Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saying Farewell to 2009 - looking forward to a positive 2010 - Stitching

5 pm on New Year's Eve here in Pakenham - and it's hot.... so hot that all the Christmas Chocolate had to be eaten because it was in danger of melting away! Before I start the evening's festivities with some rather fine Australian White Wine (and thereby minimising the chance that I'll mutalise the english language by attempting to type while slightly tipsy) I thought I'd take the time to look at my stitching accomplishments this year....after all - this blog was set up as a stitchers journal - just over 12 months ago.....(golly, the longest time I've ever kept a diary going!)

We will start by looking at my 2009 Stitching Goals

  • One Christmas Ornament a month - (I think I completed ONE - but I did manage to sew a few patchwork Apron ornaments for the Bushfire Ornament challenge - so that lets me out on a technicality)
  • Start - Arabian nights Quilt - Not even started - still in the dreaming/planning stage
  • Finish - Papillon 2008 SAL - COMPLETED
  • Start - Christmas Quilt - sigh......I'm too scared to cut into the fabric by myself - I might have to plan a stitchy day and find somebody to hold my hand before I play snip-snip!
  • Finish - English floral Alphabet - I don't think I picked it up - I did start in 2005!
  • Finish - Loni's Square - For this I hang my head in shame - many excuses for not picking this one up and charting the balance of the square to send to my partner in crime in the UK so that it can be finished and sent back to Loni in the USA!! My fault entirely and I will do my best to get this one out of the house pronto!!!
  • Finish - blackwork sampler - would you believe that I'm frantically trying to finish this one today? I've come to the realisation that it is likely to be my first finish for 2010!
  • Finish - 'The Garden' - still on the WIP list
  • Aussie/Kiwi Patriotic Exchange - COMPLETED
  • Bushfire Quilt Square - COMPLETED
  • UFO into WIP - Janlynn's - Cats, Cats, Cats (with colour changes) - still a UFO I'm afraid - not high on the list of priorities
  • Ian's 50th Birthday Panel COMPLETED
  • Finish - Mirabilia's Mermaid Queen - COMPLETED
All in all - there were 49 finishes (more - if I count 34 doorstops rather than 1 x group of doorstops) - A lot of small finishes and going by past lists, pretty much standard amount of finishes....

Now to look forward to 2010

My WIP :

  1. Blackwork Sampler - source: Unknown book from 1998 : 40ct denim linen
  2. China Doll - source: Jill Oxton magazine - issue 52 : 16ct white aida
  3. Cats, Cats, Cats. - source: Janlynn : 14ct white aida - Can I turn this from UFO to WIP this year? It involves frogging the existing border (out by 1 row anyway) from blue and replacing it with green to suit my furnishings. Have to drag it out and fall in love with it again.
  4. Loni's Square - as above - 2009 list : very fine linen - my own design
  5. Poppy Field - source: JCS mag Aug 2008 - 25ct evenweave - lovely to stitch on
  6. Country House - Ginger & Spice chart : 16ct white aida - monochrome design
  7. Bluebird Sampler - Bent Creek : 28ct tan evenweave - this design to be followed with the brown/blackbird samplers to make the set
  8. TOL Sampler : My design - released on a messageboard as a mystery sampler in 2007! Since I designed the thing - dont you think I should at least finish it???? Not much left to stitch.
  9. The Garden - source : TIAG - found the chart for 50c in a thrift shop. Have started stitching it on mustard yellow evenweave - probably 32 count
  10. Teddybear - source: Work colleague gave me this kit on aida to stitch on her behalf. She has since retired and I see her every 6 months or so. I really should make an effort to finish the stitching on this (ugly, ugly stitch - not pleasant fabric or floss!)
  11. Inspiration - source : Rosewood Manor chart. I have made a good start on this, and I think I need a bit more inspiration myself to continue on 28ct pewter evenweave
  12. English Floral Alphabet - source: UK Cross Stitcher magazine series in 1995. I've put all the motifs together and started stitching this in 2005. I am now up to 'J' I want to finish this so that I can start another banner sampler...
  13. Iris Blackwork - source : UK cross stitch magazine 1998 ish... All I have to do to complete this, is the couching with gold japan thread - once again - I find myself needing somebody to sit with me and hold my hand - how stupid is this???

