Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crawling out from under the covers....

....to say a belated Merry Christmas.  Unfortunately I had the return of the dreaded lurgy on Christmas eve and the season of cooking and cleaning goodwill to all men became the season of sniffling and sneezing! So I have spent the last few days tucked up under the duvet doing absolutely nothing...except sniffling!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and here's to wonderful things in the new year!

Until next time...happy stitching.

Rhona

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Who stole Monday?!!

...and most of Tuesday? 

Anyone else having trouble finding enough time to get everything done? Silly question, I know!!!

This week I have managed to get a bit more (albeit a really small bit!) of stitching done on Simple Treasures...


I'm trying to decide whether or not to do the back stitching as I go. Back stitching isn't my favourite thing to do but it would certainly pull this design to life and if I do it as I go along, it would save me a lot of heartache at the end! Mmmm, decisions, decisions.

After all the lovely comments about the afghan that I had crocheted, I decided add some more rows of crocheting to make the edging border a bit bigger....and it made such a difference!



As you can see, I got a bit carried away and did not just do one extra row....but three! Glutton for punishment or therapeutic stress relief? Heehee! All I can say is that it was lovely and cosy with that draped over me as I did the border. I wasn't really sure how to turn the corners on the border so I just made it up as I went along....it looks ok to me, and I'm sure that anyone who uses it will not be too bothered if the border hasn't been done correctly.  Maybe Santa will be reading my blog and bring me a  copy of  'Crocheting for dummies'.

Until next time...happy stitching.

Rhona



Thursday, December 13, 2012

TUSAL

TUSAL time again....and can you believe it, the last one for the year! Goodness, where did this year go? I sound so old when I say that, but it truly feels like the year has flown by. Anyway, enough of this old lady talk and onto the orts for this month...



I kind of cheated with my small jar and added the yarn ends from my crocheting! There are a few cross stitch threads there but not many...never mind, it can only get better. The large container is all the orts for the year - quite a collection, don't you think?

And I have to show you the lovely card/ornament that I received from a friend in Nottingham...


I believe the design is from Cross Stitcher magazine, but I have no idea of the issue number. Isn't it cute? 


And that little button nose finishes him off perfectly! Thanks Janet, I love him.

Until next time...happy stitching!

Rhona

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Message in a bottle...

....well, it's actually a cross stitch in a bottle!


This adorable necklace came from Michelle  (you can find her blog here) and it came in a gorgeous little drawstring bag....too cute.  Can you believe it, she can do smaller bottles!!!  I do love the necklace - thanks Michelle!


Sticking with the cross stitch theme, I did manage to get back my mojo and have actually put needle to fabric! I've done a bit more on my Geisha....not much, but anything is better than nothing. 



Not great progress but time seems so limited at this time of year, don't you think?

I also managed to finish crocheting all the granny squares together and although it looked good, it didn't look great :(  (Also very hard to photograph!)



It look kind of unfinished and although I was desperate to say I had finished it, I decided that it probably needed a border all round the edge to pull it all together. So off I tootled, back to YouTube, to find out how to do an edging. The result was well worth the effort. Now I just have to decide if I want to repeat the edging (I do have an extra ball of yarn) and have a double border all round....what do you think?



I think a "Crochet for Dummies" book should be on my list to Santa this year!

Until next time...happy stitching!

Rhona

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Granny Squares

Remember all those granny squares I was crocheting? Well I'm now at the stage of joining them all together to make a throw... or afghan.... or blanket....I'm not sure what the correct term is, but it's a thing to warp yourself up in and snuggle under when the weather is cold and miserable! All those lovely cheerful colours are sure to brighten up any dull, miserable winter's day.

Since I've just learned to crochet, and making granny squares is the sum total of my crocheting knowledge, I decided to whip stitch the squares together. This seemed to be the quickest and easiest method to use. Unfortunately, the since the yarn that I used to make the granny squares is variegated, it really showed up when I stitched the squares together and just looked, well....wrong!


The only way to make it look less obvious was to find a stretch of yarn with the same colours as the squares that were to be joined and use that. it meant lots of cutting and snipping and took such a long time. Even using this time consuming method, it still didn't look right, so in the end I decided to make the joins quite obvious and crochet the squares together. So after Googling the different methods on how to join the squares together, this is the method I chose...


