Saturday, 15 January 2022

Mouse Lighting Candle - finished!

Greetings one and all!

I have a finish! The first of hopefully many this year.

Mouse Lighting Candle was start number seven during the Tokyo Olympics and one of the projects on my list of 'vaguely planned finishes for 2022'.

At the beginning of January I thought I'd put in a couple of hours to get the ball rolling, but a couple of hours turned into a few more and before I knew it I'd completed the candle, then the mouse, and had only the backstitching left... and I couldn't leave it there, could I? So within a few days he'd gone from this... this

Mouse Lighting Candle (my title) from Merry Mice by CutePatternsByMaria (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Glacier over-dyed aida
Stitch count 39 wide by 70 high
Started - 31st July 2021
Finished - 9th January 2022
Total stitching time - 15 hours 25 minutes

I absolutely adore him!

Maria designed Hogwarts In A Bottle (if you can remember that) so I knew what to expect from her backstitching, i.e. the more complicated the better! Some is stitched in one strand, some in two, and nearly all of it breaks the aida, meaning longstitching with couching is often a better option. I knew there was a reason I'd written (but ignored) 'evenweave' in big letters on the chart! It was a bit of a nightmare, but the result is well worth it.

I've started three more of these Merry Mice, all on the same fabric, so know I've got lots more backstitching 'fun' to look forward to!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday, 10 January 2022

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - January 2022

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.

And here's the new logo for 2022 if you want to grab it.

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.

But before delving into this month's FFOs, let's take a look back at 2021.

In 2021, 303 FFOs were submitted by 18 different bloggers - lower than the 389 and 394 FFOs submitted in the previous two years, but that's not surprising given fewer participants and the fact those Boxes/Drawers/Cupboards Of Shame must be a little emptier by now! Thank you all so much for continuing to contribute. There's been over 1000 FFOs in the last three years, and that's quite astonishing, especially when my initial hope was for 100 per year!

For those who like statistics, here's how many participated and how many entries were received each month during 2021:

There's an obvious peak at the beginning of the year, after which it's relatively steady. January definitely stands out again; in fact 20% of the total for the year were submitted in January alone (and, personally, 50% of my own 34 FFOs!)

This FFG SAL isn't competitive, but I do have to shout-out to:

* Leonore and Suzanne who linked up with FFOs every month.
* Suzanne who submitted the most FFOs during the year with 56.
* Sarah who submitted the most entries in one month with 14 in January.
* and Jo, who although had no FFO in December, did link up every month, and with a very useful December round-up of her FFOing achievements for the year.

And to everyone who participated -a big THANK YOU!

Now let's see what 2022 brings, starting with my contribution for January.

I'm going to start off this year with one of my top ten finishes, Parrot On Parade by Bothy Threads which was finished, believe it or not, back in April 2019! Mr Scruffy was easy to frame as I knew straight away I wanted just a simple red frame to match his feathers. And had just what I wanted in 13mm red stain. Less is more again:

Second is a little ornie. This was last September's Smalls SAL piece, Green Patchwork Hootie, and has been finished in my usual style with coordinating fabric and barley twist cord:

Just two for me this month, now it's over to you.

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 January.

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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 February at 6am UK time. Hope to see you there!

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday, 2 January 2022

People's Choice SAL - Designer Of 2022

Hello all!

It's the first Saturday of the month (well, Sunday because I posted my 2022 plans yesterday and don't like doing two posts in one day) 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 Designer of 2022, i.e. the designer I am looking forward to stitching the most.

Oooh, this should be a difficult one as there are so many to choose from! But one stands out above all others, and that is Hannah Dale, aka Wrendale Designs, for Bothy Threads.

So far I've only finished one of her designs, Parrot On Parade, and this year am desperate to finish Grow Your Own, or Walter as I've called him. My spreadsheet tells me he needs about another 50 hours of work to stitch all those yummy vegetables, and I know I'm going to enjoy every single one of them!

Grow Your Own

I have quite a few Hannah Dale things in the house, most of which have been gifts, as well as a few of her cross stitch kits. Luckily, not all of her characters appeal to me, but that still leaves an awful lot which do!

