April 2016 Update

I don’t have much to share this month, I spent most of April working on my Pokemon picture, which I talked about here.

The only thing I have to show for my labours this month is this tiny little Bluetit and his butterfly pal:

Bluetit and Butterfly

I adapted this cutie from a much larger sampler from the book ‘The Countryside In Cross Stitch’ by Christina Marsh, which I found for the outlandish sum of 1 whole penny on Amazon.

Sampler Design

I was inspired by a recent family day trip to Wales, where several of my relatives spent the day exclaiming over the many (very many!) little birds visible on the farm, so I did a quick stitch of one of their favourites for a house warming card.

Bluetit Card

So there you have it – my one and only small project tackled this month!

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Tiptoeing Towards Christmas

Every year, I start my Christmas stitching before Summer is even over, and every year my non-stitchy friends make fun of me for thinking about it so early. I’m the sort of person that likes to plan everything months in advance so I never have to feel rushed or stressed, and if that means stitching snowy village churches and reindeer in August, so be it.

I’ve had a bit of a blank space in my sewing calendar to fill recently anyway, since I ran out of thread for my Skyscape and I have no commissions right now while costume season is pretty much done until Halloween, with the exception of EGX Birmingham. So, I made the decision to start on my first Christmas projects of the year. I started very small though! A few gift tags, which I won’t even bother to photograph until there’s a whole stack and a couple of cover kits from last year that have been hanging around in the stash bag.

Here’s the only ones I took a photo of:

Close up of penguin Christmas cards

Close up of penguin Christmas cards

Penguin Christmas Cards  (Cover kit)

Penguin Christmas Cards (Cover kit)

I absolutely adore these guys; just look at the little colour co-ordinated cross stitch on their hats! And only they take about half an hour or so each to stitch, I wish I could just mass produce these this year, but I suppose that would be cheating.

Anyhow, Classic Embroidery have, as promised, sent me some additional silver thread so i can get back to work on Skyscape before my next round of festive preparations. A+ for customer service, I am very impressed!

May 2015 – Pansies Kit Review

I spent most of May working on larger projects, none of which are finished enough to show here, but I did get time to make a birthday card for my mother-in-law.

Pansies birthday card - DMC Floral Quick Kit

Pansies birthday card – DMC Floral Quick Kit

I found this little DMC Floral Quick Kit in yet another bag of inherited stash. I think it must be very old as I can’t find any internet references to this series of kits, except for one or two eBay listings, but it has held up well  and had no wear or damage at all. I did make one small change and backstitched the leaves and stems of the flowers in green instead of black, because I had a lot of green left over at the end and I thought the black looked too severe on the model. Looking back, I think the leaves lack definition now, so I should have either stuck with the black and just did as I was told, or looked for a darker shade of green. I’m not the best at following instructions, I tend to just wander off with my own ideas sometimes when I really shouldn’t!

DMC Quick Stitch Floral Kit - Pansies

DMC Quick Stitch Floral Kit – Pansies

Even though you probably can’t buy these any more, and it is a super tiny kit, here’s a quick review.

Pros – 

  • Tiny and very quick to stitch, as the title suggests! I think it took me about two evenings to get this done. Also a good size to be turned into a card or small gift.
  • Lovely traditional design, perfect for someone with more classical tastes.
  • High quality materials and printing. Chart was easy to read and the threads had not worn or frayed over time.

Cons – 

  • Black and white chart only, backstitch instructions were therefore unclear but manageable. No suggestion on number of strands to use, so I just went with what felt right.
  • Ran out of pink thread about half way through, and had to salvage a similar colour from another kit. No thread numbers provided to make an exact match,

April 2015 – Mini Projects

I have had such a busy April – spring cleaning, attending concerts, new clients at work and effectively re-learning to drive – that I have had hardly any time to stitch or craft for myself at all. I have experimented in the kitchen a little with some new recipes, and had equal parts success and catastrophic failure (don’t mention the rock solid flapjacks, for example), but very little to show for myself on the stitching front.

I’ve been stitching cover kits and tiny projects in my little gaps of free time though, as well as plodding on with my Magnum Opus, which will be ready for an update soon I think. Here’s a few of the cards I’ve made up for birthdays and so on in May (click for bigger)

The apples card will be for Father’s Day, as it reminds me of the smell of my Grandad’s house – he used to make his own cider in the garage, and had an apple tree in the back garden which I would often climb as a child. My Nan still makes delicious cinnamon crumbles from those apples!

I’ve gone a bit overboard with ribbons and bows and thrown on a few sequins for good measure, as there is no such thing as too much sparkle on a card…Probably.

Cover Kits With A Twist!

I love getting cover kits off magazines, because they are the absolute perfect size to carry around in my handbag and stealthily stitch on my lunch-breaks. They are almost invariably really high quality little designs as well, so it’s great to get them for a free bonus gift.

On the other hand, I tend to feel a little bit like I’m cheating when I stitch a design without any changes or personal input. I like to put a bit of my own creativity in everything I do, which can be difficult with such limited materials. The solution – I spent a few days digging up some old cast off card-making and paper-crafting bits and bobs from friends, and learning a few tricks of the trade, to help personalize these designs.

I had a great time with sequins, beads, ribbons, buttons and ink, a dash of lace and rather too much glitter! It reminded me of being a kid at primary school let loose with the art supplies, except I had to clean up after myself at the end instead of leaving the mess for a long-suffering teacher. I definitely feel like these cards are now really one of a kind, and I had a lot more fun flexing my creative muscles than just popping them in the provided card mounts, and I’d like to try my hand at paper-craft again in the future. Here are some of the results, I hope you like them:

Christmas Cards 2014

Here’s a small selection of the cards I made and sent this year to my family and friends – the ones I remembered to take photos of – mostly from kits this year as papercraft card orders took up all my personal crafting time!