Friday 31 March 2023

Smalls SAL - March 2023

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.

For the third month in a row I completed more of Durene Jones' Red And White Advent Calendar; only three though, as I was focusing more on the Mischievous March new starts:

Red And White Advent Calendar Day 8 Bauble by Durene Jones
Stitched on 16ct white with silver lurex aida using a blend of DMC 603 and DMC Etoile 603
Started - 24th February 2023
Finished - 26th February 2023
Total Stitching time - 3 hours 55 minutes

Red And White Advent Calendar Day 24 Penguin by Durene Jones
Stitched on 16ct white with silver lurex aida using a blend of DMC 995 and DMC Etoile 995
Started - 27th February 2023
Finished - 1st March 2023
Total Stitching time - 3 hours 30 minutes

Red And White Advent Calendar Day 3 House by Durene Jones
Stitched on 16ct white with silver lurex aida using a blend of DMC 699 and DMC Etoile 699
Started - 8th March 2023
Finished - 10th March 2023
Total Stitching time - 3 hours 55 minutes

That's now 16 out of the 24 completed. Not sure how many I'll complete in April, but more than one would be good.

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 29 March 2023

April A-Z Challenge 2023

Morning all!

Despite planning to have no plans this year, 2023 is becoming a year of 'months'; January and February were finishing WIPs, March was new starts, July will be Christmas, October will be Dark October, and November probably more new starts. So what about the other months?

Well, I have a definite idea for May, and here's a (maddish) plan for April...

Back in the mid 2010s, an April A-Z Challenge was circulating around blogland, not just to do with stitching, but anything A-Z related. The Challenge was to do/make/whatever something related to a letter of the alphabet each day throughout the month of April (excluding Sundays) starting with A at the beginning and finishing with Z at the end.

In 2016 I joined in, stitching a Humerous Alphabet project and posting that day's letter along with some other letter-related things (the label is on the left if you want to take a more in-depth look).

Since then, I haven't wanted to undertake another. However...

Whilst looking through my list of WIPs, deciding which ones to finish next, I noticed that they covered most letters of the alphabet. So I thought, how about reviving the A-Z Challenge by working on an A-Z of 26 WIPs during April?

It's actually not as mad as it first seems; firstly, I'll only be working on WIPs (something I would have done anyway) and secondly, the 'fun-factor' of working on each project will determine whether or not it progresses onto my short-list of WIPs to finish this year; it'll be a bit of a trial-run I suppose.

To fit the whole alphabet into the month (and there will have to be some shoe-horning for the more 'difficult' letters) I'll have to stitch on the first Sunday. The other four Sundays will then be used to post round-ups of the previous week's progress.

It's going to be a busy month, especially with all the regular SAL posts still going on around it, but it's something different and something I'm really excited about. Wish me luck!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 27 March 2023

Mischievous March New Start #4 - Hot Springs National Park

Hello there!

My goodness! This has just been the final weekend of Mischievous March; where has the month gone?! 

For the final start I chose Hot Springs National Park (column 4 row 5) as I fancied stitching a waterfall, albeit a small one!

Hot Springs, located in Arkansas and covering an area of just 22.5km2, was designated a National Park in 1921. It had been the first 'Reserve' to be created in 1832 and until 2018, when Gateway Arch NP was created, had been the smallest National Park. Here's my start over the weekend:

Hot Springs National Park from 63 US National Parks by TeenyWeenyXStitch (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Antique White aida
Stitching time to date - 2 hours 40 minutes

I've had a really good month of starts and stitching, but now it's time for a change. My next post will reveal something completely different for April.

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 24 March 2023

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 270 hours

Hello everyone!


My last post on this was 28th February 2022, when Leonore said she was going to take a small break from this SAL; who would have known then that it was me who was going to be absent for a whole year!

But things are looking up in 2023 and I feel ready to cope with this one again.

The first thing I did during this 10 hours was finish off 919, red copper, on pages 14-16 (bottom right). That took me up to the following statistics at the end of colour 12 - 50.08% complete after 264 hours 30 minutes and 33,621 stitches. Here are the end-of 11th and 12 colour comparison pictures at what is now officially just over the half way mark... woo-hoo!!!

The remaining 5 hours and 30 minutes were then used to make a good start on colour number 13, 898 very dark coffee brown. This is sparsely distributed in the top half, and slightly denser in the bottom half, so given that I only completed the top half, you probably won't notice a lot of difference but, trust me, it's there!