In future years I am hoping to work on at least one, if not all, of the following designs as I've decided I have to have a Hannah Dale somewhere among my WIPs. But which one to choose first?!

Crackers About Cheese

He's A Fun-Gi

Spice And Everything Mice

Hmmm... bit of a mouse theme going on there!!!

I wondered whether I would get bored stitching nothing but Hannah Dale designs for a whole year and I honestly don't think I would. And there's probably not many designers I, or anyone, could say that about!

But that's not all - I'd like to be really cheeky here and share a completely new-to-me designer I 'happened' to come across on etsy. She's called SugarStitchesDesign and mainly concentrates on months, Christmas and Halloween. I'm not really interested in the first two, but her Halloween 'BOOville' designs (and the way they're FFOd) really appeal to me. There are currently 12 in the series and, at the moment, they're only on my wishlist, but who knows when that will change! Here are my favourite four:

I have a feeling one or two fellow bloggers might like these, so I make no apologies for any enabling!!

And that's where I'll end. Next month's theme is Snow; probably perfect timing for the UK!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 1 January 2022

2022 Stitching Plans

Good morning everybody, and Happy New Year!!

After a couple a relatively up and down (although still very productive) years, I'm hoping that 2022 will be rather more smooth-sailing. But whether it is or isn't, here are my stitching plans for 2022.


Going chronologically through the year, then...

1) CONTINUE STITCHING Kings and Queens at one monarch each month. I missed 6 months last year but am now back into the swing of it. There are 11 monarchs left to stitch and then in the 12th month I shall add the names of the heirs in the space on the bottom right. One more monarch has been completed since this photo:

 The Loneliness Of Autumn at 10 hours per month, colour by colour
. This should take me from about 45% to about 67% complete with the addition of about 10-12 colours. Here is how it stands at the end of 2021. Colours to come in 2022 include yellows, oranges, light browns and (finally) a nice brightish blues:

3) SMALLS SAL - stitch one small project each month for Mary's link-up. I like the fact this SAL gives me a new start and quick finish every month and have already chosen charts for eight of the twelve months; the jury is still out on the other four.

4) WINTER OLYMPICS (4th to 20th February) - NO NEW STARTS but hope to complete the winter-themed Let's Be Frozen. There are about 24 hours of stitching left to fit in 
over the course of the 17 days:

5) WINTER PARALYMPICS (4th to 13th March) - NO NEW STARTS but aim to finish the 10 dragons which I started during the Tokyo Paralympics. I have been quietly working on them so that there is only about an hour left to stitch on each one. No progress pictures, but this is how they looked after their initial one day of stitching:

NB the Winter Paralympics overlaps with:

6) MISCHIEVOUS MARCH - start four projects over the four weekends of March and finish them all soon after. I keep changing my mind about which four I want to start but I have at least narrowed it down to two new-to-me designers! There will be a link-up if you would like to join me.

7) CHRISTMAS IN JULY - NO NEW STARTS but continue with Lizzie Kate's Merry Christmas By The Letter which I started for Christmas In July last year and continued with the week after Christmas. Except for the buttons, I've now completed 8/16 blocks (slightly altering the heap of snow between the two words). My aim for July is another four sections:

8) DARK OCTOBER - NO NEW STARTS but hope to finish Haunted Library by Mill Hill. There's about 30 hours to go on this, so completing it during Dark October itself might be a bit of a squeeze:

9) NAUGHTY NOVEMBER - start four projects over the four weekends of November and finish them all before the end of the year. This is Moonset from Whispered By The Wind, the same company who designed Moonrise which I completed for Naughty November last year.  There will be a link-up if you would like to join me.

10) CHRISTMAS DAY - NO NEW STARTS but keep working on Lizzie Kate's Merry Christmas By The Letter. Whether it becomes a finish or not will partially depend on how much progress I make in July.

And then there are the:

11) PEOPLE'S CHOICE SAL - first Saturday of the month hosted by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching where we post around a theme for the month.

