Friday 29 March 2019

Smalls SAL - March 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 and 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 March I chose another dragon as a companion to last month's Green Sleeping Dragon. He's been finished off using matching purple backing fabric and contrasting red barley twist cord, not two colours which would normally be put together:

Purple Sleeping Dragon from Cross Stitch Crazy Magazine issue 81
Stitch Count 33 wide by 23 high
Stitched on 16ct Dried Petal over-dyed aida from 2 over 1
Started - 3rd March 2019
Finished - 7th March 2019
Total stitching time - 4 hours 45 minutes

I'm also re-showing other projects I've stitched during the month which qualify as Smalls.

My birthstone of the month, March in Aquamarine:

And my monarch of the month, Henry I:

And that's it for this month, see you at the end of April when Spring will be in the air, at least in cross stitch even if not in reality!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Parrot On Parade - 30 hours

Hello again!

Another stint, another update. Mr Scruffy is at about the halfway mark now and I'm well into stitching his ruffled chest feathers.

You saw him like this a few days ago:

And now he's grown to this:

It's quite rare for me to stick with a project for more than one or two 10 hour sessions but Mr Scruffy is refusing to be taken off the frames. He's obviously enjoying the attention far too much and seems determined to hog the limelight for the remainder of the month. And, you know what? I might just let him!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 22 March 2019

Parrot On Parade - 20 hours

Hello all!

I suddenly decided I fancied stitching reds for a while so the gorgeous and very charismatic Parrot On Parade returned to my frame.

Here's how I left him:

And now:

Where appropriate I do like to name characters in my projects, so seeing as he's a bit of a scruffy chap he's now been named Mr Scruffy - not very original, I admit, but definitely fitting.

Now for some useless information... yesterday marked my 1000th stitching day in a row - or every day since 25th June 2016. In fact I've only missed one day since 1st January 2015 (that being 24th June 2016, obviously!) which was due to being in A&E with my son who had fractured his wrist.

We arrived in A&E about 7:30pm, I think, and naturally I was concerned about him, but as the minutes and hours ticked away I couldn't help but selfishly think that my stitching record (which then stood at 540 days) would be broken. And it was, as we didn't get home until the early hours of the following morning. At one point I felt like phoning hubby and asking him to bring my stitching to A&E; son was asleep beside me, more urgent cases were naturally taking precedence and I knew we were in for a long night, but that would have been more hassle than it was worth! So I *pitiful sigh with back of hand on forehead* sacrificed my record and knew I would be starting back at zero the following day. Oh, the things we do for our children!!!

Yes, of course I'm hamming my reaction up - my children will always come first - but what niggles is that if the school nurse had actually done her job properly (he hurt his wrist at lunchtime) and/or I had taken more notice of his complaining (I'm not a harsh mother but, I think you'll agree, some children have a low pain threshold and tend to over-react at the slightest thing) we would have been in A&E and home a lot sooner.

But all that aside, I count myself exceptonally lucky that I am able to stitch every night and am now aiming for 2000 days which, if my calculations are correct, will be 15th December 2021!

And to start the ball rolling on those next 1000 days I've decided to stay with Mr Scruffy for another 10 hours. Back soon!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 18 March 2019

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 40 hours

Hello again!

I stayed with Hogwarts until the end of February but didn't quite manage to finish the ten hours. But I have now! I've started on the actual picture and progress has been quickened by the background being mostly made up of half stitches.

Here's where I left off:

And now:

And the full piece:

If you look closely about 1/3rd in from the left at the bottom there's a small triangle of bluey-grey - that's the castle turret beginning to appear!

According to my calculations, I'm just under a quarter of the way through. This might be a little bit of an overestimate but has made me think that maybe it's time to put in some of the backstitching. So that's the first thing I'll do when I return to it.

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 15 March 2019

A Monarch A Month - Henry 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 are now on month number 3 so here is monarch number 3:

Henry I from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 8th March 2019
Finished - 10th March 2019
Total stitching time - 4 hours 55 minutes

For those who also liked the little History lesson, here are a few facts about Henry I:

Preceded by William II (brother)
Succeeded by Stephen (nephew)
Lived c1068-1135 (birth date unknown)
Reigned 1100-1135
Married to Matilda 1100-1118 (died) and Adeliza 1121-1135
Fathered 2-4 legitimate and 20+ illegitimate children

Henry I became king following his bother's death in a hunting 'accident' in 1100.

Henry seemed to have been a fairly likeable King and was generally accepted by the English people.

He consolidated his power through the usual means of rewarding those loyal to him and punishing those not. But he also gained support and popularity by making his court 'cleaner' and less immoral than that of his brother, by backing religious reforms and seeking peace with the church, by imposing fairer taxes and judicial laws, and by forming a peaceful alliance with Scotland through his marriage to Edith (who later became Matilda) daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland.

