Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Merry Christmas

It's been a busy year and it just doesn't seem to be getting any better. I am hoping that in the new year I can relax a little and get back to doing the little things I enjoy. I did finish the teacher's ornaments and they turned out better than expected, I will try and share before Christmas. I am still stitching away on the children's ornaments, but I don't think they will get done before Christmas.
I am planning on having a giveaway in the new year as a thank you to everyone who continues to read my blog, so keep an eye out in January.

I would like to thank all my loyal followers and especially those who leave those precious comments. I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and safe new year. May you find more time for stitching and I hope that Santa most generously enhances your stash!

I very quickly put together this little snowflake pattern for you all. I was inspired by something that my grandmother must have stitched a very long time ago. I found a hand drawn pattern similar to this in amongst her old stitching things, which I can only assume she drew. Anyway, be creative and enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Zoo

Last month we took a trip to the zoo. The girls each had an animal encounter with Aurelia getting to hold a snake and Amelie and I feeding the giraffe. Not much else to say other than we had a great day. Please enjoy a few photos!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Secret Stitching Revealed

Just moments ago I received an email from Cathy letting me know the birthday exchange I sent through the Friends Through Thread blog had arrived. I put a few things together with a pretty felt pincushion kit from Hatched & Patched, some Stitches & Spice cottons and a selection of Thread Gatherer silks. I didn't take a photo of those, but I have borrowed a photo from Cathy (I hope you don't mind).

I also stitched a few items for Cathy. These are pillows by the designer Nicoletta Farrauto and each design reflects elements found in tapestries in the Borromeo Palace on Isola Bella, Lago Maggiore in Italy. I finished the edges of each piece with a blanket stitch using a perle cotton and one had a beautiful handmade Italian mother of pearl button.

Design: White Peacock Pincushion
Designer: Nicoletta Farrauto (Gift Of Stitching Issue 63, May 2011)
Fabric: 36ct Edinburgh linen - Ecru
Thread: DMC
Finish: Pincushion
Design: Parrot Pincushion
Designer: Nicoletta Farrauto (Gift Of Stitching Issue 64, June 2011)
Fabric: 36ct Edinburgh linen - Ecru
Thread: DMC
Finish: Pincushion
Design: Royal Visitor Pincushion
Designer: Nicoletta Farrauto (Gift Of Stitching Issue 65, July 2011)
Fabric: 32ct Belfast linen - Ecru
Thread: DMC
Finish: Pincushion
When I was looking at designs I also came across this strawberry by Nicoletta and not having tried a strawberry before I decided to give it ago. I didn't distress it as the instructions said. I made a slight boo, boo with this one and cut it in the wrong place so the seam was a little over the stitching, but it still came out as I had hoped. I learnt a few techniques and some lessons in the making.

Design: Primitive Strawberry Ornament
Designer: Nicoletta Farrauto (Gift Of Stitching Issue 49, February 2010)
Fabric: 32ct Belfast linen - Ecru
Thread: DMC
Finish: Pincushion

Finally I made a crochet mug cosy. This was a lot of fun and I will be making more of these for myself this winter. The pattern is very easy and makes a stretchy piece so it can fit on various sized mugs. I found this pattern on Pinterest, so it proves that I don't just look at things on Pinterest, but I actually make them as well!

Design: Crochet Mug Cozy
Designer: Bubblegirl (pattern found here)
Yarn: Panda Magnum Soft 8 ply - 100% acrylic (colour 4602)
Hook size: 4.00mm/US 6

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stitching Updates

It's been quite a while since I have updated with photos of my stitching. Silly me has over thirty different projects going at the moment and I just can't put the time into each of them that I would like.

First of all is My Favourite Scottish Sampler from the course I took last year with Robin Laukuf. I put it aside because Felix was born and forgot all about it. I took it out recently and finished the four-sided stitch alphabet (although I had to unpick the Z), stitched another hundred or so Algerian eyelets and started with the backstitch swirls. Apart from being in silk and not being able to stitch due to dry hands, the backstitch swirls take a lot of concentration because there are bits over one thread and three threads and two threads and not always where you expect them. Besides I only have another 800 or so Algerian eyelets to go......

Next is Hannah Lancaster by The Porcupine Collection. I had stitched quite a bit on her and I know that I am on the finishing straight. There have been so many other things getting in the way I have had to put her down for a little while. I am very proud of this one.

Finally this is where I am up to with Christmas At Hawk Run Hollow. Pretty sad I know, but again, silks and dry hands.....moral of the story is I should ditch the children for an hour and go and get a manicure, yeah, yeah in my dreams!
I have been working on Susan Singleton, but I have gone off her, because I made a huge mistake and have to restitch three days of work. I can't share her at the moment, the next scheduled post is December. All I can say is that the chart and the picture are very different, so a whole lot more work than I anticipated is required in changing colours and working out what stitches I need to do.

