Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hallowe'en Blog Hop and Giveaway...

Boo!!!  Now I have your attention, welcome into the cemetery of thread garden, especially if you are visiting as part of the Hallowe'en Blog Hop. The fabulous Jo is hosting this from Serendipitous Stitching. Please start at Jo's Blog from the beginning and you will have a spooky trail to follow, secretly unmasking the mysterious code from within this Blog Hop. 

Sharing my Hallowe'en Stitches
The front creepy project is from the Just Cross Stitch Sep/Oct 2013 magazine which featured many Hallowe'en ornament designs.  I stitched the Spooky Eye Chart for my very own Jack (13yo DS).  It is stitched on linen with DMC black. I chose not to add the border or lines as I didn't feel they added to it.  The cross stitch in the background is The Hallow Sampler by The Primitive Needle.  I stitched this in 2009.

A Small Giveaway
If you dare on this day please enter a small giveaway. Be a follower and leave a comment on this post and I will draw a winner for a mystery prize on November 4th.

A Ghost Story
On Hallowe'en in Australia, ghost stories are shared preferably at night in the dark.  I have a true story to share at this auspicous time. I was travelling through England with my young family, near the Welsh Border at a Youth Hostel called Welsh Bricknor.  The rambling stone manor was positioned at the bottom of a lonely steep gravel driveway with no passing traffic.  The hostel was spooky with its abandoned ivy-covered church surrounded by gravestone ruins within metres of it.  I woke at 2am and visited the bathroom. The bathroom had a window onto the driveway. I heard a distant noise from outside. It grew closer and closer. It wasn't just one noise but now a group. The noise became gallops which echoed through the room. Horses thundered past.  My heart matched the gallops as I ran back to bed and pulled the cover over my ears. There was no explanation in the morning why horses would be going past, let alone at 2am. Since returning over home I have googled Welsh Bricknor and relieved to read I am not the only one who has had a spooky experience. There is a legend about a young girl  many hundreds of years ago, running away from her family castle to be with her lover. The lovers fled together on horses.  They drowned trying to cross a river.  Maybe just maybe...

I know you are after the illusive and magical letter that  will spell a Hallowe'en message, so here it is:


You will now make your way to this spooky corner of the web, at "This and That" blog by  EvalinaMaria  if you dare. 

Don't forget about entering my giveaway!!!

Thanks for walking with a lamp through my graveyard...
                                                                           Jan x

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HOW TO: Wash a Cross Stitch Sampler

Hi to newbies and regulars,

You are reading a new series: HOW TO TUESDAYs.  I will post tips and tricks for new cross stitchers.

I am no expert but I love to help those new to a craft. Cross stitching is no exception. There are ways to become a quicker or neater stitcher and finishing off ideas. Also, I appreciate that there is still lots for me to learn.  That's why I want lots of feedback. Your questions, comments, contradictions and advice can only help us all with our art.

How To Wash A Large Cross Stitch Project
As I put the last stitch into a large cross stitch sampler (60x40cm - alot in inches) last year, I held it up and gasped to see dirty marks all over it.  The large project meant constant handling. And yes I might have been guilty of eating and drinking while stitching it. Smaller projects often don't have that kind of grottiness. There were also hoop marks because I was naughty at times and left it in a hoop.   I put a call out for advice on my blog. The helpful comments I received to this post were great. You can read these comments at the end of my blog post here.

Prior to washing it, I had to first decide if the threads in this project could handle being washed without bleeding. I knew that the threads were DMC so could trust they wouldn't run in water.  Specialty threads which have been hand-dyed may not have this guarantee so there are three possible options here: firstly, refer to the washing instructions that might have come with the threads, secondly, wash them in cold water prior to use (particularly darks or red colours) or thirdly, try hard not to get the project  dirty so it doesn't have to be washed.

Here is my process for washing that large sampler.

1. Fill a basin with warm water and gentle dishwashing liquid.  I didn't have Orvus which was suggested by other needleworkers who live in Europe and thought about using pure soap but ended up using something easily dissolvable.

2. Let the project sit for a while in the water. I looked at the sampler after an hour and realised the stains hadn't shifted so added some Napisan and let it soak for 4 hour (it was heavily soiled). I gave it some jiggles and swirls with my hands whilst soaking.

3. I gently squeezed the water out of it and laid it face down on towels which were lying next to the basin until it was fairly dry.

4. I ironed it face down on a towel on a "wool setting".

5. I rolled it up in towels and took it to my local framer.  The framer assured me I needn't have bothered ironing it as the project is stretched during the framing process. I still think I would have ironed it anyway.

6. Hang on the wall and be proud!!!

Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions about the art of washing delicate handiwork.
                                                                                                                            Jan x

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project Growth!

Hello happy readers and welcome to my Sunday post full of news.

I want to update you with Block 1, Shores of Hawk Run Hollow, by Carriage House Samplings.  The ocean and rocks have grown since the last blog post which you can view here.  It has been slow as I have only spent about 4 hours on it.  I guess it is not always on my radar as a project to work on. Do you have projects like that?

I have uploaded another video to My YouTube channel.  Making videos has been a fun challenge.  I have learnt an awful lot about making and cutting video clips.  Suddenly my almost teenage son, Jack is very useful with sources of information and help for tips and tricks with movie-making and YouTube, even if he still doesn't know how to stack the dishwasher or turn it on.

