Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Rainbow is cross stitched...

It is a sense of relief to put the last half stitch into the rainbow over Noah's Ark. It was tricky to stitch because I had to fudge it in places (ssshh, don't tell anyone)!  I have also found time to almost completely backstitch the rainbow phrase "two by two they came".  There seems to be many more stitches to put into this sampler as I have the lower third of the ark to completed, a border and then an outer border of animals. I hope I can finish it in 2014!

Promises Kept
Dimensions The Gold Collection
18ct raw AIDA
Our Christmas day proved to be a true Aussie Christmas complete with warm weather, swimming in the pool, wearing sandals and eating prawns off the barbecue. All of us, especially our three year old Tom had a fabulous day. Tom is still keeping an eye out for more presents as he is sure there is just one more left to be opened.

DD (15) performs a Toyota jump
Three year old DS's new boat

DS (13) just hanging around
I have decided to do the WIP Crazy January Challenge in 2014. Rather than start a new project every day I am going to work on a different WIP each day for the first 15 days.  I have enough WIPs I don't need to start more LOL. January is the quiet month in my life so I am hoping I will get lots stitched.

Happy New Year!
                       Jan x

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Stitchy Christmas...

To all of my beautiful readers and followers I wish you a very merry Christmas and hope you find "you" time over the next few weeks. I have had such a great year in Blogland with my bloggy friends. Thank you for being so friendly and inspiring me.

Despite a busy Christmas period, I have stitched more leaves on The Prairie Schooler L is for Leaves. I think Christmas when I stitch this, seeing it has a deer. If anyone knows where I can get G,H,I of this series (Booklet no 104) please let me know.  It seems to have been retired and very hard to find!

I didn't finish my hubby's Shepherd's Bush Christmas stocking this year but plan to for next year. He is ok with that. Here are my kiddies with the four stocking I have already stitched in past years.

Shepherds Bush Christmas stockings
Have a relaxing Christmas season...
                                                    Jan x

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More on Noah's Ark cross stitch sampler...

Despite it being only a week (or less) to Christmas, I have stitched more of the rainbow on the Noah's Ark Dimensions sampler over the last week. Just the blue inner rainbow arc and the back stitching on the words left.

Dimensions Gold Collection
Promises Kept
I am totally in love with anything especially antique Noah's arks! I have even started a pinterest board featuring them. 

Have a fabulous week leading up to Christmas...
                                                                    Jan x

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Royal "Throne" is cross stitched...

The moment you have been waiting for...a cross stitched toilet! Well it isn't backstitched yet but it sure will look hilarious once it has been.  I had a giggle to myself as I stitched the bathroom user's bottom.  A once-in-a-lifetime moment no doubt.

This Bothy Threads kit is stitching up quickly. I have cross stitched all of the Royal Bathroom and am now back to stitching the other side of the Dragon's lair below it. I have also added more backstitch in the King's chamber- the swords and shields are now outlined.

Thanks for the lovely comments on my advent post.  Be Very Merry this Christmas!
                                                                                                                         Jan x

Friday, December 13, 2013

2013 Online Advent Calendar

On the 13th day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me...
my first Christmas cross stitched ornament!!!

Happy Christmas readers!!!   A special hello if you are following the Advent Calendar Blog Hop trail organised by the fabulous Jo at Serendipitous Stitching .

Bringing Home the Tree
Little House Needleworks
40ct linen stitched with specialty threads

I am delighted to present a finish on my blog today and a first. This is my first Christmas ornament I have stitched, finally finished over the last few days in time for this post.  I enjoyed sewing my daughter's name on the back. I used the tutorial on this link by The Twisted Stitcher to finish the ornie.

The reverse side of the ornament

My Mum has always been fabulous at cooking up treats for Christmas. With a household full of chocoholics it isn't surprising that anything chocolate is a goer at Christmas. Here is her famous peanut butter ball recipe. Simple but delish. My poor daughter can only admire them from afar, as she has a peanut allergy. I will have to find her a substitute for the peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Ball recipe:

2 1/4 cups of icing sugar
1 cup (cheapest brand) peanut butter
1 1/2 cups of rice bubble
125grams margarine or butter

Combine icing sugar and peanut butter
Melt peanut butter and margarine and add to rice bubble mixture.
Roll into small balls and place on a tray and freeze.
When frozen, dip balls into melted chocolate.
Place on foil lined tray and freeze.
You can then just keep them in air tight container in fridge.

