Friday 29 May 2020

Smalls SAL - May 2020

Hello all!

It's the last Friday of the month so time for the Smalls SAL. Thank you, Mary, for continuing to host 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.

This month's piece was another I 'inherited' from my mum and is from the same series as the Polar Bear Cub I stitched a couple of months ago. After stitching the Polar Bear Cub on flimsy fabric, this fabric was the complete opposite; the cotton is so thick that the holes are tiny! It was well worth the perseverance though as it stitched up a treat.

Duckling by Heritage Crafts
Stitch Count 25 wide by 36 high
Stitched on 32ct Sparkle Snow murano 2 over 2
Started - 1st May 2020
Finished - 29th May 2020
Total stitching time - 6 hours 20 minutes

In this Smalls SAL I'm also re-showing other qualifying small projects I've stitched during the month. This month it's just my Monarch, the always-hungry Edward IV:

Next month's Smalls SAL, it will be something from Australia I think.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 25 May 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #8 Mouse Reading Book

Hello all!

Welcome to another post about the mad new start binge Tiff and Annie and I are undertaking between April and July in our attempt to start 17 new projects over 17 weekends. Pop over to their blogs to see what they've been up to too.

This week I went for another cutie, one of a collection of 30 Merry Mice.

There are probably a dozen or so I would like to stitch so it was just a case of whittling it down to which one first. I decided on number 21 which I have aptly named Mouse Reading Book! Here's a closer picture:

I didn't have too bad a weekend for stitching so managed to achieve a good amount, including some backstitching:

Mouse Reading Book by CutePatternsbyMaria (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Glacier over-dyed aida by
Stitching time to date - 5 hours 5 minutes

I've just realised that all four projects I've started this month have been on blue fabric so next week, and to mark the half-way point of this binge, I'm definitely going for a different colour. How does purple with white stars sound?

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 22 May 2020

A Monarch A Month - Edward IV

Hello all!

Time for another Monarch Of The Month and another History lesson. This time it's monarch number sixteen, Edward IV, doing something he enjoyed a lot - eating!

Edward IV from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 4th May 2020
Finished - 22nd May 2020
Total stitching time - 4 hours 30 minutes

Edward's ascendancy more or less brought The Wars Of The Roses to an end, with the House of York claiming victory over the House Of Lancaster as to who had a better claim to the throne.

However, behind these events, and those of the following decade, was Edward's cousin, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick - the Kingmaker - and I have had to be careful not to make this about him, as he was instrumental in many events in Edward's life including Edward's ascendancy and the return of Henry VI. Switching allegiances, depending on what would benefit him the most, was certainly Warwick's way of life!

Preceded by Henry VI (father's cousin)
Succeeded by Edward V (son)
Lived - 1442-1483
Reigned - 1461-1470 and 1471-1483
Married - Elizabeth Woodville 1464
Fathered - 3 legitimate sons, 7 legitimate daughters, and a handful of illegitimate children

Edward IV became king, twice, by deposing his father's cousin, Henry VI, twice!

Compared to the mentally fragile and indecisive Henry, Edward's confidence and overall demeanour made him appealing.

Edward's first reign began after the defeat of Henry VI in 1461 the Battle of Towton. Henry went into hiding, his wife and son fled to France, and Edward was crowned Edward IV.

In 1464 Edward married Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of a former prominent Lancastrian. It was a politically cunning marriage but also hugely unpopular, especially with Warwick.

Edward faced three coups from his brother, George, and Warwick, one in 1469 and two in 1470. The first two were unsuccessful and led to George and Warwick fleeing to France. However, after joining forces with Henry's VI's wife and son, the third was successful and the deposed Henry VI was restored to the throne.

But Edward fought back, defeating both Warwick and Henry's son in the Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury in 1471. Henry was captured, imprisoned and 'conveniently' died a few days later, leaving Edward King once more.

George was forgiven and restored to favour, only to be executed for treason in 1478 after, among other things, questioning the legitimacy of both Edward and his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.

Edward became ill in 1483 and died a short while later. He is buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor.