Kitted and not started:
  1. Teacup Stack - Candamar Designs - I fell in lust with this design and with great effort, obtained the kit. I'm ready to go, but lack the oomph to put the needle to the fabric. I might, after all this time change the fabric and floss from the kit before I start.
  2. Quilt - Christmas Truffles - I am such a baby because I don't want to cut into the fabric to start this patchwork masterpiece in case I make a bad cut. I might have to bite the bullet and join a saturday morning stitching bee so that I can have moral support to do so.
Are you happy to sit along with me in 2010 and cheer me on my stitching journey?
I thank you all for your support this year - reading comments and getting to recognise other stitchers from all over the world has really been a buzz.

Raise your glasses and give a cheer
Let us farewell this past year
Pop the corks and give a toast
of 2010 we'll make the most!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Tablcloth square for 2008 - finished!!!

Ok...we were supposed to be at a BBQ on Boxing Day at 5pm.

I was NOT MOVING from my stitching chair until this was finished. A day late - but it was finished during the Christmas break in 2009 (not in Jan 2010 or later)
I do like the shading effect on the baubles - a little bit PIA while stitching, but worth the effort visually

Looking at it now, I'm thinking that there was another adult at the Christmas Table (will check with MIL) and I'll need to add her name. I'll probably move 'Marian' up above Jan and add the extra visitor at the Table where Marian is.

I'm starting the square to represent 2009 a lot earlier - anybody know of a simple chart to show 'The poor little matchgirl' that will fit inside 80x80 grid ????

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Seasons Greetings - M.A.S.T. & WIP roundup - Blogiversary

Seasons Greetings to all my friends and blogging buddies - I trust that Santa has left you sufficient stitching stash and you are just itching to get started on some new and exciting projects for 2010.
I thought I'd end this year by showing just a few of my current WIP's - which might get me motivated to continue and finish them early in the new year so I can move onto my project of Stitching Snowmen in 2010!
Starting with my Christmas it didn't get finished before the 25th, but as it is only me that worries about such things....In the big scheme of things, is not a real worry. I've had another couple of hours stitching, since t his photo was taken, and I should be able to post the completed square today or tomorrow.
You remember th e poppies??? This is as far as I got this year, and it is a lot of confetti stitching for the background, but I really love the fabric - 25count something. I am still happy with changing the colours

My china doll was the last new start this year, found in the Jill Oxton Mag 52 - a Christmas gift from a workmate - stitched on 16ct white aida - all that is left is the umbrella and her face. This has been stitched using only black for the outline, a mid brown for her hands and chin. I picked out two new DMC varigateds - a dark blue for the sash and the umbrella inside and the orange/red varigated for the silk pattern on the kimono. I'm really pleased with the way the colours worked on this so far.

Another part project on aida was this blackwork house - I believe the chart to be Ginger & Spice Town & Country House - I picked a dark olive green for this house, the shading is achieved by a combination of double strand cross - half cross and single strand cross and half cross stitches.
Also in this picture is a small sampler that is stitched on a deep denim blue linen with ecru and gold thread - I don't know the name of the chart, or where it came from - I'm sorry for the purists out there, but this is taken from an old photocopy from an old m agazine - and there is absolutely no details or even designer name on the chart. From memory, I received this chart in a bundle of stash given to me by my Mum some years ago after she found the bundle in a garage sale.

Lastly, in today's offering of WIP's (if I dig too deep into the basket i'll find more - like the 2007 TOL sampler and Rosewood Manor's Inspirations!!!) is Bent Creek's bluebird sampler - I think it's the bluebird sampler, the chart was buried further down than the stitching. I'd almost forgotten this one, and I'm sure I was only stitching it a few weeks ago!

M.A.S.T. roundup -
This was the end result of my sad little group - I never got around to setting the tree candles alight - will save them for next year. I don't think I'll be morbid enough to keep half a santa, or a headless penguin - I'm certain that I'll find replacements throughout the year. Please join me next year for another round of M.A.S.T.

I never noticed, but the 24th December was my first Blogiversary !!!!!!
I'm going to hunt around for giveaway prizes to celebrate.
My blog was started to essentially document all my stitching - along the way, I've discovered a wealth of crafty people out there, that reading blogs is a fun way to become inspired to try new things, increased my freebie stash, laughed and cried with new friends.
I hope that in the new year, when life has settled down a bit, that I'll be able to join in a few exchanges with my new blogging friends.

Once again - Seasons Greetings and have a Happy & Safe New Year!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

M.A.S.T. - Day 6

Morning all.
My group is dwindling. Please forgive my obsession - I will post some stitching before Christmas - the tablecloth is halfway done...only 3 days to go!
I don't hold out much hope for Frosty - he seems near the end

Wonky Santa no longer stands HEAD and shoulders over everybody
The startled nutcracker still looks startled.
The penguin is standing firm - is just a belly now

Sunday, December 20, 2009

M.A.S.T. - day 5 (and a word of warning!)