Be Very Merry this Advent Time...
                                               Jan x

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dust off the Noah's Ark cross stitch...

I cannot believe it's been so long since I have stitched on this sampler. It is called Promises Kept by Dimensions. Its been a little tricky to stitch the rainbow - I am always miscounting it- so I put it aside and forgot about it.  Last night, I dusted off the cobwebs and stitched two pretty doves flying over the rainbow.

My soul is rejuvenated when I touch and read a new craft book.  This time, granny chic by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel tickled my fancy. I bought this book with a birthday voucher. This book has fuelled my dreams for renovating a caravan and filling it with 'granny' goodness. I cannot wait. It might be a two to three year wait but it will be worth it. I will have to get out my crochet hook and doilies and start some projects for my van in advance.

Well I promise to stitch more on Noah's Ark soon as I want Tom to enjoy looking at it on his bedroom wall before he grows out of it!

Thanks for visiting my garden...
                                               Jan x

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Prairie Schooler Alphabet...

L is for Leaves is growing well.  I have stitched three quarters of it.  I am stitching this with friends, working on it once every three weeks.  Delighted in how it is turning out. Actually, so delighted I will definitely stitch the whole alphabet on one piece of linen! Not sure when I will start, probably after I finish this letter as need a new project with my friends.

L is for Leaves
Stitched on 32 ct linen
Recommended DMC threads
I am part of a blog group, called The Prairie Schooler ABC Stitching Bee, which shares progress, albeit slowly. Thank you for having a look in my garden...
                                                               Jan x 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bothy Threads Cut Thru' Castle update...

Drum roll please.... I have an important update on my Bothy Threads Cut Thru' castle.  I am cross stitching the toilet scene in the yellow royal bathroom LOL.  It will be hilarious when it's back stitched!

I am enjoying stitching with my new Q snaps 11x11 inch as they keep the fabric taut and aren't bulky or heavy.  

Thanks for wandering through my garden...
                                                                Jan x

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Crafternoon...

And wasn't it fabulous! The sun was shining. The kids were occupied in activities around me. There was nothing booked in for this afternoon, except an appointment with my craft table! Boy, did I enjoy it. I finished stitching a cross stitch Christmas ornament. I can't show you yet as there will be a future post about it. I also painted the cover of my December Daily album from 2012. This album has photos and highlights of our December last year. I want it to sit on our coffee table this December so pulled my finger out and began decorating the cover which was the last thing left. I will bling the cover up tomorrow and it will be finished. I will post a photo of it. 

Speaking of "crafternoon" (don't you love that word),  I have started a new blog called "Crafternoon Garden" .  This features small craft projects that don't fit under the cross stitch banner. Mostly it's quick craft that Tom and  I do together, so there is a "kid craft theme".

This morning I had fun trawling through a local needlework store and came away with some goodies. I want to try cross stitching some ornies on perforated paper. I couldn't decide what colour was better - the white or ecru- so bought both! Then I stumbled upon a cross stitch mag with cutsie Christmas stitcheries.  I will this read tonight in bed with my hot chocolate. Other purchases included sweet Christmas-themed buttons and pins and a new eyelet setter for fabric and paper.

I started decorating the house for Christmas today which was enjoyable (although part of me feels it is surely still September and not the end of November).  I love the new Scandinavian-style Christmas tree and the pretty advent calendar my Jack gave me.

Have a stitchy weekend folks...
                                                Jan x

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cross Stitch Stocking...

Since finishing the wise man on the Shepherd's Bush Christmas stocking, I have started cross stitching the shapes around him.  Crowns are a fad of mine at the moment and this one will look regally fabulous when the red beads are stitched on.  The motifs are quick to stitch on so I have progressed quite alot over the last week.

Bob couldn't miss out on being in the photo shoot either! Im not sure what is cuter; Bob or the stocking. Possibly Bob. But then again my cross stitch doesn't bite my toes at 5am when I am trying to sleep.