Prior to his death he named his other brother, Richard, Protector to his eldest son and heir, Edward, a decision not popular with Elizabeth who feared Richard and his plans. How right she was!

So next month, young Edward V.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 18 May 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #7 Winnie The Pooh 2/5

Hi all!

Believe it or not, we are already at week 7 of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge, an attempt to start 17 new projects during the 17 weekends in April, May, June and July. There have been a few hiccups along the way but generally it's been so far so good.

Here are Tiff's and Annie's new starts this week.

For my seventh start I chose the second in the set of 5 Winnie The Pooh designs. In the first one he was eating the hunny, now in this one he's realised it's all gone!

Here's my progress over the weekend.

Winnie The Pooh And the Hunny Pot 2/5 by Designer Stitches
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue Sky over-dyed aida by
Stitching time to date - 5 hours 30 minutes

Stitching time is mostly very limited again but, thanks to the non-Eurovision Song Contest being on this weekend (which is an annual MUST watch) I was able to complete a good amount. I've discovered, though, that these designs are deceivingly larger than they look and will take me a lot longer to stitch than originally estimated. Not that it matters; a project is a project.

For start number eight ext week a cute little mouse will make an appearance.

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #6 Basket Case

Hello all!

So it's now week six of this new start madness Tiff and Annie and I are undertaking to replace what would have been the Tokyo Olympic Stitching Challenge. That challenge was to start 17 new projects during the 17 days of the Olympics but, with the Olympics being postponed, the challenge is to now start 17 projects over the 17 weekends in April to July.

So far it has not been smooth sailing, with colour, frog and fabric issues, but those hitches haven't dented our spirit to carry on.

Last week I mentioned I was torn between a cat or mouse as my next new start. Nobody commented they would like to see the mouse, so the cat it was. Unfortunately, due to the size of the cat compared to the complete picture it will be a long time before the cat (what there is of it!) actually appears, but the thought is there.

This week's start, then, is Basket Case by Heritage Crafts.

It's based on the Little Black Cat artwork of Toni Goffe, some of whose work I have already stitched:

Although it's full coverage I decided to stick with the same fabric I used for Cream, Coffee, Sugar and Tea above. Here's my progress over the weekend. Nothing exciting to see so far but at least there's more than one colour - just!

Basket Case by Heritage Crafts
Stitched on 32ct Light Blue murano evenweave
Stitching time to date - 2 hours 45 minutes

I really really don't want to put this one down, but away it must go if I've got any chance of completing this month's 'compulsory' stitching.

Next week I'll be starting number two in the series featuring a certain bear of very little brain.

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday 10 May 2020

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - May 2020

Hello all!

It's the 10th of the month so time for another Fully Finished Gallery SAL, the place to show your FFOing achievements since your last link-up.

The link-up for this SAL opens on the 10th of each month and stays open for 10 days so, even if you have nothing FFOd today, or tomorrow, or the day after that, you still have plenty of time to join in.

I managed four FFOs this month, starting with a trio of Halloween projects. Remember these Dark Shadows pieces stitched last year? They were named by me as Candelabra, Bird Candelabra and Chandelier:

Well, they now look like this:

They were all very simple to finish. I attached the stitching to some card, with some wadding in between, and then attached those to a black piece of card which had been covered on the back with glittered black felt. The backing card was cut slightly bigger than needed so as to allow space to attach the twisted-together black and orange tinsel wool. The orange wool clashes somewhat with the purple fabric but doesn't look wrong as it matches the flames. Anyway, orange and purple are two staple Halloween colours so that justifies my choice!

Next up was Snow Globe Tree which I started last year, finished this year and decided to fully-finish as a scrapbook page. There were three reasons behind this. Firstly, I wanted to do something different to an ornie, secondly, I have only completed one other cross stitched scrapbook page, and thirdly I've recently been looking through all my scrapbook stash and when I saw the paper all the ideas I had just fell into place. So here's what I came up with:

As well as the obvious stitching in the middle, there are various lengths of Christmas Tree lights strung across the top of the page, some winter tree ribbon at the bottom, and a row of Christmas Trees around the central circular cut-out. For reference, the page measures 8" by 8" I'm really pleased with how this turned out and hope to make more scrapbook pages when the right pieces are finished.