12) FULLY FINISHED GALLERY SAL - 10th of the month hosted by me(!) with the theme of finish-finishing stitched pieces rather than leaving them languishing in boxes, cupboards or drawers.

And then, if I've got time(!!!):

FINISH AS MANY OTHER WIPs AS POSSIBLE! This is a non-committal number so could be anything from 1 to 30 depending on how long I've got and which ones I choose. In an ideal world, my ultimate goal is to end 2022 with 22 fewer WIPs than I started with, so as 11 finishes are planned for the Olympics, that would ideally mean 11 more.

And finally...

As a reward, for every 10 WIPs I finish (as in those started in 2021 and prior) I will allow myself one new start. Yes, I want to significantly reduce my WIP pile, but all WIPs and no new starts (Smalls SAL, Mischievous March and Naughty November aside) could become demotivating. The new start could be anything, depending on my mood at the time.

Of course, all these plans assume life is steady and I don't get distracted or bitten by any additional tempting SALs. It's certainly not my intention, but one never knows what's just around the corner!

And that's it! Congratulations if you got this far without skipping anything!

I now look forward to reading your 2022 plans too.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and stitchy 2022,
Rachel x

Friday, 31 December 2021

2021 End Of Year Summary

Hello all!

Another year gone, and another year of lists coming up!

A few hiccups during 2021 meant the year didn't go quite according to plan and I didn't achieve all I set out to do. However, given that my plans were also very ambitious, I am extremely happy with how much I did achieve and am not complaining one little bit.

But before I get into the summary, I never showed you my Stitchmas Tree, so here it is. This is the first Stitchmas Tree I've decorated but won't be my last, although I might need a bigger tree next year!

On to the summary then. My 2021 plans were:

A Monarch A Month - stitch 12 monarchs ❌ only stitched six
The Loneliness Of Autumn - stitch for 120 hours ✅
Smalls SAL - stitch 12 small pieces, one per month ✅
Mischievous March - start four projects ✅ and finish all four projects ❌ only finished two
Christmas In July - start one project ✅ finish one WIP ❌ didn't even work on the WIP
Tokyo Olympics - start 17 new projects ✅
Dark October - start Magical Bookshelf ❌ sensibly postponed because of too many WIPs!!! πŸ˜‡
Naughty November - start four projects ✅ and finish all four projects ✅
Christmas Day - new start ❌ carried on with the Christmas In July piece instead πŸ˜‡

In addition:
Tokyo Paralympics - started 13 new unplanned projects πŸ˜‰
Finish lots of WIPs - finished 7 out of a potentially-planned 16
FFO as much as possible - could have done better but still reduced the amount in my BOS
SALs - joined in with People's Choice SAL, FFG SAL and Smalls SAL every month 😊

So lots of new starts and not that many finishes (in comparison) means my overall statistics are now as follows:

Number of WIPs brought forward from 2020 = 62 (including BAPs I may never work on again)
Plus number of new starts = 52
Less number of finishes = 26
Number of WIPs to carry forward into 2022 = 88 (well, at least it's not triple figures!!)

And here is the list of projects which make up those statistics. Those in red have been finished, those in black will be carried forward to 2022.

[I have been asked why I don't include pictures in this summary, and the simple answer is that there would just be too many! If you're interested in all my current WIPs and finishes this year there are page tabs at the top.]