Thanks for coming into my Christmas garden...
                                                                Jan x

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cut Thru' Castle cross stitch progress...

With teenagers' activities at this time of year taking up the weekends and end-of-year dinners taking up the evenings, it is hard to find stitching time.  My cross stitch progress has been a tad slow.

The Bothy Threads Cut Thru' castle is the only WiP I have stitched in the last week sadly.   The Royal Bathroom is coming along.  I have added walls in a sunny yellow and windows in a crimson red. Stay tuned for the Royal Toilet which is coming soon LOL!

Are you itching for stitching also?  Thanks for walking in the garden...
                                                                                                        Jan x

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throw Back Thursday: a cross stitch project

Mary, my daughter, told me I had to do Throw Back Thursday on my blog. Apparently it's all the rage on YouTube! She is a massive fan of the TV show, Dance Mums, and this is something that is featured commonly.

What is Throw Back Thursday? Something from the past. In my case, a completed cross stitch project from 15 years ago.

I started this Shepherd's Bush cross stitch in late 1996.  I bought it as a kit duty-free on Norfolk Island during a holiday. It is a large project - 70 x 70cm.  My heart does flips when I see the beads, charms, bells, ribbon and wool added to the shepherd. It was framed and completed for Mary's nursery in mid-1998 15 years ago.It is stitched on a 32 count linen. The frame mount was customised to this project.  I don't think this design has dated at all and would happily stitch it again.

Don't forget to post a link and join my Linky Party so I can check out your current WiP (Work In Progress) here.  I am sure others would like to check out your post too.

Thanks for wandering through the garden of my past...
                                                                              Jan x

Monday, November 18, 2013

What's your WiP? Needlework Linky Party

Do you like to part-eY? I do. Especially if it involves cross stitch or craft!

I haven't seen many cross stitch Linky Parties on the web so I've decided to start one. I like to keep up with my follower's blogs but sometimes I miss their posts. I like to meet new bloggers too. I like the way Linky Parties connect the blog writer with the reader.

The WiP I am sharing today, is an embroidery/quilting WiP (rather than my usual cross stitch WiP). I began it in a Sue Spargo (google famous US quilter) workshop last year. Sue is an absolute inspiration and I had a ball doing the class.  Sadly, I put my woollen leaf wall hanging WiP aside and didn't touch it after the workshop ended.  I wasn't sure about where to progress with it or even if I liked it! The cost of trimmings I purchased as part of the workshop to decorate the leaves has been bugging me. I have now vowed to embroider and decorate a leaf a week.  I have even formed a FB Group  called TooManyWIPs to inspire myself (anyone welcome to join).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cross Stitching an Alphabet discussion...

I met with my cross stitch group on Thursday night and continued with The Prairie Schooler alphabet L is for Leaves.  I think it should be D is for Deer as the deer stands out to me more than the leaves but so-be-it!

The Prairie Schooler Alphabet
L is for Leaves
Stitched on 32 ct white linen
 2 over 2 DMC thread
I love seeing full cross stitch alphabets (all 26 letters stitched together) but haven't started one yet.  I would dearly love to stitch this alphabet as the full sampler.

My concerns are:

- It will be a large sampler even if stitched one over one on 40 count

- Actually stitching one over one on 40 count

- I might lose momentum after stitching 9 or 10 letters

- The design might go out of fashion before I finish it

- I might never finish it!

Of course my concerns could be overcome. Get a magnifier.  Roster the sampler into my week so it is never neglected.  Keep motivated using blog supporters.

Have you ever cross stitched an alphabet? If so, which one? How did you stay motivated to finish it? If you haven't finished why not? I look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks for wandering through thread garden...
                                                               Jan x

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Weekly Roundup of cross stitching progress...

Big news here! I have finally bought a Qsnap needlework frame, the 11 inch size, after reading about so many stitchers using them.  I tried them for the first time on the Bothy Threads Cut Thru' Castle last night and I could see why everyone was raving about them.  I love how the frame holds the fabric taut and that I can rest it easily on my body to stitch two-handed.