Crocheting then together turned out to be more enjoyable than stitching them together!

I've managed to do all the horizontal stitching and  just have to work on the vertical joins now. This is what it looks like at the moment...


One thing that surprised me is just how heavy it is! I'm going to enjoy snuggling up with this blanket/afghan/ throw (whatever the correct term is) ....roll on winter weather!

Until next time..happy stitching.

Rhona



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Reinbeer....

....and nope, I haven't spelled it wrong, it's not a typo....it is actually Christmas reinbeer....



Heehee! How cute is that? 

Thankfully my stitching mojo has returned and I can complete this Christmas gift. I have four more reindeer to finish for my six-pack herd of reinbeer. I'm hoping to make each reindeer slightly different (so that I don't get bored!) They are also being finished as tree decorations so they can be used again and again.

This is deer number two...


I haven't planned what three, four, five and six will look like yet. I'm thinking maybe one will  have pipe cleaner antlers, another one to have a bell round it's neck, one to have some googly eyes glued on and then I'm hoping inspiration will strike for number six! Any suggestions?

Until next time...happy stitching!

Rhona

P.S. Bottles of Root beer could also be used for a non alcoholic version!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sequins and thank yous!



Thanks to everyone who offered advice about getting pictures on my blog even though I have used up all my free storage space. As you can tell ....it worked! Thank you. And just as a little warning....there's a bit of a picture overload here now - well now that I know how to do it, I might as well make the most of it!

So  now, on to the sequins....

I’ve had my fill of sequins! I NEVER want to sew another sequin again until at least after Christmas. For the last two weeks I have been stitching hundreds and hundreds of sequins…. and as the pictures will prove, that’s no exaggeration.

I not only finished the snowman stocking that I showed you earlier, but I also finished another two! Yes, I know, I’m a glutton for punishment but they were so cute that I couldn’t resist - and with 50% off I just couldn't walk out the store without them. I thought it would be nice to stitch them for my daughter and her college room-mates. 

Here’s the snowman stocking all finished….


Sadly the camera doesn’t capture the sparkles of the sequins. Here are some close ups….




And I love the way the name is stitched on to a little dangling snowflake! So cute!



Then there’s a Santa stocking in more traditional Christmas colours….


 ...and some close ups....





And finally a Gingerbread house……


The last one I only managed to finish as my daughter helped sew on all the sequins for me. She decided that there wasn’t quite enough sparkle if she followed the chart (a girl’s got to have her sparkle!) so she covered all the snow on the roof with sequins, a mammoth undertaking,  and I have to admit that it looks really so much better with all that shimmer as you can see...




And then, just as I had taken all the pictures and my daughter was getting ready to put the stockings in her suitcase to go back to uni, I realized that I had forgotten to add a bow to the wreath! Of course, these things annoy me so I just had to hastily add a little bow!


Ahh...finally finished!

I’m sure the three girls will find that their dorm room will be a bit more festive – and certainly more sparkly - when they hang up their stockings.

So after all that sewing, I’m actually looking forward to getting back to cross-stitching! Yayyyy!

Thanks again for the advice about the pictures.

Until next time…happy stitching!
Rhona


Monday, November 26, 2012

Arghhh!

Anyone else having trouble with Blogger and pictures? After having loads of pictures of some stitching to show you, Blogger is telling me that I have used up all my storage space and I can't add any pictures.....unless I want to upgrade....at a price.

I even went back into old posts and deleted some pictures in the hope of getting round this, but to no avail. 

Anyway, I'll read the fine print later and hopefully will have some pics to show you soon.

Until next time...happy stitching.

Rhona

Monday, November 19, 2012

Everything stops for tea!


  
Well I finally managed to get another gift almost finished! I know that sounds a strange thing to say…almost finished…but read on and you’ll see what I mean! This is the Everything Stops for Tea design that I showed you a few weeks ago and will be a gift for a fellow Tea Jenny, just like myself. The name ‘Tea Jenny’ is a Scottish term for anyone, male or female, who drinks lots of tea, and being a devout ‘Tea Jenny’ (it could practically be my middle name!) this design is soooo me! (I’m even typing this one handed as I have a cup of tea in the other hand!)