1) Mythical Dragon (True Colors)
2) QS Emerald Dragon (HAED)
3) SK The History Of Chocolate (HAED)
4) QS Come Softly (HAED)
5) Mini Bookworm Fairy (HAED)
6) Mini The Owrd Lord (HAED)
7) Mini One (HAED)
8) Dolphin Ruins (Rabnann - ebay)
9) OMG Tigger Is Out (UnconventionalX - etsy)
10) Dragon Eye (not yet blogged)
11) Magnolia (not yet blogged)
12) Tribal Dragon (Thread Geeks)
13) Kings and Queens
14) The Loneliness Of Autumn
15) Ballerina
16) Giraffe
17) Greedy Robin
18) Friends For Life
19) Feline Groovy
20) Loves Me ... Love Me Not
21) Book Worm
22) Carefree Summer
23) A Tatty Friend
24) Dandelion Time
25) Flower Power
26) All Aboard The Walnut Shells
27) Christmas Wishes
28) Cuddly Feline Friends
29) Choc-A-Holic
30) I Love Butter
31) Good Morning Nelson
32) Winter Hugs
33) Lickle Snooze
34) A Windy Day
35) Little Green
36) Start Trek TOS
37) Clue
38) Evil Minions
39) Pandas
40) Haunted Library
41) Grow Your Own
42) In The Gloaming
43) Chick Berry
44) Humming Along
45) Pretty Little Toronto
46) Pooh 1 - Eating Hunny
47) Basket Case
48) Pooh 2 - Looking Into Empty Pot
49) Mouse Reading Book
50) Wonderful Fright
51) Happiness Delivery Couple
52) Pooh 3 - With Head On Ground
53) Lady In Red
54) Pooh 4 - Standing With Pot On Head
55) Simply Wren
56) Pooh 5 - Looking At Smashed Pot
57) Mouse With Books
58) Gatekeepers
59) Let's Bloom
60) Let's Have Fun In The Sun
61) Let's Breeze Into Autumn
62) Let's Be Frozen

1) Let's Play
2) Going For Walkies
3) In The Dog House
4) Deathly Hallows In A Bottle
5) Golden Snitch In A Bottle
6) Hedwig In A Bottle
7) Platform 9 3/4 In A Bottle
8) In The Bath
9) Resting My Eyes
10) Galah
11) French Country Butterfly
12) Merry (TT XI)
13) Merry Christmas By The Letter
14) Autumnal Baby Dragon
15) Burrow Snow Globe
16) Dragon Shelf
17) Godrich's Hollow Snow Globe
18) Mexico
19) Korea
20) Mouse Lighting Candle
21) Mouse Reading Scroll
22) Netherlands
23) Paris
24) Privet Drive Snow Globe
25) Rome
26) Russia
27) Shell Cottage Snow Globe
28) United Kingdom
29) USA
30) Witch's Hat Shelf
31) Dragon With Chick
32) Dragon 9
33) Dragon 2
34) Dragon 11
35) Dragon 4
36) Dragon 5
37) Dragon 10
38) Dragon 12
39) Dragon 1
40) Dragon 6
41) Dragon 3
42) French Country Squirrel
43) French Country Pumpkin
44) Watercolour Dolphin
45) Green Patchwork Hootie
46) Halloween Hootie 9
47) Noel
48) Moonrise Gravestone
49) Moonrise Fence
50) Moonrise Mansion
51) Moonrise Memorial
52) Season's Greetings

So I ended the year with 26 more WIPs than I started with... ooops!

As for my Box Of Shame, I started the year with 30 pieces in it (having found five previously mislaid at the end of 2020) added 26 more, fully finished off 34, so have therefore ended the year with 22 pieces.

So, here's another list of the the projects which were in and have been added to my Box Of Shame. As above, those in red have now been FFOd, those in black will be carried forward.

1) Eeyore's Snowflake
2) Four-eyed Monster
3) One-eyed Monster
4) Toby
5) Piglet's Snowflake
6) Smiley Cat
7) Boofle Christmas Card
8) January Calendar
9) February Calendar
10) March Calendar
11) April Calendar
12) May Calendar
13) June Calendar
14) July Calendar
15) August Calendar
16) September Calendar
17) October Calendar
18) November Calendar
19) December Calendar
20) Spotted Owls
21) Midnight Manor
22) Parrot On Parade
23) Green Halloween Banner
24) Christmas Cat With Present
25) Spookie Hootie
26) A Little Witch Of The Night
27) Jingle All The Way
28) Let It Snow
29) Daisy Hugs
30) Gold Stars Christmas Tree