Now that I'm officially over half way through I'm no longer going to show the comparisons at the end of each colour, mainly because each colour should take between 8-12 hours so those photos will be similar to the ten hour progress ones. However, they will still appear on the dedicated page tab at the top if you're interested.

Now that I'm back with this, let's hope I can keep it up!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 20 March 2023

Mischievous March New Start #3 - Rocky Mountain National Park

Hello again!

Week three already, and this week I chose to start Rocky Mountain National Park (column 8 row 2).

Rocky Mountain was designated a National Park in 1915 and covers 1,076km2 in Colorado. The colours and design are similar to Grand Teton, but different enough to keep it interesting. Here's my weekend start:

Rocky Mountain National Park from 63 US National Parks by TeenyWeenyXStitch (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Antique White aida
Stitching time to date - 5 hours 15 minutes

Like previously, I won't give away how much of last week's Grand Canyon I completed before starting Rocky Mountain, but will say it's been a very successful month so far ;)

I'll be back next Monday with the fourth and final MM new start, although there will be a surprise post between this one and that!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 17 March 2023

Autumnal Baby Dragon - finished!

And hello again!

I was hoping to squeeze another finish into February, and only failed by two days because of waiting for a delivery of beads. But with MM in full flow, I forgot to post this finish so here it is now!

This is Autumnal Baby Dragon (did you guess from ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿ‰?!) the first of the 17 projects started for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Stitching Challenge. Here's my start from that day:

Between October and December last year, when I was stitching for only 5-10 minutes per day, this was the project I worked on every one of those days. It may have only been a few stitches but 5-10 minutes each day all added up, meaning by the end of the year I'd achieved this much:

That left just a little bit of stitching, all the backstitching and some french knots (aka beads) to add. So now they're done, here's the finished piece:

Autumnal Baby Dragon by PatternsBySAstitch (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Tea Stain over-dyed aida
Started - 23rd July 2021
Finished - 2nd March 2023
Total stitching time - 23 hours 10 minutes

I don't 'love' the beads but, to me, they are far better than suffering the pain of french knots! I do, however, love the whole design, especially as it combines two of my favourite things - dragons and autumn.

That's now eight WIPs whipped so far this year; 2023 is definitely off to a good start!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 13 March 2023

Mischievous March New Start #2 - Grand Canyon National Park

Hi all!

For week two of Mischievous March I chose what is probably the most famous natural land formation in the US, the Grand Canyon (column 9 row 6).

Grand Canyon National Park, covering an area of 4,863km2 in Arizona, was designated a National Park in 1919. I chose it more because of its famous status than the design, although do like the blend of the sepia sky with the orange and claret rock. Here's my start over the weekend; only five rows away from reaching the bottom:

Grand Canyon National Park from 63 US National Parks by TeenyWeenyXStitch (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Antique White aida
Stitching time to date - 4 hours 10 minutes

I won't give away how much of last week's new start, Grand Teton, I completed before starting this one, but wonder if I can achieve the same before starting the third one next Saturday ;)

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 10 March 2023

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery - March 2023

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 you can join in whenever you're ready.

For March it's just more Advent ornies, the five I stitched for last month's Smalls SAL. Here's more bling for the Bell, Wreath, Presents, Elf Hat and Candy Cane:

Now it's your turn.

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 support fellow fully-finish-offers!

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

* * * * * * * * * *

And now for the winner of my blogoversary competition.

I asked, given that 16ct aida is my preferred go-to fabric, how many of the 451 projects I've started have been on evenweave.

Thank you to everyone who took part.

The actual answer is 27 - and even I was surprised at how low this number was! I don't dislike evenweave (although I do detest linen!) so will have to ensure this number somewhat increases in the future.

So Leonore was the closest, with a guess of 37. Congratulations! If you either leave a comment or email me separately we'll start a conversation as to your prize. :)

Hopefully this time next year there will be another blogoversary and another giveaway, so if you didn't win this year, try again in 2024!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 6 March 2023

Mischievous March New Start #1 - Grand Teton National Park

Hi all!

Welcome to Mischievous March 2023!

After saying I had no real plans for 2023, the temptation for Mischievous March began to creep in and I could no longer resist!

