Thursday 31 December 2015

December Progress on DSDUCJFC 2015 Pieces

Good morning all!

Last post of 2016!

During November, I hardly stitched on my Challenge pieces so aimed to rectify that in December. After I had finished my LK Stamp for the month and a couple of small Christmas pieces I dove straight into my Challenge pieces and as well as finishing one piece, April Showers, made the following progress:

Friends For Life from 1st January
finished the clouds and stitched a little of the dog

Little Black Cat Tea from 23rd February
finished all but the background stitching

Little Black Cat Sugar from 16th February
stitched the cat (minus eyes) and continued with the sugar

Winter from 22nd February
finished the tree and stitched down to the horizon

I had intended to stitch on more pieces, but once I'd picked up April Showers I couldn't put it down so that took up most of my time.

I don't expect many of my remaining 43 Challenge pieces from 2015 will see much daylight in 2016, given that I will be starting another 31, but I really hope that's not the case. I still love and want to finish each and every one of them. I suppose I'll have to see where my mood takes me!

Tomorrow I'll be posting my stitching plans for 2016 - another long and boring post - then there will be daily posts from 2nd January with my 31 new starts. Hope you don't get bored of me!!

Keep stitching!
Rachel x

Wednesday 30 December 2015

2015 End Of Year Summary

Hello all!

As we say goodbye to 2015 I thought I would look back and summarise my stitching for the year. This record is mostly for my benefit so some (most) of you will probably find this very, very boring.

Number of WIPs brought forward from 2014 - 11 (all large)
Plus number of new starts - 77 (59 challenge, 12 LK stamps, 4 gifts, 2 large)
Less number of finishes - 34 (17 challenge, 12 LK stamps, 4 gifts, 1 large)
Number of WIPs to carry forward into 2016 - 54 (42 challenge, 12 large (5 now suspended))

Hmm, I know that most of these WIPs carried forward are small(ish) pieces but I shall be adding between 44 and 49 to them in 2016 (31 challenge, 12 ornaments, 1 A-Z, 5 others) which could bring my potential number of WIPs up to 103! That figure doesn't scare me but I do realise my total WIPs could quite easily get out of hand (if you don't think it has already!!) so.....

..... I have already made an executive decision that if my number of WIPs (excluding large and suspended projects) by the end of 2016 is not less than 40 I shall not do the January Challenge in 2017. This means that roughly 50 of my starts/WIPs need to be finished next year - or one per week. Now that does scare me!!

As for stitching itself I totalled 810 hours with needle and thread in hand and amazingly stitched every single day throughout the year. Admittedly, some days were for only 5 minutes, but I am so pleased to have not missed a single day. It definitely kept my mojo and enthusiasm running smoothly.

Now here comes the really boring bit.....

Here are the lists of projects which make up the statistics at the top of the page:

1)  Mythical Dragon (True Colors) - NOW SUSPENDED
2)  Rainbow Angel (White willow Stitching) - NOW SUSPENDED
3)  QS Emerald Dragon (HAED) - NOW SUSPENDED
4)  SK The History Of Chocolate (HAED) - NOW SUSPENDED
5)  QS Fairy With Butterfly Mask (HAED) - NOW SUSPENDED
6)  QS Come Softly (HAED)
7)  Mini Bookworm Fairy (HAED)
8)  Mini The Owrd Lord (HAED)
9)  Mini One (HAED)
10)  Dolphin Ruins (Rabnann - ebay)
11)  OMG Tigger Is Out (UnconventionalX - etsy)

