Friday, October 2, 2015

A Small Finish...

Hello. Sorry I have been absent. I have been working extra hours so it has been hard to find the time to post with a lively and busy family. 

I am currently on holidays at the "Top End" of Australia which is the opposite end of the country to where I live. That basically means three things- more time, warm weather and crocodiles(!). I'm sitting in bed with my coffee staring at the vibrant port of Darwin with the air con on. I have been swimming almost daily which I haven't done in decades. I feel alive! 


My needles have still been running hot over the last few months despite my blog slackness. I will update you over the next few days. Here is my first finish. This is Little House Needleworks "Hope". I have converted the wording to say my name as I will make it into a Christmas tree ornament. I plan to have a personalised ornament for all my crew by this festive season. 

This is stitched two over two 32ct raw linen. I used my own picks for threads using Weeks Dyeworks cottons, DMC, Whisper in white (for sheep) and Rainbow Treasure braid (for snowflake and snow). 


 I'm looking forward to seeing this into an ornie similar to the photo. I will be back again soon with my progress in Mill Hill bead kits. I decided to throw in small projects into my suitcase for this holiday which have been easy to stitch on the long outback road trips, 

Jan xxx

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Prairie Schooler Alphabet progress...

Hello stitchers,

It is time to update you all on the Prairie Schooler Alphabet cross stitch.  It drapes over me like a "lap rug" as I stitch in hand. That is not a bad thing as it as we are heading towards winter at a rate of knots here in Tasmania. The stitched piece is a biggie. It is currently 90cm wide and 40cm deep. I have a little over two blocks left to stitch on the second row then I will start on the third and final row.

N is for Nest is now completed. Those baby birds are adorable. Tweet tweet.

O is for Owl is complete. The main owl's eyes pop out of the piece. This block has an autumnal feel.

P is for Parrot is almost complete. The parrot's colour combination is heavenly gorgeous.

So here is the whole piece to date...

The Prairie Schooler Alphabet
Stitched two over two on 32t natural linen
Thanks for dropping by my blog...
                                               Jan x

Monday, April 13, 2015

I Love London is a Finish...


Nothing is as satisfying as putting in the final stitch to a cross stitch.  This was no exception. How delightful, fresh and modern this stitch is. I am an Anglophile so this piece ticked all the boxes.  My five year old loves this piece because of the double decker so I will make it into a cushion for his bedroom. 

It is stitches two over two on white linen using DMC. The pattern is 'I Love London' by the Heritage Sampler Company. 



Until next time...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

HAED update...Treasure Hunt Bookshelf

Happy April readers,

I was drawn to start a smaller version of Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED) Treasure Hunt Bookshelf back in January. I am trying to stitch on it at least once per week as it is calling "stitch me, stitch me".

The Treasure Hunt Bookshelf artwork by the artist Aimee Stewart is one vibrant piece.  I am stitching a portion of the original artwork - Fox to Dragon.  It is the large format pattern. There are 24 pages.

I was delighted to finished the second column of page 1.  It is stitched using DMC threads on 25t Magic Guide Evenweave two over one. I am staggering my edges to avoid stitching lines in my work. What you see is the top left corner of a book (Quest of the Red Fox) in front of the midnight sky. I am parking my threads.

Hopefully my Easter break will be filled with many stitches.  Enjoy your Easter break if you celebrate it...
                                                                Jan x

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Prairie Schooler Alphabet Update...

Happy Stitchy Thursday everyone,

I am sharing the progress on my Prairie Schooler Alphabet cross stitch. I am almost half way there.  There are 27 blocks in total and I have completed approximately 13. This has become a focus piece for me. I am trying to stitch on it every day for 1-2 hours.

I completed L is for Leaves about 3 weeks ago. As you may remember, I have already stitched this letter individually finishing it in January 2014.  The link to it is here. This block looks completely different stitched on the natural linen background.

K is for Kitten and L is for Leaves

Since finishing the letter "L", I have half finished M is for Mermaid and started N is for Nest.  I haven't stitched the mermaid yet as I want to make some modifications to her face/body which I need thinking time for.  So I started "N" and will come back to the mermaid soon.  N is for Nest is so sweet with the 4x little chicks in the nest.