And that's it for me this month. Now it's over to you to show what you have finished.

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 May.

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

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 page with the number of entrants and entries. Last month there were 11 participants with another 25 FFOs, making 151 FFOs so far in 2020. That's brilliant!

Next month's post will go live on 10th June at 6am UK time. Hope to see you there!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 4 May 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #5 Winnie The Pooh 1/5

Hi all!

So here we are already into the second of four months of this mad new start binge, the aim of which is to start a new project for each of the 17 weekends in April, May, June and July.

Joining me are Tiff and Annie.

This is week number five, so start number five, which just also happens to be the first in a set of five. It's from the Winnie The Pooh Honey, Trees and Bees booklet by Designer Stitches.

The main reason I'm starting this set is because I found this fabric. It's perfect for what I have in mind when all five pieces are eventually finished.

As for the stitching itself, I had a little more success than last weekend so made a fairly good start on his head:

Winnie The Pooh and Hunny Pot 1/5 by Designer Stitches
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue Sky over-dyed aida
Stitching time to date - 2 hours

I do have the actual Winnie The Pooh Designer Threads skein pack but didn't use it as I'm not sure I have enough of the Pooh colour for all five pieces. There isn't an exact DMC colour match so this is 3821 which is just about right I think. Shame I didn't get around to doing his eyes and cute little black nose!

Next weekend's start will either be a cat or a mouse, I haven't decided. Any preference?

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 2 May 2020

People's Choice SAL - Fire

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 fire.

This is a very empty category for me. In fact I can only think of one finished project and one WIP.

The finished project is Fire Dragon by Dragon Dreams. This was stitched back in 2015 along with the other three elemental dragons, Air, Water and Earth:

The WIP is Tribal Dragon by Thread Geeks, one of many of Anne Stokes' dragons designs. I've spent just over a week on it so far so still have a very long way to go:

As for what's in my stash, the only thing fire-related is Skeleton's Stew by Stoney Creek. This will probably be on my Olympic 2021 list.

Skeleton's Stew LFT306 booklet

Thinking of fire, I'm also thinking of phoenixes. The following chart is one I keep looking at but will never buy as it's just too big and would never get finished. This is Autumn Phoenix by Paine Free Crafts. He might be moulting a few feathers but still looks very healthy for a phoenix so I'm guessing he's not long been reborn.

Finally, this popped into my mind. I know someone stitched it a few years ago - Katie? - and it still tickles me. It's Warm Winter Wishes by Waxing Moon Designs.

Waxing Moon Designs Warm Winter Wishes - Cross Stitch Pattern ...

Now I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has posted on this theme. I've deliberately left out the fire service so hope I'll find that somewhere along the line.

Next month's theme is dragonflies.

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 1 May 2020

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - April Challenges

Hi all,

Time already for yet another monthly posting for the #24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenge, the brainchild of Jen from QuirksandStitches, where we have fun matching our stitching for the month to various challenges. I also find it a convenient way of rounding up my accomplishments for the month. Here goes then...

1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month, including a minimum of 24 minutes each day
April stated off well, very well in fact, but then became more than a bit of a washout towards the end of the month. I managed a total stitching time of 30 hours and 5 minutes, but 10 of the days saw only 5-10 minutes of stitching, and that's not good. Mais, c'est la vie.

2) Fill in the acrostic SUN & SHADOW, explain the connections and pick a 24 minute, 4 hour, 8 hour, (or other) goal for each letter.
Here are the projects I wanted to work on during April, and how much I actually achieved:

S - Kings And Queens by Bothy Threads (WIP)
Connection - this monarch will complete the second row
Goal - start and finish (about 4 hours?)
Actual - 3h 30m

U - In The Gloaming by Whispered By The Wind (new start)
Connection - the scene is under a full moon
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 2h 40m

N - Snuffles by FuzzyFoxDesigns (new start)
Connection - Snuffles is obviously a very nice dragon
Goal - start and finish (about 4 hours?)
Actual - 4h 35m

& - Advent Days 6, 7 and 16 by JBW Designs (WIPs)
Connection - because I wanted to finish this one & this & this one
Goal - finish all three (about 3 hours?)
Actual - all three finished in exactly 3 hours!