Word of warning.....some of those glossy candles are actually PLASTIC coated !!!! I'm so lucky that the smoke detectors did not go off while burnine the two on either edge.... The wick was crackling when I lit it, and I wasn't quite certain, so I brought them both to my kitchen bench, where there was nothing around them overhanging in any direction - no walls or christmas trees etc....

The Santa Bear on the left burnt quite ferociously and was giving off toxic fumes - he ended up with 3 internal wicks and the outside edge all aflame at once...i've got little bits of soot floating around the kitchen now. The santa with the sack and toys around him burnt simarlarly, but had only one internal wick.
Wonky Santa is burning slowly and with dignity.......The penguin is gracious in his meltdown. Frosty has gone head and shoulders, down to his elbows. He may only last one more burn.

Tomorrow the startled looking nutcracker!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

M.A.S.T. - day 4

I think I am enjoying this a tad too much! After nearly 2 hours burn last night, one santa is just a puddle of wax in an ash-tray - Vintage Santa lost his head completely - and I can't find his wick to re-light him. Wonky Santa still stands tall, but is looking decidedly worried. Penguin, although headless is still maintaining his shape. Frosty's hat could not save him after all, and I think he now has a decided look of surprise after his brains flowed out of his ear!!!!

I'm surprised they've lasted this long - we've not had the usual run of heat this week, so that could be a contributing factor.

I promise to post more stitchy posts at sometime during this weekend!!! promise!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

M.A.S.T. - Day 3

Morning all......daylight lets me bring you today's grouping. After a further hour of burning last night, it appears that wonky santa, pearly penguin & Frosty are settling in for a longtime burning - mid-sized santa on the left joined in last night, but didn't melt so much.
Tonight I will add either Teddy Santa, surprised nutcracker or the other santa at the back to the hour-long burn..... I like the trees, they will be the last to burn...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

M.A.S.T. - Day 2 - and --- T.U.S.A.L. is the result after another hour's burn last night ... you can see that the medium santa has melted away, leaving only his belly and broom.....
The penguin is still merely headless, wonky santa at the back appears to be crying wax.... Is the hat on large Frosty's head truly magical??? It seems to have protected him well - so far!!!
Tonight the little santa at the front joins in the celebrations......MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Also - here is my December TUSAL -
the only apparrent addition is the itty bit of green at the top - part of this year's christmas tablecloth stitching - Thank you to YoYo for organising it - I've enjoyed it immensely and will continue to place my orts in my container - it's amazing how much they add up!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

M.A.S.T. - Day 1

The first flame - 4 candles lit last night - and left to burn for an hour. (It's not safe to have all the candles burning at once!!)

After an hour - here is the group result....the large and mid size snowman have just lost their hats, the penguin is a tad headless, but the little snowman had completly melted away....

I very nearly feel remorse.

Tonight I will light the large and mid snowman again, and possibly the wonky Santa

more photos tomorrow.....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Today is Flame day for poor old Frosty!!!
Tonight at 7pm, I will apply a match to the wick and let one, if not all, burn for at least an hour.
Photos tomorrow!
Anybody care to join me?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Aweekend finish for Christmas - teenager's tote

I've just made a tote tonight - have to wait until morning to post a photo for you all - I ended up lining it and adding a pocket - I used these two blogs - combining the information and photos for my first tote - it is a gift for my neice for Christmas - and as we are to see them for lunch on Sunday - had to have it finished tonight - I started it about 2 1/2 hours ago...not bad effort on my part! Photo in the morning! - but I had to post now before I lost the tutorials

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Christmas Tablecloth - and the story behind each square

This is my Christmas Heirloom Tablecloth. It is a large piece of Charles Craft Aida that I won on ebay in 2004 and arrived in the mail about Dec 30. I still can't believe I won this large a piece for $15 (aust) including postage - bargain!!!

I choose a square to stitch by placing the cloth on the ground and tossing a coin or token - whichever square it lands on is the one for that year. the main squares in the middle will now be reserved for milestone years...

The first square - 2004 - well the week before this fabric arrived, had been the first Christmas Day that I had hosted my parents and the In-laws at my house. To symbolise the circle of family, I felt the wreath was the perfect choice. All that were at the Christmas table that year are present on the square. My hubby and boys in the centre and the immediate family encircling us.

The next year - 2005 - we celebrated Christmas Day at the BIL's - in Ocean Grove. Harry had drawn a lighthouse for a charity square earlier in the year, and I chose the same design to symbolise the beach (although Ocean Grove does not have a lighthouse....) and once again, stitched the names of the family members around the table.

