachel x

Thursday 10 September 2015

Box of Shame Finish - Christmas Quacker

Hello all,

Following on from my previous post and your positive comments, I took the plunge and can reveal that I have already finished a finish from my Box of Shame!

I decided to work on Christmas Quacker first, featuring Souffle the Duck from the Popcorn and Friends range. Here's a reminder of how he looked all stitched up:

All I had to do was work out how I was going to "scrap" him.

I started off by choosing the background card. That bit was easy:

Then I went through my boxes of glitter and bling to find some potential matches, includng shimmer dots and sparkle fibres:

Next came the ribbon choices, lots of oranges and yellows:

And finally the lettering and other potential embellishments:

I had a lot of options to work with so it was just a case of whittling everything down as the page progressed. I usually like to keep my pages fairly simple so that the eye is drawn towards the photographs, with the embellishments complimenting rather than overwhelming the page.

Framing Souffle was the easy part:

Then came the tricky bit about what to add or not add. I decided to keep the page really simple, especially by not using the sparkle fibres I had originally intended to sprinkle over the orange card to mimic the glitter in the fabric.

So Souffle's finished page looks like this:

What do you think? Not bad for a couple of hour's work and I'm happy! I don't mind if you say you don't like it and it looks really tacky. I fully appreciate it's not everybody's cup of tea.

For now the page is safely tucked away in my album but I have had yet another idea! I already have a 12"x12" shadow box which hangs on the wall and in which I display and rotate my scrapbook pages. So why not do the same with an 8"x8" shadow box? I can choose which piece I want to display and alter it when I feel like a change. Perfect! I don't know why I didn't think of that before.

Hopefully my next completed page will not be as "simple" as this one. It all depends on what goes with the finished piece.

Oh, and I won't be blogging my picking and choosing process again - I just did it this time to show you the steps I go through.

Until next time then,
Rachel x

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Plans For Combining My Two Favourite Hobbies

Good morning all!

Over the last couple of months I have been getting the urge to return to a former hobby of mine - scrapbooking. You see, between 2006-2012, during a long break from cross-stitching, I was an avid scrapbooker. And now I would like to scrapbook again.

The "plan" is to divide my time between the two hobbies as my moods dictate. With the exception of next year's 31-new-starts for Debbie's Ultimate Crazy January Challenge (to which I have already committed) and probably the April A-Z Challenge, there will be no hard-and-fast plans, no rotation, no timetable, just a go-with-the-flow-and-let's-see-what-happens approach. It'll be interesting to see how the two hobbies co-exist.

Obviously working on a second hobby will eat into my cross-stitching time and be reflected in the amount of progress I make on my WIPs. But there is a secondary motive.....

I have had the idea of creating 8"x8" scrapbook layouts from some of my Box of Shame pieces. Realistically, my smaller projects are never going to be framed and hung so by combining scrapbooking with cross-stitching I may actually surprise you (and me) and finish some finishes! I already have a few ideas for layouts and an album to store the completed pages in so now it's just a case of putting the two together.

I will, of course, share my completed scrapbooked cross-stitch pages with you, as this is a cross stitching blog, but my other layouts (mostly themed around my children) will not be uploaded and shared.

Like most of my recent "promises" lately, though, please don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen..... although having said that I'm going to start on my first one today!

See you soon, possibly with a surprise!
Rachel x

Sunday 6 September 2015

Lizzie-Kate September Flip-It Stamp - finished!

Good morning all!

As much as I love having the children around during their summer holidays it has been really nice to return to the school (and therefore their earlier bedtimes and my night-time stitching) routine. So with longer stitching stints I was able to complete this month's stamp in double-quick time.

September Flip-It Stamp by Lizzie Kate
Stitch count 47 x 47
Stitched on 16ct Rustic Aida 2 over 1
Started - 1st September 2015
Finished - 6th September 2015
Total stitching time - 10 hours 45 minutes

As usual, this was great fun to stitch, and, as usual, it is another project for my Box of Shame. Amanda (Mrs Milkybar Kid) commented back in July that my Box of Shame should really be called a Box of Beauty. Well, it is both really. I love every project in it but have to hang my head in shame that none have been finished-finished.

But I have an idea about that which I will share with you on my next post.

In the meantime, I'm off to stitch on and finish Ravenclaw.

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 1 September 2015

August Progress on DSDUCJFC 2015 Pieces

Hello all!

With the school holidays in full swing it is no surprise that I had a reduced amount of stitching time during August. But I still achieved enough to be satisfied.

Unfortunately I didn't finish a project as my attention was completely focused on the four Harry Potter crests. This is how they currently look (with proper before and after photos now that we have our computer back!)

Gryffindor from 4th February
continued with the borders

Hufflepuff from 11th February
filled in the top right quadrant

Ravenclaw from 18th February
finished the crest border and started stitching the background

Slytherin from 25th February
started and finished the little bit of crest above the name banner

I think that Ravenclaw will definitely be completed in September but I am unsure as to whether or not I shall be working on the other three. I really can't decide which Challenge pieces (if any!) to pick up next so may take a month's break from them. Who knows?!?

But in the meantime it's onto Lizzie Kate September's stamp.

See you soon with a finish... or two!

Take care,
Rachel x