Here’s the stitching all framed up…


I’m having trouble getting a frame that I really like. I had originally bought the same one that I had for the coffee themed gift  but it didn’t look right so I went and bought this darker frame, but I’m still not 100% happy with it. I think I might go and buy one of those plain pine frames and paint it a similar green to the teacups.

So, along with some coasters that match this design, I’m also adding some homemade cookies…..but not just any old homemade cookies….tea bag shaped cookies! I had a little practice run of making the cookies and this is how they turned out…


Too cute! The idea came from here, but I used a lemon shortbread recipe instead…total yummy. Of course, I’ll be making a fresh batch of cookies to put in the gift nearer to Christmas….stale cookies don’t make good gifts!

Along with the sampler, coasters, and the cookies, there will also be some more tea themed fun…


Heehee, they’re just regular teabags but with the original label cut off and a tiny envelope attached and a handwritten message inside. To make a tiny envelope like this all you have to do is find a template of a regular sized envelope (thanks heavens for good old Google!) and then re-size it on your computer. Print off the re-sized envelope and use it as a template to cut out the teeny tiny ones. This sounds quite a fiddly and time consuming job, but I sat and cut out and folded all these (and more) while watching suffering through ‘The Walking Dead’ on TV last night. Once you have made all those little envelops you just have to attach them to the teabag and then add your little note…


The little note can be anything you like - an inspirational quote, something funny or personal – I’ve made mine a mixture of each.

There are plenty of other tea themed ideas that you can add to this type of gift, and if I end up having some time before Christmas (yeah, like that’s going to happen!) I might add to this gift. As it is, this is the way the gift should look by Christmas…


And if my stitch bug returns in time, there will also be two coasters to add this too.

The charts for this Tea design and also a similar Coffee design (you can’t leave out your coffee loving friends!) can be found at www.TangledThreadsOnline.com.

Phew! Time for another cuppa! Milk and sugar?

Until next time…happy stitching!
Rhona











Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TUSAL and other updates

Although my cross stitch bug has abandoned me and shows no sign of returning, I do (surprisingly) still have a few orts in my jar to show...


Most of the orts come from the felt stocking I have been working on, but more of that later! The little bear and the diary and address book were a lovely surprise from Michelle at Shells Stitching for being her first guest blogger - thanks Michelle, that was a lovely surprise! Do pop over and check out her blog  -  she's having a fab giveaway too!

So, onto the threads that were in the ort jar. Most of them were from my stocking which looked like this the last time you saw it...

...but now looks like this....


After what feels like a million sequins and a million and one of those oh-so-tiny beads that refuse to  do what they're told, I'm almost finished...yay! Unfortunately, I have run out of those annoying little beads and also one colour of thread. Of course, stitchers law...every blue thread that I own doesn't match the thread that's in the kit! 

Anyway, here are some close ups of the stocking. Unfortunately, it's such a miserable rainy day here and the light isn't good to catch the sparkly effect of the beads and sequins.



So just the arms, mittens and the top part of his scarf and he'll be done!

And in the hope of tempting my stitchy bug to return, here are the updates of the WIP's, although I'm not sure if technically they can be called WIP's since I haven't worked on them in a couple of weeks.

Simple Treasures....


Geisha...


And last but not least, the good old Granny Squares!


This angle makes it look like there's even less than last time, but there's a couple more piles hiding behind the ones you can see!

And this is how it looks when they are all laid out...


Now I just have to figure out how to join them all together...YouTube, here I come!

Phew! For someone who has lost their stitchy bug, I'm quite surprised at how much I have to show you!

Until next time...happy stitching!

Rhona

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

LOST...one cross stitch bug.

If you find him, please send him home!

Yes, it's true I have lost my cross stitch bug :(  I just can't seem to get enthusiastic about the two projects I have on the go at the moment. I do want to see them finished, but I have no desire to pick them up and work on them.So, if you have any tried and tested ways to get the stitching mojo back, please let me know!

I do have to confess to starting another project....yes, I'll admit it, I'm a serial starter! Another confession is that I can't stand to be doing nothing, so..... I had seen this kit in the craft store and thought it could be an interesting little project and when Joann's emailed me a 50% off coupon....well, how could I resist?


So as you can see from the green sticker the kit was reduced to $11.99 and then with the 50% off coupon....you have to agree, I would have been mad not to splurge out (if spending $6 plus tax could be described as splurging!)