1)  January stamp - FINISHED
2)  Friends For Life
3)  Christmas Quacker - FINISHED
4)  Dragon of Air - FINISHED
5)  Feline Groovy
6)  Loves Me ... Love Me Not
7)  Daisy Hugs
8)  Dreaming Of Dolphins
9)  April Showers - FINISHED
10)  Book Worm
11)  Dragon Of Earth - FINISHED
12)  Carefree Summer
13)  Playful Puss 1 - FINISHED
14)  A Tatty Friend
15)  Friends Forever - FINISHED
16)  Dandelion Time
17)  Cookie and Cream - FINISHED
18)  Dragon Of Fire - FINISHED
19)  Flower Power
20)  All Aboard The Walnut Shells
21)  Christmas Wishes
22)  Daisy Umbrella
23)  Cuddly Feline Friends
24)  Choc-A-Holic
25)  Dragon Of Water - FINISHED
26)  I Love Butter
27)  Good Morning Nelson
28)  Winter Hugs
29)  Lickle Snooze
30)  A Windy Day
31)  Playful Puss 2 - FINISHED
32)  Little Green
33)  Spring
34)  Coffee
35)  Winter Owl - FINISHED
36)  Gryffindor Crest
37)  Pretty Little London
38)  February stamp - FINISHED
39)  Start Trek TOS
40)  Polar Bears - FINISHED
41)  Summer
42)  Cream
43)  Canal Crossing
44)  Hufflepuff Crest
45)  Puddle Duck - FINISHED
46)  Clue
47)  Red Foxes
48)  Autumn - FINISHED
49)  Sugar
50)  The Lock
51)  Ravenclaw Crest - FINISHED
52)  Pretty Little Paris
53)  Evil Minions
54)  Spotted Owls
55)  Winter
56)  Tea
57)  The Milk Train
58)  Slytherin Crest
59)  Waterlogged - FINISHED
60)  My Treasure - FINISHED
61)  Pandas
62)  March stamp - FINISHED
63)  April stamp - FINISHED
64)  May stamp - FINISHED
65)  June stamp - FINISHED
66)  July stamp - FINISHED
67)  August stamp - FINISHED
68)  September stamp - FINISHED
69)  Initial I ornament - FINISHED
70)  October stamp - FINISHED
71)  Initial J ornament - FINISHED
72)  Owls In Love - FINISHED
73)  Dragon Eye (Large Project)
74)  November stamp - FINISHED
75)  December stamp - FINISHED
76)  Wait until Dec 25th! (1) - FINISHED
77)  Wait until Dec 25th! (2) - FINISHED

Are you bored now?? Or did you just skip the lists?!!

Regarding Stitch From Stash, had it carried on I would have finished the year with deficit of about £33. Just thought I'd let you know.

And regarding my contribution to Tammy's A New Stitchy Start blog, well, I never really got out of the starting blocks. The saga of searching for the perfect fabric on which to stitch Scarlet Macaw Preening is still on-going.....

Thank you for allowing me to continue to bore you witless and for being there to keep me sane. I appreciate and value every visit and comment I receive. You are a wonderful bunch of stitchers and I am so pleased to have "met" you!

With pretend glass in hand, here's to the end of a fantastic stitching year and the start of another - cheers!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Monday 28 December 2015

Challenge Finish 17

Good morning everybody!

I hope everybody has had a good Christmas or restful break over the last few days? Was Santa good to you? I'm excited to see any new goodies you have received and might be stitching on in 2016.

Santa was good to me and gave me a few little second-hand charts which he'd apparently bought on ebay - clever Santa! So I have a little Halloween Kitty and some more Lizzie Kates to add to my collection. My daughter also made a fabric case for me to carry a project and the accompanying thread bobbins. It took a long time and required a lot of work so I will blog about it later as it definitely deserves it's own post.

Our family had a quiet but busy festive period but not so busy that I couldn't do a fair amount of stitching! So, as the title has given away, I have another Challenge finish to show you. This will definitely be my last for 2015.

Once I'd picked this piece up I couldn't put it down and somehow knew I would work on it until completed. I left him back in June having only stitched the umbrella and rain but now Lickle Ted looks like this:

Lickle Ted - April Showers
Featured in Cross Stitch Crazy issue 110
Stitched on 16ct Iced Coffee over-dyed Aida by Fabric Flair 2 over 1
Stitch count 86 wide by 111 high
Started - 8th January 2015
Finished - 28th December 2015
Total stitching time - 32 hours 40 minutes

Some of the umbrella and scarf were supposed to be stitched using satin threads but I just used normal DMC. Compared to the original picture I don't think it makes much difference. I love the half stitching for the rain and the variegated thread used for the puddles. I even enjoyed watching him come to life as the backstitching was added. Unfortunately the subtle shading of the fabric has not come out too well in the photograph. :(

For the time being Lickle Ted will become an Orphan in my Box of Shame until I decide how to frame him.

17/59 Challenge pieces down, 42 to go!

Now to go and make sure everything is ready for my 31 new starts in January. I must be mad!

Happy stitching everybody!
Rachel x

Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Good morning all!

I just wanted to wish all of my lovely blog readers a very Merry Christmas 2015!

