Thursday, 19 October 2017

Dark October TUSAL


It's TUSAL time, the Totally Useless SAL where we all show our ORTS and link-up on Daffycat's blog.

Here is my ORTs jar with my current project:

This is Dracula from Dam Good Crafts, stitched on an awesome piece of 32 count Amortentia by Chromatic Alchemy

I've completed my four days on that one (didn't get much done on days 2 and 3 because of work) and tomorrow I start one I am really excited about!  I deliberately saved this one for a four day stretch over the weekend and two non-working days so I can maximise the time spent on her.

This is Nora Corbett's Raven from the Bewitching Pixie series, to be stitched on a piece of 32 count Nebula Belfast from Crafty Kitten.

I've continued with the carpet square from Just Nan's Haunted Autumn Mouse in a House as my 30-a-day project:

Day 19

Finally, it's time to sign up for the Spookiest Hop on the Block - the Trick or Treat Hallowe'en Blog Hop.  All you have to do is leave a comment or send me an email.  I will send you a letter of the alphabet which you show on your blog on 31st October along with some spooky stitching.  We all hop around collecting the letters which will spell out a spooky phrase.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness October Link-Up Post

2017 GG

Welcome to the October link-up for Gifted Gorgeousness. The linky will stay open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to link up and join in.

Dark October has really seen the gifted gorgeous projects come out into the dark!

Haunted Autumn Mouse in a House by Just Nan was a Birthday gift this year:

Smiling Jack-O-Lanterns by JBW was a gift from Julie:

stitched on 32 count Platinum Belfast (also a gift)

Then I started and finished Cast Your Spell by Stacy Nash which was a gift from Heather:

stitched over 1 on 32 count Platinum Belfast

I changed the colours on this one, partially because I misread the chart and assumed 310 would be a black solid symbol and not a white triangle.  I also changed the border to satin stitch because it's so much quicker over 1 than tiny xxxx.  I also changed the orangebrown to a reddish brown.  I like it, I think it looks darker and more spooky.  Not sure how I will finish-finish but it will probably be scrapbooked.  It would make a nice notebook cover.

As I finished this early in the afternoon I made an early start on the next project - Dracula by Dam Good Crafts (no longer available):

stitched on 32 count Amortentia by Chromatic Alchemy

That gorgeous fabric was a gift from Tiffany, it is darker in real life and will look amazing with the black stitching.  I stitched this while watching The Wall this afternoon.  I've got four days of stitching still to come on this one, which is good as it is part of my 17 in '17.

Prior to October I stitched on Dragon of the Winter Moon by Dragon Dreams which was a gift from Riona:

Memories by Just Nan was a gift from Vickie:

I've also made lots of progress on 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott which was a gift from my MIL:

So now I hand over to you. This is where you link up your post for this month. Please use your name or your blog name in the field and NOT the words "October Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month. And link to the actual post, not just your blog. It is easier if you copy and paste the link, rather than typing freehand.


Finally, it's time to sign up for the Spookiest Hop on the Block - the Trick or Treat Hallowe'en Blog Hop.  All you have to do is leave a comment or send me an email.  I will send you a letter of the alphabet which you show on your blog on 31st October along with some spooky stitching.  We all hop around collecting the letters which will spell out a spooky word or phrase (depending on how many people sign up).

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Dark October Update

As you know I've chosen a number of spooky projects to stitch for Dark October this month.  I started with the People's Choice of Just Nan's Haunted Autumn Mouse in a House and posted about it here.

I have continued to stitch 30-a-day on the carpet for the house and here's where we are today:

By the time I started Mouse House, Jardin Prive's Happy Hallowe'en Night had actually overtaken it in votes so that was an obvious second start.  I set a goal of completing the three pumpkins and stitched for three days to achieve that goal:

stitched on 32 count Cognac linen

The whole piece:

After 3 days on that one, I moved on to JBW's Smiling Jack-O-Lanterns.  I stitched all the border while watching Total Recall on Sunday afternoon:

stitched on 32count Platinum linen

There's not much to do on that one; lots of flowers in the border, her hair, the words around the inside of the border and a few finishing touches and it will be done.

The next project up has only had one day so far.  This is Cast Your Spell by Stacy Nash.  I have a question, there are only three colours.  A dull brown, an orange brown and black.  Looking at this portion of the chart, which colour would you stitch the border in?

Black?  The symbol for black is always the darkest symbol, right?  No, the symbol for black on this chart is the white triangle.

Never mind, my border is black.

stitched over 1 on 32 count Platinum linen

I am stitching the border in satin stitch rather than cross stitch because I like a zigzag satin stitch.  I also substituted the orange-brown for a more red-brown.  I will probably do the vase in 3799 to contrast with the black border.  Three more days might see me knock out a finish on this.  Especially as we have the weekend coming up and no work shifts.

Finally, it's time to sign up for the Spookiest Hop on the Block - the Trick or Treat Hallowe'en Blog Hop.  All you have to do is leave a comment or send me an email.  I will send you a letter of the alphabet which you show on your blog on 31st October along with some spooky stitching.  We all hop around collecting the letters which will spell out a spooky word or phrase (depending on how many people sign up).