M is for Mermaid and N is for Nest

So here is a photo of the whole project:

The Prairie Schooler Alphabet stitched 2 over 2 DMC threads on 36 count linen

It's the sixth anniversary of my blog on March 9th 2009!!! Here is my very first blog post if you are interested. I was very into quilting at the time so the blog was focussed around that for the first year or so.  I fell in the beautiful cross stitch blog community and I haven't looked back. Sure there might be mountains of quilting UFOs in my cupboard but I am so happy with my cross stitching.  I am so proud my blog is still going after 6 years. There have been ebbs and flows in the number of posts from time to time but I always come back to it. My blog is my diary of my crafting life with a little of everyday life thrown in.

My youngest has turned five! Boy did those years fly since he thrust himself into our lives at 29 weeks. He is a precious boy who has brought joy, fun and laughter into our lives.

Tom is 5! His big sister made him a Minecraft cake.

Until next time...
                        Jan x

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Top 5 HAED Tips...

Hi everyone,

I have been AWOL.  I had the beastly Summer Influenza (if there is such a thing) and it took three weeks of my life away.  I am so pleased to be back, stitching as madly as ever and back to blogging and floss tubing (another term for making cross stitch videos on YouTube).

2015 has seen me delight in stitching on Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED).  I have two on the go.

First up is the HAED Mini Alice and Snow White, artwork by Jasmine Becket-Griffith.  This is stitched on 25 ct Magic Guide Evenweave, two over one tent stitch. The pattern is the large format pages and have nearly finished the second page of 16 pages. I am so happy with how it is stitching up.  I have stitched the top of Alice in Wonderland's head and the hair of Snow White is starting to appear. It is a joy to stitch on. I started it on December 1st 2014.

HAED Mini Alice and Snow White
The second HAED I have started is QS (Quick Stitch) Treasure Hunt Fox to Dragon Shelf, artwork by Aimee Stewart. This design is part of the fabulous Treasure Hunt Bookshelf by the same artist and it is glorious. It is also stitched 25t Magic Guide Evenweave, two over one tent stitch. The pattern is the large format pages and I am stitching the first 10 by 10 column of stitches of the first page.

HAED QS Treasure Hunt Fox to Dragon
My Top 5 tips for stitching a HAED:
After failing miserably stitching a HAED several years ago I have worked out a way that works for me when stitching on them:

1. Pre-gridded Fabric
The pre-gridded 25t Magic Guide Evenweave purchase at has been a lifesaver. It is a nice quality and not too stiff to hold. The gridding has helped me from some major mistakes and saved me hours from gridding it myself. I use a purple marker pen (ink disappears in a few hours) to mark the 10 by 10 grid (as the even weave is divided into 20 by 20 blocks).

2. Reading the pattern from an iPad 
My mini iPad has been so valuable.  I don't have bits of paper floating around me.  I bought the HAED pattern as a PDF and use PDF Expert Application to read my pattern from. I can enlarge the 10 by 10 squares which makes it so easy to see what stitch I am up to.

3. Parking Threads
Carolyn Mazzeo's video on parking is brilliant so check her channel out on YouTube.  I stitch on my HAEDs in 10 by 10 blocks working down a page.  I leave my threads (parking) in the next 10 by 10 block below if that colour is used in the next block. Parking allows me to continue using the same thread without stopping and ending threads so it is time-saver.

4.  Highlighting my Pattern
So I don't get confused I mark my stitching offs on my PDF pattern in the PDF Expert App with my finger with a pink dot.  That way I can keep track of my progress. I mark my parked threads on the pattern on the iPad using a yellow dot.  It is a good idea to mark the parked threads as it makes it so much easier to know what colour it is without doing lots of counting or colour matching to find out. With these types of patterns there are often graduated colours used so keeping track of which colour is which is easier if the pattern is marked.

5.  Starting a Thread- Front Loop Method
The reason I am using two threads to stitch my HAED with is for a selfish reason; previous tutorial on a loop method but it the thread is put through the loop on the front of the work not the back. The advantage of this is that one doesn't have to turn the work over or view the back of the work.  It is a very quick way of starting a thread.
I only want to start a thread using the front loop method.  This is similar to my

They are labour of love but I am so pleased I gave HAEDs a second chance.

Happy stitching and thanks for visiting...
                                                           Jan x

Monday, January 26, 2015

DUCJC2015 Challenge and HAED progress

I am so proud of doing DUCJC for 3 weeks. Happiness pours out of me as I look back over the 21projects. I have reached my limit now so I have decided to finish at the 3 week mark. I have pretty much stitched on all I own in my stash. My natural desire is to stitch on larger designs so starting another 7 large designs in the last week is too crazy even for me. 