S - The Loneliness Of Autumn by Artecy (2020 WIP)
Connection - I should be starting my second colour
Goal - 10 hours of progress
Actual - only 5 hours - PARTIAL FAILURE

H - Humming Along by Heritage Crafts (new start)
Connection - the hummingbird
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 5h 5m

A - Pretty Little Toronto by Satsuma Street (new start)
Connection - started on our wedding anniversary
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual- only 20 minutes - PARTIAL FAILURE
(you have to squint to see it!)

D - Chick Berry by Heritage Crafts (new start)
Connection - those berries look delicious
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 5h 55m

O - Grow Your Own by Bothy Threads (2019 WIP)
Connection - I'm going to stitch some orange carrots
Goal - at least 4 hours of progress

W - Hogwarts In A Bottle by CutePatternsByMaria (2019 WIP)
Connection - whoo whoo - it's a train!
Goal - 10 hours of progress

So that's the goals met for six of the letters, partially met for two and not met at all on the remaining two. A fair month I think, all things considered.

3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. Because of trebling up on the &, there were 12 projects in there altogether. So here are the 12 connective holidays, one for each:

Day 1 - National Walking Day - The Loneliness Of Autumn - sometimes during a walk in the park a rest may be needed on a conveniently situated bench.

Day 2 - Reconciliation Day - Kings And Queens - the monarch this month, Henry VI, may have wanted peace between England and France and to reconcile the two countries under one crown but he ultimately failed, and spectacularly. At least the thought was there.

Day 6 - Plan Your Epitaph Day - In The Gloaming - a mausoleum is bound to have a epitaph of some sort on it.

Day 8 - Draw A Picture Of A Bird Day - Chick Berry - Valerie Pfeiffer loves her little birds and it was a pleasure to start cross stitching one of her drawings.

Day 9 - Name Yourself Day - Snuffles - Snuffles is such a cute name I might find myself changing my own name by deed poll!

Day 16 - National Stress Awareness Day - Grow Your Own - gardening is a good way of relaxing and relieving stress, especially if there are products to eat at the end of it!

Day 22 - National Jelly Bean Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - who can forget Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans? There may have been regular flavours, but would you take your chance if there were also earwax, vomit and bogey flavours in the bag?

Day 23 - Take A Chance Day - Advent Day 7 Ice Skates - if I had the opportunity, would I ever go ice-skating again and take the chance I would not incur an injury? Probably not!

Day 25 - East Meets West Day - Pretty Little Toronto - we travelled from the east to the west when we went to Toronto.

Day 27 - Tell A Story Day - Advent Day 6 Snowman - Raymond Briggs' The Snowman is one of those stories which crosses all generations and is just as popular every Christmas as it was when it first aired in 1984. Plus, it shows you don't need words to tell a story.

Day 29 - Greenery Day - Humming Along - the gorgeous hummingbird is surrounded by greenery.

Day 30 - National Honesty Day - Advent Day 17 Angel - being honest is one of many reasons for being called a 'little angel'.

4) Additional 'Just For Fun' Challenge: list 24 stitching snacks.
I find cross stitching a good excuse not to nibble, as keeping hands clean is more important than putting snacks into the mouth and either having to wipe hands each time or risk a sticky needle. So most snacks, such as crisps and nuts, are completely out of bounds.

However, I can often be found with a fruit salad beside me, this having been cut up into small pieces, sprinkled with chopped nuts and desiccated coconut and accompanied by a spoon. Not only does this solve the sticky hands issue but it's actually a stealthy way of healthy nibbling!

And that's my #24 for April; back again at the end of May with the next one!

Take care,
Rachel x

PS To repeat the broken record, I am months behind on replying to emails and about three weeks behind on reading most blogs (some are longer). I'm trying my best to catch up!