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Zodiac SAL - Libra

Welcome to the first post of the new Zodiac SAL.  I will be posting on the first Saturday of each month with information about that month's sign and a linky for anyone who wants to join in.  The linky will stay open until the end of the month.

We start our SAL with the sign of Libra, the Scales.  Librans are born between 23rd September and 22nd October.  It is an Air sign ruled by the planet Venus.

"Libra was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL Zibanu (the "scales" or "balance"), or alternatively as the Claws of the Scorpion. 
The scales were held sacred to the sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice.  It was also seen as the Scorpion's Claws in ancient Greece.
Since these times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility. 
In Arabic zubānā means "scorpion's claws", and likely similarly in other Semitic languages: this resemblance of words may be why the Scorpion's claws became the Scales.
It has also been suggested that the scales are an allusion to the fact that when the sun entered this part of the ecliptic at the autumnal equinox, the days and nights are equal."
Source: Wikipedia - Libra (constellation)

Libra People: What They’re Like

Peace, love, and harmony is the Libra M.O. You’ll instantly be swept away by Libra’s charm and pleasant demeanor, enchanged by their wide array of conversation topics. 
Libra people are the perfect partners for a social justice project, interior design masterpiece, or even just a peaceful day picnicking in the park and strolling around the town. Set these social butterflies free at a networking event and they’ll own the room. 
Some Libras can be reserved and formal at first. But once you get them talking, a five minute conversation can morph into a three-hour philosophical discourse! 
Because Libra seeks compromise, this sign dislikes conflict and anything that feels “unfair.” In fact, if you meet an angry Libra, chances are this sign is riled up about an ongoing injustice. Their system simply can’t tolerate it! 
Many Libras are natural diplomats who will do everything to negotiate between warring parties that just can’t get along. They can accurately see both sides to a situation, and often resolve disputes in an equitable way for all involved. 
However, there is a population of Libras whose Venusian appetites rule them, eclipsing their sign’s sensibility and driving them to pursue material indulgence at any cost. These Librans use their natural charms and good looks to manipulate others into taking care of them or doing their bidding. As the sign of the Judge, some Libras can even tip the scales into dictatorial behavior and power trips (Libras Simon Cowell, Margaret Thatcher and Vladimir Putin are examples of Libras with a “my way or the highway” attitude). 
When it comes to their own decision-making, they have an even harder time and will vacillate between “Should I?” or “Shouldn’t I?” You can find Libra people taking in culture at a gallery opening, indulging in a sweet treat or gourmet health food, or shopping for a couture or hand-crafted piece to add to their impressive wardrobes.
Source: Astrostyle - Libra

Famous Libra People & Celebrities:

Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bruno Mars, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Simon Cowell, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Zac Efron, John Lennon, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mahatma Gandhi, Vladimir Putin, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Shel Silverstein, T.S. Eliot, ee cummings, Oscar Wilde, Donna Karan, Sergio Rossi, Ralph Lauren.

For the stitching part of the SAL I have chosen a series of designs from the Donna Kooler book 365 Tiny Cross Stitch Designs.  I am stitching them all on one piece of 32 count Millenium Blue linen.  Here is Libra:

These are nice quick stitches, this one took just over a day to stitch up.  I used two strands of black for the filigree as I wasn't sure one strand would show up on the blue fabric.

I will also be stitching three of Satsuma Street's larger Zodiac series.  Starting with Virgo (for me).  I'm stitching these on 28 count black and I debated back and forth whether to stitch over one or over two.  In the end I went for over two:

The colours are much more vibrant in real life.  I have converted her hair to dark brown to resemble me more.  I don't have blue skin though, only when it is really cold!

There are several people who said they wouldn't be able to take part as they don't have a zodiac design to stitch.  But that's OK, you can always use your trusty shoehorn and think outside the box.

How about this for Air:

Emily Peacock

Or this one for Scales:

Chinese Dragon by Serendipity Designs
Yes, all those scales are backstitched in gold metallic thread.

Or maybe you stitched something for the Libran in your life:

Happy Birthday, Grandad

This is the place for you to link up if you want to join in, please link to the actual blog post, not your blog homepage and include your name so we can see who has joined in.


Finally, I will round off with the latest Satsuma Street design, released just yesterday in time for this post!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Haunted Autumn Mousie in a Housie

Thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post and voted for which project I should start first.  Just Nan's Haunted Autumn Mouse in a House took an early lead so that was the project I started on the 1st October and stitched for the first four days.  One of those days was a full work day so I only got 30 minutes stitching in but I am still pleased with my progress.

We have an entire mouse:

stitched on 32 count cognac linen

All of the base and the outside border of the carpet square:

stitched on 32 count Antique Ivory linen

Close-up of tiny mouse:

The border of one wall:

I have decided that this will be my 30-a-day project for the month.  I have stitched 4 times 30 stitches on the carpet square and will continue with that for the rest of the month.  I am not using the recommended fabrics because I'm stitching from stash and these are just as good!