For those who don't know, MM is a mini new start binge, aimed at containing that new start craving by starting four 'small' projects during the month - one each weekend - and posting about them the following Monday.

My track record at actually finishing these new starts is not that good though, as I still have one from 2021 and three from 2022 to complete. But this year I am dedicating March almost exclusively to these four new starts so, with any luck, they should also become four finishes.

The projects I have chosen are all mini landscapes of US National Parks by TeenyWeenyXStitch on etsy. Although there are some I'm not so keen on, I thought they were all quite detailed for their size (roughly 40x45). Here's TeenyWeenyXStitch's collage of 60 of the 63:

The first National Park I chose, simply because I like the scene and the colours, was Grand Teton in Wyoming (column 1 row 3). This park covers an area of 1,300km2 and was designated a National Park in 1929.

Because I made Saturday a stitching day, I achieved a huge amount over the weekend:

Grand Teton from 63 US National Parks by TeenyWeenyXStitch (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Antique White aida
Stitching time to date - 8 hours 5 minutes

So far so good then. Fingers crossed this will become a finish before the second new start next Saturday.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 4 March 2023

People's Choice SAL - Science

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 Science.

With a bit of shoe-horning, just about anything could be defined as 'science'. Often it's divided into Biology, Chemistry and Physics (three subjects I absolutely hated at school!) but those are very broad subject headings.

I can't recall stitching anything related to Science, so have done my usual trawl through etsy.

There are loads of Biology charts available but I am not drawn towards stitching the internal organs of the human body or structures of viruses! I did, however, find this version of DNA by HipsterStitchInc, which is a little less gory!

For Chemisty, here's the obvious Periodic Table. Learning the order of elements was about the only thing in Chemistry I did enjoy! This version is by HollysHobbiesUK:

I also found this chart called Beaker(s)! by ScienceAndStitchery. I like charts that have a clever sense of humour:

I seem to be drawn towards potion bottles at the moment and, since bottles can be used to hold chemical concoctions, I'm shoe-horning them into Chemistry.

I have finished Elixir Of Life, started Elixir Of Luck, and am patiently waiting to begin the other Elixirs. These are currently not available on etsy as the designer, CrazyBlendShop, is based in Russia.

As for Physics, well, when my daughter is studying Astro/Nuclear/Quantum/Thermo Physics at uni I have to show some sort of interest! Since Maths is closely linked to Physics, I'm going to shoe-horn that in too.

Years ago, when we all sat around the dinner table together, we would often talk about maths and try to remember pi to as many places as possible. This is Apple Pi by NerdyLittleStitcher, another clever chart (assuming it's correct!)

And, to finish, here is a set of Comedy Science Christmas Trees by ClimbingGoatDesigns. Again, it's another design with clever play on words (in fact Clare has designed lots of interesting and clever Christmas trees, including dragons, mermaids, and one for cross stitchers if you're interested...)

So there's my trawl through Science. Next month's theme is TBA.

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 3 March 2023

Ninth Blogoversary Giveaway

Good morning all!

It's 9:22am on the 3rd March 2023 so it's Happy Ninth Blogoversary to me!!

Wow! Is it really nine years?! I wasn't sure if I'd make it this far, but I'm still here, with the usual thank yous for your continued support and comments. Time really has flown but the friendships between those of us who remain hasn't waivered. What a lovely little community we are!

Blogoversary time means it's time for my annual blogoversary quiz giveaway. Up for grabs, as usual, is an e-voucher for the store of your choice to the value of £10 (or local currency equivalent) or a RAK or suchlike for a similar value. I'm always open to suggestions from the winner.

All you have to do is:
1) be a follower of my blog via the followers thingy on the left
2) leave a comment on this post with an answer to the following question...

Bearing in mind 16ct aida is my preferred fabric choice, out of 451 projects started how many do you think have been on evenweave?

The winner will be the one who guesses closest to the actual number (whether that be higher or lower). In the event of a tie I will offer the appropriate number of prizes.

Only one entry per person will be accepted.

Entries will close at 5am GMT on 10th March 2023, so you have just under a week to leave a comment. The answer (which I don't yet know myself!) and winner(s) will be announced at the end of the 10th March FFG SAL link-up post, so keep an eye out for that - it's up to you to contact me, otherwise you will lose out! I'll get the prize(s) out once confirmation emails have been exchanged.

Good luck guessing!
Rachel x