Just like William, Henry was the target of numerous rebellions from their eldest brother Robert who still saw himself as rightful King of England. Likewise, Robert's lands in Normandy were continually disputed by Henry who thought he should have them as well as England. Henry finally defeated Robert at the Battle of Tinchebray in 1106, imprisoning him until his death in 1134 and claiming 'guardianship' of Normandy.

Henry had a huge sexual appetite but his marriage to Matilda resulted in only two surviving legitimate children, Matilda and William. William drowned in the White Ship disaster of 1120 throwing the succession into doubt and prompting Henry to marry Adeliza in an attempt to father another legitimate son and heir. But their marriage remained childless.

Henry died in 1135, after feasting on lampreys, and was buried in Reading Abbey. He had named his daughter, Matilda, as his successor but his nephew Stephen, the son of his sister Adeliza, decided otherwise...

(Yes, there are lots of Williams, Matildas and Adelizas at this time. Hope you're not too confused!)

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday 10 March 2019

Link-up for Fully-Finished Gallery SAL March 2019 (and 5th Blogoversary winner)

Hello all!

Welcome back to the second month of the Fully-Finished Gallery SAL 2019. I'm going to sound like a broken record, but thank you again to all who took part and/or left comments in February. We had an amazing 70 FFOs from 22 participants. Let's see if March can be just as successful.

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.

Since the last link-up I had good intentions for delving into my Box of Shame but, alas, it was not to be so I have only two recent offerings for March:

 Green Sleeping Dragon
stitched last month for the February Smalls SAL

 March In Aquamarine
stitched this month for my Year Of Birthstones

Now over to you.

Given the impressiveness of last month's entries, I'm really looking forward to seeing which projects you have fully-finished since then. Quite a few stitchers have told me they've made notes of new techniques they'd like to try, which is really encouraging. Perhaps if you've been inspired by or incorporate a technique you've seen from someone else you could mention them or provide a link back?

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 March.

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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.

But this post isn't finished yet...

The Make It and Knit and Stitch It 2019 shows were in my hometown a couple of weeks ago so how could I resist not going when the venue was within walking distance of my house?!

It was a fairly good show and I was a 'fairly' good girl! Stash-enhancing wise I only picked up one small chart and one small kit, but I did pick up quite a few ideas and relevant things for fully-finishing off projects (= weakness for fabric FQs!) The funny thing is I haven't started the majority of the projects I got these finishing ideas and goodies for!

There's one in particular that I want to share with you, which gave me an idea... how about trying to incorporate some sort of Featured Finishing Idea in this SAL? (or FFI because us cross stitchers need more acronyms!) It won't be every month and I'd like to try to show 'raw' ideas so that you can interpret them yourselves.

Here's the first Featured Finishing Idea:

Mobile arms by - at the show these were available as just the arms or as a kit, using fabric to cover the 2mm greyboard to make a mobile (picture on the right is supplied with the arms as a finishing idea). But, with my cross stitch FFO head on, I immediately saw their potential for hanging lots of small cross stitch projects. Apart from projects, time and patience, the only other thing you would need is a hook in the ceiling:

Each project could be finished off with felt or backing fabric, or attached back to back to make double-sided ornies. The number and/or lengths of ribbon could be adjusted to accommodate less or more projects and, of course, the projects don't all have to be the same size or shape.

So many ideas have been swimming round my head for themes - Christmas, Halloween, seasons (or maybe one for each season), snowflakes, a particular colour, hearts, a monthly set, geometric designs... the list is endless! Or it could just be made up of various unrelated designs.

I'll be using mine next year for a set of Christmas ornies which, with a few adjustments, I'd like to make interchangeable too. In for a penny...

Any of you like this idea too?

And finally... the winner of my 5th Blogoversary giveaway.

Thank you for all your kind comments for my blogoversary. 14 of you asked to be entered so I loaded up the RNG and it chose entry number 4. Congratulations to...

Cathy, A Stitching Grandma!

Just leave a comment and I'll reply asking for the necessary details.

As for the FFG SAL, next month's link-up will go live at 6am GMT on 10th April. I hope to see you there!

Happy fully-finishing!
Rachel x

Wednesday 6 March 2019

March in Aquamarine - 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.

March's birthstone can be either aquamarine or bloodstone:

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

(Hmm, same poem as January except for replacing garnet with bloodstone!)

Visit if you would like to read little interesting snippets of information about aquamarines.