While Autumn House took an early lead it was overtaken later on by Jardin Prive's Happy Hallowe'en Night, so that is what I will start tomorrow morning for days 5 - 8.

Finally, it's time to sign up for the Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop.  All you have to do is leave a comment or send me an email.  I will send you a letter of the alphabet which you show on your blog on 31st October along with some spooky stitching.  We all hop around collecting the letters which will spell out a spooky word or phrase (depending on how many people sign up).  At the moment we have enough for "Boo"!! 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Summing up the Birthday Pie

It's the end of September and my thoughts are turning away from my Birthday and towards Dark October culminating in the Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop.  My annual spookfest around my friends' blogs to collect not candy but letters which will spell out a mystery phrase and win you a prize!

Here is a link to last year's Hallowe'en Hop so you can see how it all works:

If you'd like to be a picture poster please leave a comment or send me an email and I'll add you to the list.  We have a great group last year and a nice long phrase!

You've seen most of this month's stitching already but not my Just Nan band sampler Memories since the GG post on the 15th:

I finished the purple swags and went on to stitch the turquoise band:

There are extra bits to fill in, some satin stitch and some beads.

I did another letter on the Enchanted Alphabet Spooky Conversion:

I must confess to cheating.  I stitched O last month so it was P this month.  But because I am not stitching the flouncy girl in the middle I have to move P, Q and R to the right.  You can see the bottom of Q at the top, and that is R underneath with P charted at the bottom.  I have no idea why Marilyn charted the letters like that but rather than count all the way to P and risk getting it wrong I decided to stitch R as a P this month, stitch Q next month and then stitch P and finish R the following month.  Make sense?

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily Murano by Crafty Kitten

I've also kept up with the Ten-a-Day project which is another Just Nan Summer in the Square.  I am up to Day 92 so this is 920 stitches:

I have been stitching the dark green border since Day 49, the 18th of August and have so nearly finished it!

So what else did I work on in September?  Here's some pie:

It's also time to tally up the spending for the month:

X-Stitch mag £6.00
Crafty Kitten fabric £13.00
JCS Hallowe'en issue £8.50
Waterlilies £5.25
JN Autumn Mouse £21.00
Kreinik £2.99
Satsuma St £4.18
Total £60.92

That looks like a lot, thankfully nearly all of it was Birthday money.

Finally, it's time to decide what to stitch for Dark October.  I have so many choices!

JBW Sweet Nothings and Shepherd's Bush Spooky Night
(gifts from blogging friends)

Nora Corbett's Raven on Crafty Kitten Nebula
(gift from a blogging friend)

Jardin Prive Happy Hallowe'en Night
(potential part work for the blog next year)

Stacy Nash Cast Your Spells
(gift from a blogging friend)

Just Nan's Autumn Mouse in a House
(Birthday present)

and the Dracula book cover

You have until tomorrow morning to decide what I should stitch first!

Friday, 29 September 2017

September Small SAL

Stitching Lotus Ornament SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Stitching Lotus

This year I will be showing my Hallowe'en and Christmas SAL partworks and any other Smalls I may stitch.

Regular followers will know that I completed the design I have been stitching all year for the Hallowe'en SAL and here it is framed:

Hallowe'en Happiness by Sandra Cozzolino for Imaginating

I stitched another block on 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott:

I completed another Just Nan small for the 30-a-day challenge:

Lacy Diamond

And have finished the cross stitching for another, Holly Knot.  Just some beads to add and then the finishing:

The fabric is lavender not grey.

I completed a small design for the new Zodiac SAL but I won't be showing that until the first Zodiac Club post on Saturday 7th October.  Instead I will show you my progress on the second Zodiac themed project I have:

stitched on 28 count black evenweave

This is Virgo by Satsuma Street.  I am starting with Virgo because (a) it's my star sign and (b) she hasn't released Libra next!   The plan is to stitch Virgo (me), Libra (Hubby and the Large Boy) and Aquarius (the Small Boy) over the course of the year.  After that I will probably go for Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus and Leo (Mum, MIL, my brother, my sister) and then the rest of them.

Her skin is pale blue, not white and she will have hair!  I'm converting it to dark brown instead of blonde.  I'm going to stitch on her for one more day and then start on the Hallowe'en excitement!

Finally, if you're wondering what the Zodiac Club is, it's the replacement for The Alphabet Club.  You can choose a design like I have with small versions of each sign, or a larger design with all the signs or just the individual signs for you and your family.  But here's the really good part - you don't even need to stitch a Zodiac design to join in.

I'll be starting with Libra for my first post; Libra is an Air sign represented by the Scales.  So you could share something related to Air, or balance, justice, weight, anything that says "scales" to you.  You could even shoe-horn a mermaid or fish in there!  You can look up the birthstone or flower for Libra and show that.  You can show a current piece, a WIP or an older finish.  If you have a Libran in your family you could show something that relates to them.

I'll be posting the first Linky on Saturday 7th October, which serendipitously is my Grandad's Birthday!  The first in a long line of Librans in my family.  Please join in, it's always more fun stitching with friends!  You don't have to post on the 7th, but that is where you'll find the Linky for the whole month.