Saturday 31 October 2015

October Progress on DSDUCJFC 2015 Pieces

Good afternoon everybody!

Thank you again for all of the lovely comments you have been leaving me. And welcome to the new followers I have recently gained. I hope you are enjoying my ramblings.

October was strange month for stitching on my Challenge pieces as making two little initial ornaments and starting two new projects during my Stitching Retreat ate into my usual stitching time. I didn't have any finishes but I did manage progress on:

"Wilfred" the Winter Owl from 3rd February
stitched his chest/tummy

Spotted Owls from 21st February
the first owl now has the beginnings of a companion
(don't you just love those eyes?!)

I'm not an owl person but all three pieces I have stitched on this month have been owls. Just a coincidence perhaps? Or is somebody trying to tell me something?

November might see a bit more progress on my Challenge pieces but that very much depends on how obsessed I remain with the monochrome Owls in Love.

As for next year's Crazy Challenge..... I may have recently increased my stash of charts but I'm sticking to my plan and definitely only joining in with the 31 new starts in January. In fact, most of my stitching for the whole year has been planned so no amount of hinting will get me to change my mind - sorry!!

I'll be back soon with an Owls In Love update.

Take care and if you celebrate it, Happy Halloween.
Rachel x

Thursday 29 October 2015

Birthday Stash

Afternoon all!

As stitchers and stashers we all love receiving cross stitch goodies, even if we tell ourselves that we have enough things and don't need any more. I am no exception!

When it comes to birthday and Christmas presents from my mum, I am very cheeky! You see, she rarely goes out and can't browse the www for bargains as I do, so if I see a cross stitch item I like I often buy it on her behalf. This year I have (she has) been collecting Lizzie Kate charts so yesterday I received the following "surprise" birthday presents from her:

Lizzie Kate A-B-C-razy

Lizzie Kate Tiny Tidings VIII, IX, X, XIV and XV

Lizzie Kate Santas 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2012

Thanks mum! I love them all!

These will definitely be put to good use as, during 2016, I intend to stitch one LK ornament each month in the same way I have been stitching a LK flip-it stamp each month this year. They are small and easy enough to start and finish in a few days so will not add to my huge pile of WIPs. And I already have the fabric - nothing like forward-planning!

The more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I have already used the A-B-C-razy chart for the little I and J fobs I stitched a couple of weeks ago. I cheekily borrowed the chart before my mum wrapped it!

The postman and internet also delivered surprise goodies from my two bestest stitching buddies.

Ingrid was a VERY naughty girl and gave me the other three charts in the Lizzie Kate Seasonal Alphabet collection to go with the Spring Alphabet I already have.

Lizzie Kate Summer, Autumn and Winter Alphabets

Justine gave me a voucher with which I wanted to buy something special and completely different rather than "yet another" LK chart! Bearing in mind that Justine had previously given me a selection of Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe Halloween-themed hand-dyed threads, I did go completely different and bought two Halloween-themed charts on which I can use those gorgeous threads. I shall certainly have fun choosing which fabrics and colours to use for these designs! Purple pumpkin anybody!!

White Willow Stitching
Tribal Pumpkin and Tribal Witch Hat
(pictures taken from

Thank you both so very much for your generosity. Now all I need to do is slip these additional projects into my 2016 stitching schedule as "special" pieces.

Right, enough yapping. With so many WIPs and potential new starts calling me I had better go and do some stitching!

All the best :)
Rachel x

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Owls In Love - 20 hours

Hello all!

Thank you for your recent comments regarding my Stitching Retreat and this new start. They are all very much appreciated. If you do not receive a reply to your comment it is because you are a no-reply blogger so I'll say thank you here instead.

Back to stitching.....

My needle has been working hard these last few days so I'm ready to show you another 10 hours work on this gorgeously cute Owls In Love project:

After 10 hours

After 20 hours

Yes, I've stitched a lot but, remember, there are only three colours and lots of unstitched areas. I'm thoroughly enjoying the greys on grey so this one will definitely be staying out for the foreseeable future.

I'll be back soon!

Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Monday 26 October 2015

Stitch From Stash - October 2015

Hello everybody!

This month's Stitch From Stash report can be summarised in one word - FAIL! :(  And I was doing so well. But then I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace and understandably spent a little more than my budget allowed. Having said that, I don't regret any of my purchases and my overspend was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. I'll just have to work hard for the rest of the year to try to make up the deficit.

OCTOBER BUDGET - $25 = £16.49 (at 01/10/2015 exchange rate)
EARNED - $8.00 = £5.28
SPENT - £50.65
CLOSING BALANCE - minus £14.88


£9.90 on two cute charts

£15.75 on five gorgeous Threadworx hand-dyed threads
£25.00 on stunning over-dyed and sparkly fabric
(which the photo does not do justice)

I did purchase a lot more fabric (as shown in my Ally Pally posting) but after friends had delved into the pile I didn't have much left for myself!