Despite a busy week with daughter Mary's birthday and sadly a funeral, I have made stitchy progress on some of my cross stitch WIPs especially in the last 48 hours.  You can see my progress "LIVE" on the link below if you love videos:

Shepherd's Bush 2007 stocking
18 ct linen

On the Shepherd's Bush Christmas stocking, I have added the wise man's bottle of myrrh (I had to look up how to spell it LOL) he is holding. 

And I have completed the border on the Little House Needleworks "Bringing Home the Tree" Christmas ornament.  I only have a few details left in the main picture and it will be ready to sew up into an ornie. 

Little House Needleworks
Bringing Home the Tree
40ct linen

Thanks for wandering through my garden (with an umbrella as the weather is showery today)...
                                                                                    Jan x

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

15 Years Today!

Today is a special day. It is 15 years since I became a mum.

I proudly delivered my Mary on Friday November 13th.  At the time it seemed the legend of Friday the 13th was coming true.  The weather was terrible. Thunderstorms swirled around our city and the rain peltered down. I was delivering my baby at 35 weeks. With severe pre-eclampsia, the trial of natural labour went from good to bad in a short space of time and I was rushed for an emergency caeserean.  Most 35 weekers just need a bit of monitoring in special care when they are born. Not my daughter. She needed full on medical intervention and transfer to an ICU via ambulance.  I spent the whole first night being a mother in severe pain and separated by kilometres from my daughter, not really knowing what was happening and not really feeling like a mother.  

Fast forward to today and I consider Friday the 13th lucky. My Mary is fabulous. At 15 years, I have a gorgeous daughter who still loves being around her family and works hard. She is enthusiastic about life. I am lucky she is healthy and her early illness quickly became a distant memory.

Isn't this rainbow cake awesome? My daughter's friend made it as a surprise for her.  She and her school friends cut it in class and shared it around. Mary and I have been admiring the pictures of these cakes on Pinterest  for months, so it was great to see one and then taste it. Yummo!

Well I will be back tomorrow with a stitching update.

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's a Long Wait until Christmas...

...if you are three years old! For the rest of us Christmas comes in a flash. At every reminder that Christmas is around the corner, Tom drags me to the shed to beg me to put up our Christmas tree.  I have to distract him by telling him we will put it up after Halloween, then after his brother's birthday and then after his sister's birthday (which is only two days time).  So it looks like it the tree will go up early this year but it will sure be loved by a little man!!!

I wish my Christmas stitching was flying at the same speed as Christmas is arriving, but alas it is not.

I have finally finished the wise man on the Shepherd's Bush Christmas stocking.  I suppose the stocking is about a third done as the central character has the majority of the stitching.  I recently added the  mustard tone to the robe and sleeves and it sure brings out the richness of the other colours.  I will move onto the top of the stocking and hope that I get it done by the end of November.

Do you have a Christmas deadline for any of your stitching?
Thank you for visiting my garden...
                                                  Jan x

PS If you like the Shepherd's Bush Christmas stocking you can see similar patterns at this link

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween Giveaway Winner & Castle Cross Stitch Update...

A cross stitch blog may seem a solitary hobby. Stitch, stitch, stitch to get ready for the next post. Click, click, click as I photograph my stitching. Tap, tap, tap as I plug away on the computer Churning out the next post.  But then, I get 32 comments to the Hallowe'en Blog Hop Post and I know it is far from being solitary. I am immersed in a virtual cross stitch world with lovely people as though they are stitching and chatting in my living room.  Thank you for connecting. Let's keep stitching together.

It's the bagpipes announcing the winner of the Hallowe'en Giveaway from this post, not the drum roll, as comment number 11 is the winner!  (11 Pipers Piping if you are slow to get this).

Shebafudge that is you!!!  I have sent you an email.

The Royal Dunny (Aussie term for toilet) Room of The Bothy Threads Cut Thru' Castle is forming to the right of the King's   Chamber.  You can view my progress at my last castle update here.  I have never cross stitched a toilet before so it will be a milestone for me LOL! I have finished cross stitching the Wizards' Attic with the striped mauve and white wall paper.  I have never stitched such a colourful piece before. Perfect for a little boy's bedroom wall me thinks.