So, while watching the election coverage last night, this is what I did...



It's a bit fiddly, and the instructions are, well, lets be diplomatic and say they are not the clearest I have ever read, but I think this will be a fun project to do.

Here's a close up of the top part of the stocking...



The camera doesn't really capture the sparkle terribly well. There is a clear bead on every sequin, so it really does catch the light! My hand sewing is not the best, I really do need the little holes like aida to know where to put the stitches! I'm hoping that when it's complete no-one will be looking at the stitches and checking how evenly they are placed.  Now the burning question is....will I get it finished in time for Christmas!!

As a quick side note, I have added some more charts to my website and hope to have the little Tea sampler made in to a gift for my next post.

And one last thing, Nancy from The Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe is having yet another amazing giveaway. Head over to her blog here to join in the fun - don't forget to tell her that I sent you!


Until next time, (when my stitchy bug will hopefully have returned)...happy stitching!

Rhona


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Organizing….again!



This organizing malarkey sure does take some time, but I’m getting things done, slowly….very slowly! My excuse reason for not getting it all done in one fell swoop is that, apart from the fact that I don’t have time to do it all in one go, I have to admit that I’d be too confused as to where things were! Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! Anyway, I managed to rummage through the old battered biscuit tin that held all my ‘not used very often’ threads – you know, the variegated, Madeira’s and the drive me crazy metallics.  I sorted them all out and purchased some stacking plastic containers that were the perfect size and this is what it looks like now…



There are still some random threads in the old biscuit tin, along with some buttons beads and charms, but my little old brain can’t cope with too much change at once. So…baby steps!

Anyway, did you notice all those metallic threads in the middle container?  Some of these were used for this….

 The World of Cross Stitching 
Issue196
Immediate Media Co


…an article in The World of Cross Stitching magazine.  Ruth, the editor, asked me to write an article about metallic threads as it was getting to that time of the year when all our stitching begins to include that all important festive sparkle. The free gift with the magazine that issue was two sets of metallic threads along with a free chart booklet. Ruth very kindly mailed me some samples of the different threads to play with ahem, I mean, do some research on….it’s a tough job, but someone had to do it.*wink, wink* So my collection of metallic threads increased with some new and untried threads. It was great fun hard work to try out these different threads and I was really surprised at the differences in the threads. Some of them were a joy to stitch with…yes, I actually said that! Me, that normally runs a mile at the thought of stitching with metallic, actually enjoyed stitching with them! Who would have thought that?!!

So I guess the moral of the story is to try out different types of metallic threads till you find the one you like to work with, and since adding to your stash is always fun, it’s win/win situation.

Until next time…happy stitching (even with metallics!)

Rhona

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Re-usable Christmas gift tags.

I can't decide if this idea should come under the heading of being environmentally friendly or just plain frugal - it fits both! Here's my re-usable Christmas gift tags....




You may be wondering how on earth they are re-usable....well they're chalkboard tags! How cool is that?!!

I hate to think of any of my stitching being thrown out, but what on earth can you do with a little cross stitch tag once it has been used? By making the cross stitch into chalkboard tags they can be used again and again and again! Environmentally friendly and frugal too. It's a win, win situation.

To make these tags, all you need are some little wooden shapes from the craft store (you can use any shape, hearts, stars, circles etc). These are really cheap, I think I paid about 60 cents each. The hardest part of this project is peeling the sticky label off the wooden shape. Honestly, that was the hard part, these labels refused to come off in one piece! Then all you have to do is give the tags a couple of coats of chalkboard paint and once they are dry you can, if you want to, decorate the edges using a white paint pen.  Tie a ribbon through the hole and then attach your stitching.  Voila -  re-usable tags!


For this one I attached the stitching to the main part of the tag.


If you have a rather large gift and want a larger tag, then you can add the stitching to the top part of the wooden tag to make the whole thing a bit bigger. I stitched the snowman on plastic canvas so that the entire thing was a bit more robust and would last more than one Christmas season.


Chalkboard paint comes in other colours too, so you can opt for bright red, or forest green etc if you don't fancy plain, old fashioned black!

So that's some tags made,  now I just have to think of the gifts to go with them. Nothing like doing things backwards!!!

Until next time...happy stitching.

Rhona