I like videos because the projects go from being 2D to 3D and I can add a little more information on them that I wouldn't necessarily write about.

You can check out my latest video clip on the link below.  I show my progress on four cross stitch projects:

Finally, I have decided to dedicate this blog to cross stitch only so have started another blog to document my crafty life.  

You can spy on my new blog here:

Thanks for wandering through my garden today and watching me plant my tomatoes bushes (yes, I have really planted tomatoes today)!
                                                    Jan x

Monday, October 21, 2013

Christmas Cross Stitch update...

The recent family holiday allowed me plenty of stitching time on my Christmas WIPs. Readers seemed to find it weird I did Christmas stitching at the beach.  Being an Australian, I associate Christmas with Summer so the beach was a perfect place to stitch.

Firstly, I have nearly finished stitching the wise man/king in the Shepherd's Bush Christmas stocking.  This one is called Brett but there are lots to choose from. I am making my fifth! His robe is richly coloured in the variegated thread, Razzleberry! Doesn't that name sound as delicious as it looks? The rest of the stocking will be quite quick from here as the majority of the stitching is in the wise man.

Secondly, I only have another few hours of stitching left on the Christmas ornament by Little House Needleworks called, Bringing Home the Tree.  I am thrilled with how it looks.  Mary, my daughter, will love hanging it on the tree this Christmas.

As many of you, my lovely readers and friends live overseas this is a warning that I might make you envious.  I am going to post a Spring photo.  Stop reading now if you can't cope.  I am loving my Spring garden.  I have only been at this house for 3x Springs and the gardens are what I have planted as they had been neglected prior to that. The snow-in summer, cerinthe and golden oregano are making a stunning border to one of our garden beds.  I try to garden 30 minutes every 2 days which seems to keep it in hand. Gardening is not good for the nails even though I always where gloves!

Also gardening related, I recently picked our first lemon from our Lemon Eureka tree and cooked it into Lemon Delicious.
The lemon juice was so flavoursome and I was delighted to find no pips inside.  It looks like more lemons are on their way but will take a few more months before they can be picked. I hope I run into the problem soon here I have too many lemons and have to give lots away!

Thanks for wandering through my flower beds...
                                                              Jan x

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bothy Threads Cross Stitch Update!

Without a laptop for a few weeks it has been a struggle to keep my blog going. It's amazing what an iPhone can do but it has its limits.

As you can see I am now the proud owner of a new Mac Pro laptop! I really am an IT girl. So now expect plenty more updates and YouTube videos.

The recent beach holiday allowed for much stitching time.  My Bothy Threads Cut Thru' Castle has had  room added since my last post. The Wizard's Attic is nearly finished and complete with a wizard casting spells. He will be much more obvious with some back stitching. You can see my previous update here. 

I have struggled to keep up with my blog reading due to the laptop disaster so it is great I am back on deck. I have learnt through all this that water and a laptop do not mix.

Well must run and start cooking dinner.  Thanks for wandering by...
                                                                                                        Jan x

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween cross stitching

I'm in the mood for stitching a spooky ornament. Master Jack,nearly 13, chose a Halloween ornament called a Spooky Eye Chart from the Just Cross Stitch Halloween magazine special. So far, spooky and fun!

Thanks for dropping in...
Jan x

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stitching up a Storm...

The wind has really picked up today at the beach holiday. My stitching speed has picked up as a result. The wise man on the stocking now has a rich vine on his robe. The robe is half filled in with a delicious specialty thread named Razzleberry.

Speaking of berries, we ate the yummiest raspberry and apple pie at Kate's Berry Farm. I have added a photo of the prettiest bank of flowers I have ever seen that were at the farm.

Thanks for stopping by...
Jan x

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Wise Man Cross Stitch...

The Shepherd's Bush Christmas stocking featuring a Wise Man is progressing quickly. I have got the hang of a two-handed stitching approach with a hoop. I am currently filling in his body. I am loving his robe.

I am still on a family holiday so lots of stitching time here and little housework time. Yay! A three year old boy still needs attention but is highly amusing. When asked what he wanted to name a dog he replied "cat!"

Thanks for making sandcastles with me...

Jan x

Monday, October 7, 2013

Stitching on the beach...

Beach stitching has been plentiful during this holiday! The sun has been shining this Spring so between sandcastle building and board games, stitching has been had.

Here is the progress on the Shepherds Bush Christmas stocking. It is stitched on 18 ct natural linen with DMC Pearl Cotton no 5 and specialty threads.

Jan x

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Smitten with cross stitch...

It's official! I am smitten with the Bothy Threads Cut Thru Castle and my beach boys and girl.

We arrived at Coles Bay yesterday; the most magical, secret place in the world. It is so vastly different to regular beach destinations. The red granite mountains overlooking the beach with the bluest water makes this place a haven. One of the beaches is called Wineglass Bay which has arguably the whitest sand in the world.  My three kiddies  are in beach heaven.

I have started cross stitching the third page of the castle. The Wizard's Attic is taking shape on the top right. I will stitch the cutest owls today so stay tuned. This is stitched on 16ct light blur Aida and boy it stitches up fast!

Thanks for building sandcastles on my beach...