Image from

I hope Santa has been good to you and your day is filled with love, laughter and lots of stitching. I look forward to reading all about your new stitchy goodies you have received for Christmas!

If you do not celebrate Christmas, then I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable break.

Rachel x

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Christmas Variegated Thread Tags

Good morning all!

Wow, wow and triple wow! Thank you all so much for your lovely comments about my framed Owls In Love. I really am overwhelmed by your generous comments. It's pleasing to know I've stitched and framed a piece that so many of you genuinely like!

Getting into the Christmas spirit, I wanted to make a couple of tags using variegated threads. I always use the cut and loop method so saw this as a good opportunity to carry out a little experiment. The top tag has been stitched using that method, the bottom tag using two strands in parallel. You may have to enlarge the photo to see the differences:

 Based on Lizzie Kate's Wait 'Til Dec 25th
Stitched on 16ct Holly Aida with silvering by 2 over 1
Stitched with - Threadworx 1085 Christmas Time
Total stitching time - 2 hours 10 minutes each

I can't decide which one I prefer. The colours in the top tag looks a little "dirtier" because of the green-red combination yet give a lovely effect close up. The colours in the bottom tag are obviously sharper as that's how the thread is supposed to be used! Perhaps the cut and loop method would work better in other colours? I don't know.

I made them into simple tags using pearlised green card and red tinsel ribbon:

I know that one of the recipients has already opened their presents but the other has duly waited, so my stitching was not all in vain!!

This will be my last post before Christmas (I think) so may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas filled with love, laughter and lots of stitching!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 19 December 2015

Owls In Love - framed!

Hello all,

Christmas has definitely arrived early for me!

Remember Owls In Love? Remember my mum was going to buy me the frame for Christmas? Remember I said I wasn't going to wait until Christmas to frame my piece? Well, I kept my word and spent his morning putting Owls In Love into its frame. And here it is:

And a close up of the corner. If you look carefully you can just about make out the silvering which covers the whole fabric.

I kept to the monochrome palette choosing a 22mm Pedroza Grey distressed frame with a dark grey top mount, bright white bottom mount and anti-reflective glazing. The grey fabric was very difficult to match up - sometimes it has hints of lilac or blue or green depending on which colours are next to it or under which light you are looking at it. So apologies if the colours don't look too good on your screen - I can assure you they are perfect together in real life!

I am absolutely over the moon with this whole piece and once again have to send a big thank-you to for making the online ordering process of mounts and frames so easy. It really is a dream website to deal with.

The question is..... do you like it? It doesn't bother me if you don't - all tastes are different.

I have two more small framed pieces to show you, but they can wait until my next post.

6 days until Christmas - hope you're not feeling too stressed!
Rachel x

Sunday 13 December 2015

Elemental Dragons - framed

Good morning,

Remember I purchased some frames last week? Well, here's the first frame being used for my four Elemental Dragons by Dragon Dreams Inc. available as free charts here. These were all stitched on 16ct Nebula from The Crafty Kitten as part of Debbie's Crazy January/February 2015 Challenge. I absolutely love these designs and can't believe I waited so long to frame them.

As a reminder, these are the four Dragons of Air, Water, Earth and Fire:

This is the frame I ordered:

Here they are individually mounted:

And this is how they all look together:

I used my usual internet framing service,, ordering a dark pink top mount, dark grey bottom mount and dark grey frame. The glazing should be anti-reflective acrylic but I received acrylic in error and therefore had a lot of problems taking decent photographs! With hindsight I should have allowed room for more of the lovely fabric to show instead of the mounts being so close to the stitching, but nevermind. Anyway, too much more fabric and the dragons would have looked lost.

I really wanted blue for the bottom mount but, as you can imagine, blue looked awful against the greeny-brown earth and orangey-red fire colours. I then thought about having four different colour bottom mounts to coordinate with each dragon but couldn't be bothered with the detailed measuring! So I finally opted for a dark grey mount as it is the only colour consistent across all four dragons.

What do you think? I'm really pleased with how it's all come together - which is much better in real life than the photograph. Now to hang it with my menagerie of other stitching.

I'll post about the other frames I bought over the next few days. One at a time is enough, especially when I waffle on so much!

Take care everyone,
Rachel x

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Lizzie Kate December Flip-It Stamp - finished!

Hello again!

I am going to start by saying a lot of big thank yous.