I suppose most of my stitching will take a back seat for now, I have the ornaments for the children to stitch and then Aurelia wants me to stitch an ornament for her teachers. Yes, she has two teachers, so two of everything, but that's OK. Your first teacher(s) is always the favourite and I want to make their Christmas presents special for Aurelia's sake.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Gift Time

Cathy and I participated in a birthday exchange through the Friends Through Thread blog and these are all the wonderful things she sent me. Cathy's Mum does beautiful tatting and she used the motifs to make some very cute pincushions. I received some Bohin needles that I have been dying to try, but couldn't find, some trim which has already been earmarked to be used for Christmas ornaments and the JCS Christmas issue and the new Blackbird Design chart.

Cathy also stitched this very cute design from Blackbird Designs and put in a fob for a necklace. She also included another fob so that I can stitch something and put it inside. Thank you so much Cathy for such a great gift!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Amelie's Birthday

In the beginning of October Amelie celebrated her fourth birthday. Not wanting to be out done be her sister and having very specific tastes, she opted for a birthday at a seafood restaurant.

We asked what she wanted for her birthday and she said she wanted to eat lobster (although pronounced lomster) and prawns and crab. I organised for my parents and brother and sister-in-law to join us for lunch at Doyles On The Beach as it is a well known and very established restaurant with a great reputation for high quality seafood.

We ordered the seafood platter and the look on the kids faces when it arrived was priceless. Felix actually squealed with delight. I couldn't believe that between the three children they polished off more than half the seafood platter on their own. Lucky the adults ordered entrees to begin with.

After lunch we decided to take the kids down to Camp Cove (the supposed first landfall in Sydney Harbour for European settlement). It's a nice sheltered beach, but being the beginning of spring I didn't bring the children's swimmers as the water is too cold. They changed into some shorts and t-shirts and explored the beach.

Aurelia was collecting things on the beach and I said to her go a little deeper up to your ankles and you will find more shells in the water. I took my eyes off her for a second and the next thing I knew she chest deep in the water fully clothed declaring there was even more out this far! Luckily I am a well prepared mum and anticipated such an act and brought spare underwear for just such an occasion. At least they all had a really fun time and my DH and I had a nice peaceful hour's drive home in the car with all three snoring in the back seat.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Kit for Cabinet Course Arrives

I should have posted this back in September some time, but as usual I am late in the posting. I had been anticipating the arrival of the first kit for the Cabinet of Curiosities course from Thistle Threads to arrive. I held off all day to open the box as I didn't want to be distracted from getting the housework completed or dinner prepared. The children however could not stay away and had to have their little look in. Felix grabbed the bags of thread and ran round the kitchen waving them round his head whooping and hollering with joy. Funny little boy!!

What a wonderful surprise when I did eventually open the package. So many beautiful silk threads in such luscious colours. The silks are Soie De Paris and Soie Ovale in each colour range. I just want to touch them all and keep looking at them. Are the packages cute or what, I can hardly bring myself to open them up!

 Tricia did such a fabulous job of packaging and labelling each item and even added a little surprise with the 'Cup of Contemplation' as a little gift to us all.
I am a little concerned about this course though. Most people taking this course seem to be very accomplished embroiderers and my skills are very limited to counted work. We started our course work stitching this month, but I have had terribly dry hands that seem to be snagging on silk threads. I have been giving my hands little scrubs, moisturising them through the night, but washing hands all day while cleaning, after wiping bottoms and changing nappies doesn't help at all. I am very much looking forward to finding out how my skills stand up as soon as I can get these hands nice and soft again.

Friday, 21 September 2012


Maybe I am too ambitious or maybe I am just such a sucker for punishment, but I have joined another SAL.
My track record for SAL's is just pathetic, but maybe this time I can do better. My friend Sandra showed me the chart she is doing for the SAL with Terri, Deb, Margaret, Marsha, Gabi and Evelyne and I knew that seeing I had everything already in my stash I just had to join in. We are all stitching Susan Singleton by The Scarlet Letter and the colours and design are just perfect.
I have chosen to stitch mine using DMC and I am using a piece of 36ct white linen by Hand-Dyed Fibers. I was going to use 40ct and waste some linen, but I won this 36ct linen on eBay and it was the exact perfect size for this sampler.
The SAL will be over two years and we are posting our progress every three months. The stitching requirement is not onerous, so maybe I will be successful. I just can't wait to get started.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

A Little Finish

Once again I have been a terrible blogger. I am just struggling to get time to post and time to visit everyone blogs. I have however been very busy stitching.