The next year - 2006 - Was the first year in our very own house. Our new home had a green roof and cram brick walls. A very generous stitcher in the USA helped me find a chart of a Gingerbread House, and I adjusted the charted colours accordingly. As it turned out, that Christmas Day was one of the coldest on record, with near to snow temperatures on nearby hills.... so the snow on the ground in the chart fitted right in.

The next year - 2007 - well I made myself unpopular with the In-laws that year, because I had a gut feeling that being on the road on Christmas Day in the evening - driving to Ocean Grove - would be very, very bad. So I dug in my heels and refused to travel that far on that day. We celebrated at lunchtime instead, at the closer MiL's in Mordialloc and then in Ocean Grove a few days later during the day. - This is why the three kings are spaced the way they are. I charted this from a scrapbooking stamp I saw.
The star they are following represents my Mum, who I lost that year.

Last year - 2008 - I'm frantically stitching that now - I have plenty of time....18 days or stitch 3 Christmas baubles...
It's only going on my Christmas table - and it's only my own deadline - I'm the only one that considers it important to have finished in time.

I have plenty of spaces to fill and I hope that in time, the wife of at least one of my sons (and they both better marry somebody who is craft minded !!!) will help me stitch this and cherish it for years to come. I'm hoping that the small rectangular sections between the squares will be used to record marriages, births & deaths over the years to come.

I hope you enjoyed the journey across my tablecloth. Do you have anything similar?
What are your Christmas Stitching Traditions?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Doorstops a-plenty!

One bag of sand = 13 doorstops! Just as well that the next door neighbour has offered me the use of the excess sand in his trailer!!! I've still another 2 dozen to fill!!!! Feeling rather pleased with myself - these look so much better than expected. (the picture is dark - despite it being 7am - bit overcast today!)

You can get the pattern here - Vicki, one of the Gumtree designers shared it with us - it is so easy to sew up!!!!

I suppose you are now waiting to see my Christmas Tablecloth?? Tomorrow - I promise!.

Monday, December 7, 2009

M.A.S.T. - Do you want to join with me?

This is a silly custom that was started in 2006 on an online stitching group I belong to. One of the members that year showed a series of photos dedicated to burning a snowman candle. Of course there was amusing commentary to go with it which meant that yours truly had to join in.
Do you know how difficult it is to find a snowman candle in Australia - even at Christmas???
I did manage to find one, as did several others on the message board and the following year we were able to join in and start M.A.S.T. - MELT A SNOWMAN TODAY.
Find a Snowman (or SANTA if you can't find a Snowman - he's an acceptable substitute) and apply a match to the wick on the 15th December - it is your choice whether to draw out the agony and extinguish the flame in an hour (as I do), or to let him burn until just a puddle of slush....
Snowmen melt differently - some hollow out, some pour wax all over the outside, some burn evenly and gracefully, others don't burn much past their hat!

As you can see by my photo - Not only do I have snowmen and santas - I have a couple of trees as well. My family and girlfriend have joined in this sillyness and most of these have been sourced from thrift shops - which explains their pre-loved lopsided appearance.

Do you have a Christmas candle? Would you like to join me and my online friends on the 15th December to slowly melt one (or more) candles? I'll be lighting mine for an hour from 7.30pm.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas !!!!

Ornament tree 2009

A week later than usual, but my ornament tree is up - I realised as I was placing the ornaments, that there wasn't any stitched this year... I have less than 3 weeks to rectify that problem.
This is not the big family tree - oh no.... - I'm not allowed to put hand made ornaments on that tree - Harry's rules. I still like my first flat-fold, the PS santa at the front corner.

The M.A.S.T. table is behind the tree...... curious ????
I'll tell you all about M.A.S.T. tomorrow....might even be organised to show you the tablecloth as well!!! - until then .... please enjoy my tree!

Friday, December 4, 2009

M.A.S.T. - What is it and what does it mean to Christmas??

Goodness - it's been a fortnight since I posted here - I didn't think it had been that long.

My - My - how did it end up being December already???? So much to do/stitch - so little time! As it is time that I get ready for work right now...I'll leave this post short, but promise to post over the weekend - with photos... about:

  1. M.A.S.T - yes - the letters DO stand for something - (hint: the 'S' - stands for SNOWMAN)
  2. My Christmas Heirloom Tablecloth - I've not posted pics this year, so will show off the previous squares stitched.
  3. My first blogaversary is coming up - I may have enough goodies set aside for a competition
  4. WIP's - yes...plural
  5. Next year's stitching goals

Please stay tuned.....