1) Let's Play
2) Chick Berry
3) Humming Along
4) Lady In Red
5) Going For Walkies
6) Simply Wren
7) Winnie the Pooh 1 (need the set of 5 before I can FFO)
8) Winnie the Pooh 2 (need the set of 5 before I can FFO)
9) In The Dog House
10) In The Bath
11) Platform  9 3/4 Sign In A Bottle
12) Hedwig In A Bottle
13) Resting My Eyes
14) Galah
15) Merry (TT IX)
16) Dragon With Chick
17) French Country Butterfly
18) Green Patchwork Hootie
19) Spookie Hootie 9
20) In The Gloaming
21) Noel
22) Moonrise Gravestone
23) Moonrise Fence
24) Moonrise Mansion
25) Seasons Greetings
26) Moonrise Memorial

I may still have 22 UFOs but I'm really happy that I ended the year with fewer than I started with.

OK... boring lists over!

During the year I stitched for a total of 592 hours, averaging out at just over 1.6 hours per day, which is slightly over my daily target. December was my best month, with 82 hours of stitching, June my worst with just 8.5 hours!! I was really happy that the hours lost between April and July were able to be made up in the last three months of the year.

And... I will be ending the year having caught up with all my blog reading, and with an empty inbox! I doubt it will be long before I fall behind again, but at least I will be starting the year afresh.

As for my stitching plans for 2022... well, they're as wacky as usual and will be revealed tomorrow!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Smalls SAL - December 2021

Hello all!

It's the last Friday of the month (well, I'm posting this a day early because I've got my end-of-year round-up post tomorrow) 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 I stitched the final ornie from a set of six by Durene Jones; it's satisfying to have now finished the set:

Season's Greetings by Durene Jones (etsy)
Stitch Count 45 wide by 45 high
Stitched on 16ct White Silver Lurex aida 2 over 2
Started - 6th December 2021
Finished - 15th December 2021
Total stitching time - 9 hours 5 minutes

As usual I replaced the french knots with beads, but that's the only change I made.

And my Queen Anne monarch is also a small this month:

So next month we start another new year and I have something prickly but seasonal in mind!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday, 27 December 2021

Moonrise Ornaments 1, 2, 3 and 4 all finished!

Good morning one and all!

For Naughty November I started four new projects, all of which were fairly small and all of which I hoped to finish this year.

Well... guess what? I have!!

I actually finished the first two during November, but kept it quiet so that I could post all four finishes together. Here they all are after my first weekend of Naughty November progress and now completed:

Ornament 1
I made a couple of changes to this one. Firstly I ripped out the RIP and replaced the charted 3799 with 310 as I didn't think it stood out enough. And secondly I added Etoile to the moon. The moon was charted for 168 and 762 but for the lighter parts I combined 762 with C415 and for the darker parts 168 with C318. I'm really pleased with the way this all turned out:

Ornament 1 'Gravestone' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 47 wide by 56 high
Started - 6th November 2021
Finished - 11th November 2021
Total stitching time - 12 hours 55 minutes

Ornament 2
For this one I stitched the moon as above, and in the fence substituted one strand of 3799 for one strand of Etoile 3799:

Ornament 2 'Fence' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 55 wide by 60 high
Started - 13th November 2021
Finished - 19th November 2021
Total stitching time - 13 hours 20 minutes

Ornament 3
For this one Etoile was added to the moon and the roofs of the house but, other than that, it's as charted:

Ornament 3 'Mansion' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 49 wide by 55 high
Started - 20th November 2021
Finished - 13th December 2021
Total stitching time - 12 hours 15 minutes

Ornament 4
This took a bit longer than anticipated, but I didn't mind as I absolutely loved stitching the memorial. Once again I added Etoile to the moon and also changed the colours of the memorial from the charted (darkest to lightest) 840, 841, 842 and 3866 to 167, 738, 3823 and 3865 respectively. I still think this would look good in greys so may stitch this again... one day!

Ornament 4 'Memorial' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 48 wide by 67 high
Started - 27th November 2021
Finished - 23rd December 2021
Total stitching time - 19 hours 35 minutes

I'm over the moon (no pun intended!) with all four pieces.

Now to work out how to FFO them. I'd like to do something different, and have an idea or two so need to go looking for some inspiration around that. Failing that, you'll see them FFOd as ornies!

Take care,
Rachel x