First, thank you to everybody who left comments regarding my attempt at designing the November poppy. Despite your positivity I'm still not completely happy with it so may re-attempt it next year but under less pressure!

Second, an even bigger thank you to everyone for such lovely comments about Owls In Love. I have been truly overwhelmed with how well it has been received by so many of you. In one personal email a stitcher pointed out that the design and fabric were so different it was a like breath of fresh air. Thank you. I hope you'll think the same once you see the project framed!

Now, back to business. I have finished the final LK monthly stamp. I am pleased to have stitched them all as planned and on schedule but am a little sad to have reached the end. Nevermind, I haven't finish-finished them yet so I still have that to look forward to. Here's the last stamp:

Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched on 16ct Rustico Aida 2 over 1
Started - 1st December 2015
Finished - 8th December 2015
Total stitching time - 10 hours 50 minutes

But it's not all doom and gloom on the LK front as I shall be stitching some of her Tiny Tidings next year as my one-a-month and Smalls SAL project.

As for my stitching for the rest of the 2015 - all of my obligations are out of the way so I'm free to stitch on what I want! I might pick up a big project, I might try to finish some more Challenge pieces or I might pick up some of my neglected Challenge pieces. But one thing's for certain - there will definitely be no new starts before 1st January 2016!

I hope all of your plans for the festivities / holiday season are going well. I've still got some decorating and all the wrapping to do but that's about it. Let's hope Santa is busy wrapping lots of stitchy goodies for us all!!

Take care everyone :)
Rachel x

Monday 7 December 2015

Owls In Love - finished!

Hello all!

It's Happy Dance time!!!

Yep, Owls In Love is finished! In my last post I estimated 5 hours to finish this project. It was in fact 4 hours 55 minutes - not a bad guess then?!

So, without any more yapping, here are a finished Hedwig and Errol, along with all the usual boring details:

Owls In Love
FluffyFuzzyPatterns (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Grey Aida with silvering by 2 over 1
Stitch count 250 wide by 152 high
Started - 16th October 2015
Finished - 6th December 2015
Total stitching time - 54 hours 55 minutes

Oh boy, did I enjoy stitching this design and watching the owls take shape! You would have thought that stitching three shades of grey on grey fabric would have been boring but it wasn't. Quite the contrary. It was actually very relaxing. I loved every stitch, LOVE the fabric and would happily stitch the whole piece again, right now! Don't you think browns on brown would look good? Just a thought!

The mounts and frame have already been ordered and should be delivered by the end of the week. I know they are supposed to be a Christmas present but do you honestly think I'm going to wait another two weeks to frame this piece? I think not!! Honestly, this is more exciting than Christmas itself!!!

Oh, and while I was ordering the frame for this piece, a couple more just "happened" to slip into my basket. You know how it is! I'll show you all of the finished-finishes as soon as I have framed them.

My stitching for the rest of 2015 now consists of finishing the LK December Stamp and trying to finish a couple more January/February Challenge pieces. Wonder how I'll do?

In the meantime, thanks for joining me in my blog postings and thanks for all of your comments. I know a few of you have really been waiting to see this project finished - I hope you are not disappointed, although you haven't seen it framed yet!!

Back soon!

Take care one and all,
Rachel x

Thursday 3 December 2015

Owls In Love - 50 hours

Good morning, good morning, good morning!

Just a quick post today to show the next update on this project.

I'm getting really excited as these owls are so close to being finished. I reckon about five more hours to stitch the branch and fill in the final colour on the left owl's tummy and they'll be done. Yippee!

After 40 hours

After 50 hours

I'm definitely going to stay with and finish this project. My mum's offered to buy me a frame for Christmas so there's no way this project is going into my Box of Shame / The Orphanage to collect dust! I'll be back very very soon with a great big Happy Dance!

Happy stitching everyone!
Rachel x

Tuesday 1 December 2015

November Progress on DSDUCJFC Pieces

Hello all!

Oh dear - my Challenge pieces were very neglected during November. In fact, I only picked up one piece and that was for just a few hours. Note to self - must do better! But progress is progress. Here are the before and after photos:

Winter from 22nd February
continued with the tree and sky

With me desperate to finish Owls In Love, along with all the preparations for Christmas now in full swing, goodness knows how much stitching I will do on my Challenge pieces in December. I'm not holding out much hope but have got a couple which could be potential finishes. We'll just have to see how it goes.

Take care everyone,
Rachel x