I'm happy to report that, after the hassles with February, March's piece was stitched without a hitch:

March by Palkolap
Stitched on 16ct Horizon over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched with DMC 67 and Miyuki matte transparent light blue seed beads
Started - 1st March 2019
Finished - 3rd March 2019
Total stitching time - 4 hours 45 minutes

The beads aren't quite right but, boy, is it difficult to match blues over the internet?! March, September and December are all blues and none of the beads I purchased looked like their screenshots, whereas the beads for the other months were fine! I can only assume that either blues photograph differently, or my monitor and/or eyesight pick up different hues. I'm just grateful they're not expensive!

I plan to have this FFO'd in time for the FFG SAL on the 10th (is it nearly that time again already?)

And don't forget, if you would like to be entered into the prize draw there's still time to leave a comment on my previous post. :)

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday 3 March 2019

5th Blogoversary Giveaway

Good morning everyone!

It's 9:22am on the 3rd March 2019 so I'm five years old today ! Happy blogoversary to me!!

As I look back over the last year I have to say that 2018/2019 was really successful with me stitching lots, finishing more, joining in with a couple of SALs and even beginning to host a SAL of my own! I've recently found lots of new blogs and feel my own blog is getting stronger. I am so glad I did not quit 18 months ago when I was going through a bad blogging patch; think of all the stitching fun and virtual friendships I would have missed out on!

I very rarely have giveaways, so every year I like to celebrate my blogoversary by sending one lucky follower a gift. Up for grabs is the usual £10, or local currency equivalent, e-gift voucher for the store of your choice (eg,, but the choice is entirely up to you). All you have to do to win is:

1) be a follower of my blog via the link on the left (email followers will not be included) and
2) leave a comment stating you would like to be entered into the draw.

It's that easy!

I will close the draw at 5am GMT on 10th March 2019, after which the Random Number Generator will choose a winner and I'll add the name to the bottom of the March FFG SAL link-up post, so keep an eye out for that. I'll get the voucher out once emails have been exchanged and your store selected.

Good luck!
Rachel x

Saturday 2 March 2019

People's Choice SAL - Freebies

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. Pop over to her blog to see who else has linked up to her post.

This month's theme is freebies.

Oh, where to start? There must be thousands of free charts available on the internet, covering just about every topic you could wish for. I'm certain we could all stitch our lives away without having to ever buy another chart again if we just stitched freebies, providing we weren't too fussy and enjoyed those available, that is.

I've been through all of my projects and have counted 25 stitched freebies. In no particular order, all of the following were freebies. I've added links where I can:

From Dragon Dreams My Treasure and the Four Elemental Dragons:

From (link to front page only) Birds With Umbrella and four Mr Men - Daydream, Greedy, Happy and Rush:


From Durene Jones (link supplied later) a Cute Animal Calendar (sneakily counted as 12 finishes) and a Snowman (whose snow I ruined by adding jewel metallic thread and which I'm going to frog and replace with Kreinik blending filament):

And, of course, the monthly charts from Palkolap which I'm currently stitching in Birthstone colours:

As for my stash, I have loads of freebie charts I've picked up over the years but honestly doubt I'll stitch many of them. You know how it is though... you see something and it's free and you think that it might come in handy one day.

EDIT: I had originally posted a selection of the charts with each link below but have now removed them. They might be free but I was still wrestling with my conscience as to whether or not it was OK to show them. Opinion is divided but I have removed them to be safe rather than sorry. The links still work though, so you can still find the charts through those.

For lovers of retro-style and cats these freebies from are ideal. I liked them when I saw them but can't imagine I'll stitch them now.

For those who have or would like to stitch for young (grand)children here are 11 colourful toys from I think these would look great as a mobile or stitched on an afghan or finished off as cubes... I just need an excuse to stitch them!

Durene Jones posts a free chart on her Facebook page every Friday so if you like her style they're well worth a look. I have quite a few lined up ready for the Smalls SAL over the next few years, including cute cats, even cuter dogs and some Halloween, Seasonal and Christmas projects.

And finally (phew!) I'm collecting these free geometric-style charts from for my mum. She can't cope with large or complicated patterns so these are ideal. There are currently 31 available, with 48 planned in total. I'd love to stitch them all, and even though numerous colour versions and ways to finish them have been shown on the blog (well worth a look) I honestly don't know what I would do with them.

I could go on for much longer but think that's enough freebies for you all to be getting on with!

One thing's for sure... I'm thoroughly going to enjoy seeing what other participants have stitched or shown in the way of freebies. What a good excuse for totally guilt-free stash enhancing!

ANOTHER EDIT: I've been reading a few other People's Choice SAL postings and also want to add about not sharing pictures of non-free charts (as both pictures or emails) or downloading them from the internet (Pinterest being the obvious site from which this is easily achievable). Respect copyright.

Take care,
Rachel x