Today's photo shows progress on the HAED (Heaven and Earth Designs) mini Alice and Snow White (large format pattern). This is stitched two over one tent stitching. I am a third of the way through the second page. Stitching this HAED has been totally addictive.

Thanks for being with me on the DUCJC challenge. It's been a blast.

Jan x 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day21 DUCJC2015

Day 21 saw me put my feet up and stitch on Holland Park rug by the Designers Forum. I worked on the beige border. There is still a lot of holes left to fill. I need to put this one into my regular rotation because it is so easy. It is like stitching a tapestry and involves stitching by colour not counting. 
This is stitched on 8 count canvas using Appletons tapestry wool.

Happy stitching all
Jan x 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 20 DUCJC2015

Day 20 saw me stitch on an old WIP, Dimensions The Gold Collection called Promises Kept. It was on a scroll frame which has been annoying me so I took it off. I inherited this WIP from a friend 5 yrs ago so it came half stitched on the frame. I decided today I would find it easier to stitch this in hand so off came the frame.  And yes it's so much easier without the bulkiest of the frame.

I backstitched the giraffe and elephant and then stitched more on the black horse. This is definitely a slow WIP. It is stitched on 18ct Aida. 

Happy flossing and stitching
Jan x 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day19 DUCJC2015

Today I started a project that I found on a YouTube channel stitched by 'Thelovelyarray'. This is called Classic Book Spines by Purple Stitching. It is stitched on 18ct Magic guide Aida using two strands of DMC thread. You can actually buy these classic books with these spines which I would love to do.  I adore this pattern soooo much. 

Until tomorrow
Jan x 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 18 DUCJC2015

I had fun stitching the word 'London' onto the border on day 18 of this challenge. Now I have to repeat that word another five times.  This is 'I Love London' by the Historical Sampler Company. Such a fun piece. I will make it up into a cushion. It is stitched two over two in 32 ct white linen.

See you tomorrow
Jan x

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 17 DUCJC2015

Today was a new start on a Bothy Threads kit called Kings and Queens. Meet William the First (well half of him)!  I plan to stitch the royalty in chronological order starting from the too left.  This is stitched on 14ct white aide which came in the kit.  I will back stitch as I go. Such a fun and whimsical project to have in the go (and educational too).

Until tomorrow
Jan x

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 16 DUCJC2015

I started the block W is for Welcome on Day 16. Such a pretty climber! This will form part of a tea party scene outside a pretty house. Oh how I love the Prairie Schooler designs. 

Until tomorrow
Jan x

Friday, January 16, 2015

Day 15 DUCJC2015

Where did those last 2 weeks go? I am halfway there as I signed up for the 31 day challenge. I am proud of myself for sticking with the challenge despite working and balancing life/kids/housework.I have made lots of progress so feel it has been a worthwhile push with my stitching and given my blog. A big thank you goes out to Linda Scott who organised it all.

Day 14 saw me start block V is for Vineyard on the PS alphabet.  I admire foxes so look forward to stitching him. Foxes don't live in Tasmania so I am intrigued by them. So far, all I have to show you is a vine leaf the pretty  DMC colour 3362.

Wishing you joy in stitches,

Jan x

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day14 DUCJC2015

This is R is for Rabbit in the Prairie Schooler alphabet sampler. No rabbit in the picture yet. It will take centre stage when it appears in front of the cute house. This might be my new favourite block!

Happy stitching....
Jan x

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 13 DUCJC2015

Day 13 was a big day of this challenge as I put some stitches into a new Heaven and Earth Design or otherwise known as a HAED.  This new start is QS Treasure Hunt Bookshelf Fox to Dragon.  I am stitching it on white 25ct Magic guide evenweave. I managed 200 stitches of a moonlit night sky. 

Until tomorrow, stitch away...
Jan x

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 12 DUCJC2015

My Day 12 saw me stitching on a WIP from the Shores of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings.  I worked on block 2. This doesn't look stitch heavy but the block is taking me some hours to finish.  Also it didn't help that I was missing some threads. Hopefully I will get onto block 3 soon! 

Happy stitching
Jan x

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 11 DUCJC2015

May I present Q is for Quilt. Another PS alphabet block. It will look so colourful and pretty next to Polly the Parrot.  Now onto day 12!

Until tomorrow
Jan x

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 10 DUCJC2015

P is for Parrot was what I started on day 10 of the Prairie Schooler alphabet.  I stitched the top of the parrot cage. The parrot will look fine next to the owl. The P block sits under G is for Garden which is arguably the prettiest block of all the designs.  