The most recent finish has been a Stacy Nash piece from her Handwork Club. This is the first piece from the series. I used some wood shavings to fill the pillow, just the stuff you buy for the bottom of guinea pig cages and it worked very nicely. The pillow is quite heavy and the filling spreads out quite well, yet gives the pillow a little bit of a primitive, lumpy feel. By the way I have not aged the pillow, apart from roughening up the backing fabric. I just can't bring myself to stain my stitching. Maybe another time.

Design: Handwork Club '1820 Redwork Pinkeep'
Designer: Stacy Nash Primitives
Fabric: 32ct Platinum linen
Thread: Gentle Art Sampler Thread
Finish: Pinkeep

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Craft Show Haul - Only a Few Months Late

Do you remember a while back I said that I went to the craft show? Maybe not, it was after all a few months ago. I had promised photos of what I had purchased, but once again time ran short and I forgot to post. Well wait no longer, here is the fantastic haul.

Some old Sampler and Antique Quarterly magazines, Yvette Stanton's book Hardanger with a little fabric, two project bags, some fabric dye in several shades of brown. Plenty of ground walnut shell and a stack of different beads.

Beautiful hand-dyed felted wool, a stack of fat quarters of fabric for finishing some projects. Mother of pearl buttons and some Stitches & Spice sampler threads.

A little kit to try my hand at some free hand embroidery using some of the Aurifil threads and some very basic quilting. It makes a nice little pouch I can then store the threads in. Finally not one but two pairs of scissors, I fell in love with.

My wonderful DH purchased this cabinet for me to store some of my threads in. I had to wait to have it made for me and it's handmade from oak. I can store more than 1000 thread cards if I choose, but I have decided to store my DMC #8 and #12 threads, HDF silks and the Au Ver A Soie 100/3, trebizond and Soie Surfine. I will probably be able to store twice more than that, but I don't want to get too carried away too soon.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Everyone's Ready For An Adventure

Today we had Aurelia's 6th birthday party and the theme she chose was adventurers. All the kids had bandanas, drink bottles and flashlights as they travelled around our garden through an obstacle course and finishing with a treasure hunt.

As you can see the cake of choice was a dinosaur dig one and the kids loved it. We served jungle juice and swamp jelly, with sausages on rolls and a fruit platter.

I am tired and now need a good rest.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Mary Glover Sampler

You may all remember back last year when everyone was stitching Mary Glover in the SAL, well so was I, but I never did finish. Felix came along and then I got stuck on the huge rice stitch motif and (insert some more excuses).

I am happy to present Mary Glover finished and complete in all her glory. In hindsight I have to say that I actually enjoyed stitching her and even the rice stitch motif wasn't so bad when I followed the pattern correctly. I just love the colours and the pretty verse. Thank you so much Emmanuelle for sharing this beautiful sampler with us.

Design: Mary Glover
Designer: Emmanuelle
Fabric: 40ct Newcastle linen - Antique White
Thread: DMC

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bad blogger......

Wow, I have just noticed how bad a blogger I have become, with only a post or two a month for some time. Things have become hectic again just as I caught up.

Felix turned one earlier in the month and we had a great party at home. Lots of cooking and cleaning and organising involved as it was cold and we had everyone inside for lunch. He received so many presents which meant a reorganisation of the play/loungeroom. Felix has started walking and investigating anything he can reach and so needs a lot more supervision than before.

In the middle of the month I took a trip to the craft show in Sydney. I had a great day spending up big on all sorts of supplies. No charts, but I did pick up some hand-dyed sampler threads, fabric, quilting fabric for finishing, crushed walnut shells, fabric dyes for aging my linen, storage bags for my WIPs and some new scissors. My husband purchased a timber thread storage cabinet for me, but that is in the process of being made, so photos will follow when it arrives.

What has been the most hectic has been the renovation work being completed on the house. Our old tile roof has been removed and we now have a beautiful new corrugated steel roof. What a huge difference it has made to the house, although the next job will be to clean up the garden after all the work.

We have had some work done on the ceilings inside with one old skylight being filled in and the other skylight being changed to a sky window. We have also sheeted the exposed brick walls and today the work is being sanded down. My husband just showed me how much dust is on my tiles and I really want to cry. This is the last of the big work to be done in the house, so a little more patience and lots of cleaning this afternoon and it will all be done.

Finally, I forgot to show the gift I sent to Wendy Jo for the Friends Through Thread friendship exchange. I made Wendy a matress pincushion with a long ribbon for attaching a pair of scissors.

Design: Carré Fleuri (freebie)
Designer: Anne Les Petites Croix
Fabric: 32ct Belfast Linen - white
Thread: DMC
Finish: Mattress pincushion