Bothy Threads Cut Thru' Castle
Stitched on 18 ct Aida 
The Wizard's Attic with the Royal Dunny Room appearing underneath

Thanks for wandering through my castle gardens...
                                                                         Jan x

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

HOW TO: Loop Method for Starting Cross Stitch

Hello wonderful readers! Here is another post in the How To Tuesday cross stitch series.

First up, a massive thank you for all your sweet comments over the last week! They warm my heart. The Cross Stitch Community really is a friendly place.

I have been cross stitching for years (since I was a wee girl) and I learnt something a few months ago from a Bothy Threads Cut Thru' kit. I didn't expect this. One seems to think that one knows everything after they have been doing it for a while.  The kit taught me that I can start a two-stranded thread with the loop method. I am going to share it with you here. It has really quickened the pace I can start a thread so I encourage you to give it a go.

I have made a YouTube video to watch or follow the photo instructions below:

1.  Firstly, cut your thread length to about 24 inches (60cm) long. Pull out one strand of thread to use. Fold your strand in half. There will be two cut ends at one end and a loop at the end. Thread your needle onto the cut ends so the loop is at the opposite end of the needle.
Here is the cut thread prior to threading the needle. I will thread the needle onto the cut ends.

2.  Bring your needle from the back of the fabric into the hole you are starting your cross stitch. Do not pull your thread all of the way through. Leave the loop part of the thread at the back of the fabric.

This is the right side of the fabric. I have put my needle in the first hole of the cross stitch from the wrong side of the fabric leaving the loop at the back.
3.  Do your first diagonal stitch of the first cross and push your needle through.

Here is a picture of me making my first diagonal stitch from the right side and bringing the needle through to the wrong side at the back.
5.  Turn over your fabric so the back (or wrong side) of the fabric is facing you. Thread your needle through the loop and pull gently so the thread goes all of the way through.  The thread will now be secured by the loop.
I am pushing the needle through the loop on the wrong side of the fabric after the first diagonal stitch.

I have pulled the thread through the loop here at the wrong side of the fabric so the thread is locked.
6. Now continue cross stitching as you would normally.

There are two scenarios I can think of where this method will NOT be suitable:
a. if your threads are pre-cut to a shorter length
or b. if you have to blend thread colours to form two strands.

Thank you for wandering through my garden...
                                              Jan x

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Top 5 Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments...

A big hearty hello to all, including new followers. Wasn't that halloween Blog Hop fun? If you missed it and want to enter my giveaway check out the post about it here.

I have been excitedly perusing the Just Cross Stitch 2013 Special Christmas Issue featuring Christmas ornaments. It is the first year I have purchased it as my LNS had it so it slipped into my purchases easily  rather than have to order it online.

I have chosen a Top 5 of my favourite cross stitch ornaments out of a possible 76 that I want to stitch first. There were so many beautiful ornies to choose between but the choice had to be made:

No. 5
I can't go past a cat ornie for my gorgeous mother.  Not Even a Mouse, by Little by Little Design Company.  Mum spotted this ornie as soon as she flicked through my mag so it has to appear in my top 5 list.

No. 4
The sweetest ornie, Yellow Penguin,  by Casey Buonaugurio Designs is on this list as its my sister's favourite animal. I have been planning to stitch her a Christmas penguin ornament for the last three years so hopefully this year will be it! The penguin's beanie is so delightfully cute I want one to wear myself.

No. 3
What a clever ornament the Gingerbread Cupcake by The Victoria Sampler is! It's mounted onto a silicone baking cup. I am sure my 3 yo, Tom, will love this so much he might try to eat it.

No. 2
I can't go past the sweet Santa ornament, Be Jolly by Angel Stitchin. this Santa is rockin' with his rosy cheeks and cute mustache. My teenage son, Jack, loved him so it will be for him when I stitch it.

Drumroll please... No. 1
O Night Divine, by The Sampler Girl has stolen my heart.  O Holy Night is my favourite carol and the crown and star in this ornie were the perfect addition.

How does my list compare with your top 5?

Thanks for visiting my garden. I hope you found lots of stitchy time on the weekend...
                                                                                                                                Jan x