Thanks for all the comments.  I have enjoyed posting on a daily basis. I have just been using he Blogger App so cut out the more lengthy process of using my SLR camera, downloading, and editing photos etc. I cut the process down by probably 20-30mins. The photo quality is not as good but it's a post and that is what is important! I love documenting DUCJC. 

Jan x

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 9 DUCJC2015

Day 9 saw me start the block O is for Owl which sits under F is for Friend.  This block will be handsome! Who doesn't love a majestic owl? The Prairie Schooler alphabet has had lots of my attention this week. My other projects might be missing me. 

Until tomorrow. Happy stitching...
Jan x

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 8 DUCJC2015

I had little stitching time on day 8 of DUCJC so only managed to start a few leaves on N is for Nest of the Prairie Schooler alphabet.  It was my lovely mum's birthday so we celebrated by going to a circus (many years since we had been) and catching a film 'The Imitation Game'. A pleasurable day spoiling my beautiful mother and being a family together.

Happy stitching
Jan x

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 7 DUCJC2015

On day 7 of DUCJC I stitched on a WIP by Bothy Threads called Cut Thru' Pirate Ship. Well it was Pirate Wednesday after all! I stitched on the sail. It is stitch heavy in this part so it will take me a little while to finish the sail.

Happy stitching 
Jan x 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 6 DUCJC2015

I started the M block of the Prairie Schooler alphabet. This block is called M is for Mermaid. Wow is this waterbird pretty. I have run out of the DMC colour 924 so hope to put the wings and body on it soon. No mermaid in sight yet but she won't be too far off.

Happy stitching

Jan x 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 5 DUCJC2015

I started a new block on day 5. This is the Prairie Schooler alphabet block 'L is for Leaves'.  I have stitched this block before as separate block in the past. It features a gorgeous deer. Hopefully I won't find it too boring but so far so good.  


It is stitched two over two on 36ct linen using DMC threads. 

Until tomorrow happy stitching

Jan x

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 4 DUCJC2015

Day 4 of Debbies's UCJC2015 saw me stitching on my HAED WIP 'Mini Alice and Snow White'. I only have about 200 stitches left and I will have finished my first page! 


Three things are new to me with this HAED. Firstly I am stitching this with tent stitch.  So quick! Secondly, I am using pre-gridded fabric called white 25ct magic guide evenweave. Thirdly I have gone paperless!!! I am enjoying stitching this using PDF Expert app on my new mini iPad. Lots of new challenges abound.

What you can see is the left side of Alice's face with her blonde hair and blue headband. 

Until tomorrow happy stitching...

Jan x

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 3 DUCJC2015

Day 3 of DUCJC2015 saw me stitching on a work in progress (WIP). I have many WIPS so cannot start a new project every day.  I prefer large projects so starting 31 massive projects would be crazy. Therefore I am doing a combination of new starts and WIPS. 

Day 3 I worked hard on the cat in The Prairie Schooler alphabet block, K is for Kitty. This is stitched on raw linen two over two using the recommended DMC threads.

Until tomorrow...Jan x


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 2 DUCJC2015

Day 2 of DUCJC 15 saw me stitch on my first Chatelaine by Martina Rosenberg. I have been eager to start one. This is a freebie design from her website called Autumn 2011 Fly Agaric.

This is the top of the toadstool stitched on antique 32ct linen 2 over 2 using the recommended threads. It's a small design so should be a 2015 finish. 

Today I will be working on a new letter of the Prairie Schooler alphabet.

See you tomorrow when I update on day 3. 
                                                             Jan x

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 1 DUCJC2015

Happy New Year stitchers,

I am part of a special group stitching in memory of Debbie stitching the Ultimate Crazy January Challenge 2015 (DUCJC2015).   This challenge involves stitching on different items on every day throughout January and even February if you dare.  I have committed to January and will stitch on a combination of new starts and works in progress (WIPs).

It was easy to choose my first new start!  I was also committed on January 1st to take part in a Mirabilia stitch along (SAL) event hosted through a Facebook group and a YouTube/Instagram group. The Mirabilia design I chose was a mermaid called The Enchanted. She is one of the most beaded Mirabilias which should make her very pretty.

I am stitching her two over over on a 28ct hand-dyed fabric by Chromatic Alchemy which is such a pretty combination of sea blues and grays that I was fortunate enough to win on the CA Facebook page.  I love the start I made.

Joyful stitching...
                       Jan x