Challenge projects worked on: (post to follow 1st November)
* winter owl
* spotted owls

Other projects worked on:
* owls in love (new start - see previous post)
* dragon eye (new start - post to follow soon)

Projects completed:

Lizzie Kate October flip-it stamp = $4

 Initial 'J' ornament = $2
(photos borrowed with permission from Justine's Cross Stitch)

Initial 'I' ornament = $2
(photos borrowed with permission from Mii Stitch)

I'm hoping to make up some of the deficit in November by finishing Owls In Love. It just depends on how fast my needles work!

Rachel x

PS I try not to mention family too much on my blog but there are two things that have to be said:

1) Happy birthday Toby - 12 today!!

2) Heather, we are very proud of you for completing your 25 mile 1 1/2-day self-sufficiency hike at the weekend as part of your Chief Scout Gold Award. Well done from your whole family! xxxx

Friday 23 October 2015

New Start - Owls In Love

Good morning again!

I'm back with a new start!

This design is called Owls In Love from FluffyFuzzyPatterns on etsy and is being stitched on absolutely gorgeous 16ct Sparkly Cloud Grey aida from (not that you can see the sparkles in the photo). I started this during my Stitching Retreat last weekend but thought I would save the post until I had reached the 10 hour mark:

After 10 hours

And in case you haven't seen this chart before, here's how Hedwig and Errol will look when completed:

There are only three greys in the design and I thought maybe stitching grey on grey would be boring. But it isn't. So I'm definitely staying with this one for the time being - my other WIPs (namely Winter Owl and Spotted Owls) will just have to wait. Hmmm bit of an owl theme going on at the moment!

Be back soon!
Rachel x

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Weekend Stitching Retreat and New Stash

Good afternoon everybody!

Back in April I met up with Ingrid (Mii Stitch) and Justine (Justine's Cross Stitch) for a day of chatting, stitching and stashing. We got on so well that within a couple of weeks we had arranged another rendez-vous, this time a weekend at The Dairy Cottage in Staffordshire. It was a lovely little cottage in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by beautiful countryside and a perfect location for chatting and stitching to our hearts' content.

Our weekend started with the obligatory exchange of Halloween-themed goody bags. Here's a selection of the goodies I received:

beautiful hand-made ornaments.....

.....a candle and holder, backing fabric, Lizzie Kate chart, beads,
needle keep, stitched owlet kit, hand-dyed Halloween Mist fabric, ribbons,
Halloween-themed threads from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.....

.....and a host of Halloween decorations and sweeties
(which for some reason are no longer available to be photographed - yum yum!)

Thank you both so much. Everything is (was) awesome!

You'll have to pop over to their blogs (links at top of posting) to see my gifts to them.

Stitching-wise, we had all agreed to start two new projects during the weekend. Ingrid and Justine opted for small projects. Justine even finished one of hers! But me? I went for bigger ones of course! I started Owls in Love and Dragon Eye, as they were already in my 2015 stitching plans, but I will save pictures of them for another post.

We looked through each others' piles of WIPs and "helpfully" prioritised our favourites. A couple of doubtful WIPs were even discarded!

And we exchanged a few charts, meaning my stash pile is now even bigger. To be fair though, most of these will be quick stitches:

Lizzie Kate - Spooky String
JBW Designs - French Country Witch, Alphabet Pumpkin and Sweet Nothings
CCN - Snow Love, Dear Santa and Holly Jolly

The others also relieved me of some of the lovely fabric I bought at Alexandra Palace. I had intended to go home with less than I had taken but didn't realise quite how little that would be! I'm glad I could help them out though.

It was such a perfect weekend and, sadly, over far too quickly. It's a terrible cliche, but I'm lucky to have met two great bloggers who very quickly became two great friends.

So now it's back to usual life for the three of us but with lovely memories and the excitement of planning our next retreat in Spring 2016!

Happy stitching everybody :)
Rachel x

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Lizzie-Kate October Flip-It Stamp - finished!

Hello all!

Another month, another flip-it stamp, another really fun stitch and another unfinished finished to go into my (soon to be re-named) Box of Shame:

October Flip-It Stamp by Lizzie Kate
Stitch count 47 high by 47 wide
Stitched on 16ct Rustic Aida 2 over 1
Started - 1st October 2015
Finished - 20th October 2015
Total stitching time - 9 hours 55 minutes

Next month's November stamp will not be true to the original Lizzie Kate design which depicts a Thanksgiving turkey. Since Thanksgiving holds no meaning to me, and providing I can find a suitable chart to fit the space, I would like to replace the turkey with either fireworks or a poppy. Let's hope I can still make it look Lizzie Kate-ish though.

Take care everyone :)
Rachel x

Sunday 11 October 2015

A Trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show

Hello all!

Yesterday I visited the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London. It's about seven years since I last went so was a perfect opportunity for a browsing day out.

My daughter accompanied me as she was interested in soft wool for making scarves and fabric for her quilting and dressmaking hobbies. It was also her 14th birthday so mummy's credit card was an added incentive for her to accompany me!

I tried not to stash too much as I really don't NEED anything else (I know, I know, what's NEED got to do with it?) and I was aware of my virtual SFS budget.

I bought a little box with individual screw-top jars for my spare Mill Hill beads, two cute little charts from an independent retailer and five over-dyed Threadworx threads suitable for Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Christmas projects. These are (shamefully?) the first over-dyed threads I have ever bought. Now all I have to do is find projects suitable to use them on!

Charts - Odd Dog - Sleepy Book and Balloon by Lili of the Valley
Threadworx colours - 10592 Mercy's Spring Bouquet, 11511 Jam Rock,
1076 Honky Tonk, 1140 Moonlit Skies and 1085 Christmas Time

I also bought a couple of other things which I cannot show as they are gifts for people who I know read this blog - hi girls!

Budget wise, so far so good. But then I found the sewitall fabric stall. Uh-oh!

Some of you may recall that a number of my Challenge pieces are stitched on over-dyed aida by Fabric Flair. When I discovered the only supplier that I knew of in the UK had stopped selling it I was devastated. But a bit of sleuthing led me to who, I found out, are the actual manufacturers of Fabric Flair! At the moment they don't have over-dyed on their website but they do have a similar cloud-effect fabric as well as patterns such as snowflakes, holly leaves, paw prints and love hearts. AND everything comes in various aida or evenweave counts AND with the choice of added sparkles. Heaven! Go check them out - you will not be disappointed.

I could have been a very naughty girl but, luckily for me, their selection of my favourite 16ct aida and 32ct evenweave was limited and very few had sparkles. Nevertheless, I bought a good selection, even doubling up on some. Not all are in the photo, nor are all for me as I was purchasing for two others as well. So in fact I think I was actually very restrained!

Aida - Antique White with Sparkles, Cloud Green, Cloud Lilac and Cloud Brown

Evenweave - Cloud Blue, Cloud Blue and Pink, Cloud Lilac, Cloud Grey

Talking of being restrained, I did NOT buy these two kits. I cannot express how much I love the autumnal-coloured artwork of Leonid Afremov. I know that Love Thy Thread and Heaven and Earth Designs have charted some of his pictures but these are by Golden Fleece (Zolotoe Runo in their native Russian) and were £54 each which I could not justify. If they are ever released as just charts I may reconsider.

Romantic Walk and Aura of Rain (my favourite!) 

And here are some more, slightly smaller kits, by the same artist which I may purchase one day:

 Autumn Melodies, Tryst and Autumn Blues

So all in all a good but tiring (and financially fairly restrained) day out! Now to use some of my goodies.....

Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Thursday 1 October 2015

September Progress On DSDUCJFC 2015 Pieces

Good morning!

It's unbelievable that yet another month has gone by. Just where does time disappear? The children have been back at school a month and some of the shops already have their Christmas cards, papers and chocolates out!

I had a fairly successful September of stitching on my Challenge pieces with two finishes and progress on three more.

My finishes were: (scroll down for their postings)

* Ravenclaw
* Polar Bears

And the projects worked on were:

A Tatty Friend from 13th January
stitched the grass and started the monotonous backstitching
(believe it or not that's over an hour's worth of backstitching just to his head!)

Winter Owl from 3rd February
gave him his scarf

Spotted Owls from 21st February
stitched and backstitched the body of the first owl
(how cute is that?)

Considering at the beginning of the month I wasn't sure what to work on I think I've done quite well. I haven't planned any projects to work on during October so I'll just see what takes my fancy.

Regarding the 2016 Challenge, with the exception of a few threads I need to order and bobbinate, my 31 projects are all ready to go. Chart photocopies/prints made. Fabrics chosen and cut. Threads picked. Everything filed in popper wallets. Nothing like being prepared! I wanted to get mine out of the way before a month of birthdays and then Christmas took over. Roll on 1st January 2016!

Has anyone else started preparing for January yet or is it f-a-r too early? And if you are considering taking part in the Challenge next year will you be doing 15, 31 or 60 new starts? I'd be very interested to know.

Take care everyone,
Rachel x