Wednesday, 8 June 2016

1st June - 7th June 2016

Hi Blogger Friends,

As I stated in my previous post I have decided to go back to weekly posting for the time being mainly because doing a monthly post takes up a lot of time in one go.

So this is what I have been up to over the last week


On the 1st I started working on my final pin cushion in the series June designed by Sheena Rogers for Cross Stitch Collection magazine. I worked on it for just over 5  hrs over 5 days in the week and below is where I got to come the 7th

I also started work on my Whine and Wip project, which is the Stitch Maynia (Facebook Group) monthly SAL. Below is my starting point and  where I got to after 3.5 hrs stitching (I am doing 30 minutes a day for this SAL)

I also made a start on the Summer Sampler by Janlynn. Below is what the overall design looks like and where I got to after 3.5 hrs. This project like the Spring Sampler I will do 46 hrs of stitching over the three months of Summer 1st June - 31st August, which equates to 30 minutes a day.

I am a little unhappy with this kit in that the fabric supplied does not have much of a border around the design area just under 2 inches. I may have to hem some fabric to the four sides for framing. I do believe sufficient fabric should be supplied, kits are not that cheap and yet they seem to be cutting corners on this one which is a shame as it is a lovely design. Also I do not want to swap the fabric out as I have used the kit fabric for the Spring design and want all four to be consistent.

I also spent a couple of days working on the Three Things Sampler by Bothy Threads - a kit I purchased from Polstitches so that I could choose which fabric I wanted to use and the design is originally by Moira Blackburn (who I believe has now retired).
This is where I started from this week and below is where I got to after three days
I did finish the green bit that is out of shot and I am pleased with my progress with this.

I made a start on my Prairie Schooler Alphabet Letter F, I have spent 2 hours over 2 days so far on it and here is where I got to.
I will give this more time once I have completed June Pin Cushion and as always am aiming to have it completed by the end of the month.
Finally stitching wise as mentioned last week I made a start on Enchanted Aurora by Joan Elliott, this is going to be my focus project until September and with a bit of luck I may get her completed.
I like to start off organised. And this is where I got to after 4 evenings which represents just under 8 hrs stitching.
I am really pleased with the progress I am making and love the colours in this design.

Reading wise I have been listening to the 4th book in the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood  - Death at Victoria Dock. As I have said before they are an enjoyable quick listen. I have also been listening to a YA book the first in the Raven Cycle - The Raven Boys and so far I am enjoying this too. Actual reading wise I have continued my reading of Jane Eyre I only read about 20-25 pages in a sitting and not every day so I may not complete it in June but will continue with it until it is finished. I had forgotten what an easy and enjoyable read it is. I have also started on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, plus listening to the audio at the same time. I have just started a book called Eden Gardens by Louise Brown  set in India, starting in 1934. I am only a few pages in so cannot yet say if it is good or not but what I have read so far I have liked and I am also reading The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie. This is a joy it is so like the TV adaptations probably closer to the Joan Hickson Marple than the Geraldine McEwan one but its a good read and quite short the whole book is only 160 pages I have the facsimile edition and below is a rather hideous photo of me in bed getting ready to read. The glasses are not my actual prescription glasses just a pair of 2.5 readers which I normally use for needlework but are great at bedtime giving me that little bit of extra magnification for tired eyes.
I love the cover :-) And in regards to book buying I only purchased one book this week and this one was a case of loving the cover and not really knowing what the book is about, although in my defence I have read books by this author before and enjoyed them
Finally for this weeks posting we went to Cardiff on the evening of the 3rd June to view my sons exhibit of his first year art work for his Degree in Fine Arts. Below is a proud Mum photo with my son
He had four pieces displayed and we are standing in front of two of them. He definitely has a style of his own and I can see progression from what he was doing on his previous course and of course I love his use of colour. On Tuesday, 7th June he had his review and is currently on for a 2:1 if he continues through the next two years at the same level. To say we are immensely proud of him would be an understatement. To have spent all your education in the special needs schooling and have no formal qualifications plus his disability (Aspergers' Syndrome) he has done so remarkably well.

So that's it for this weeks post. I think doing them weekly is a lot less stressful so will continue with this for the time being, and I think I have had a fairly productive week.

Bye for now
take care

Lisa x

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

May 2016 Update and Plans for June

Hi Blogger Friends,

This post will contain what I did in May - stitching and reading wise and my plans for both in June.

Well the best laid plans of mice and men as they say. I mentioned in my last post both that I had been unwell in April and that I intended to take part in Stitch Maynia an event organised by the Facebook group of the same name where you start 15 new projects the first 15 days of May and I posted photos of all the projects I hoped to start.

Lets just say that getting over being unwell took longer than I anticipated and my Stitchy Bug up and left me. So for Stitch Maynia I managed days 1 and 2 before bailing out and not doing much stitching at all.

Below are the two projects I did work on
These are Turkish Angora by DMC designed by Jayne Netley Mayhew ( I did the Snowshoe from this series last year) and Home of  a Needlworker Too by Little House Needleworks and I have changed my house from Blue to Pink using DMC thread. That was my participation in Stitch Maynia I am pleased with what I did considering my enthusiasm wasn't there.

I also finished off the Wales Santa by Mill Hill which I had been working on in April, I do still need to finally finish it off but all stitching and beading is done. I intend to get the Ireland and Scotland Santas to go with this one.
Other finishes for May were my Letter E of the Prairie Schooler Alphabet
This one took me 20 hrs over 10 days

May Pin Cushion - the 11th in the series by Sheena Rogers for Cross Stitch Collection Magazine
This one took 14hrs and 20 minutes over 10 days plus an hour to make up.

May 31st saw the end of Spring in terms of my stitching on the Janlynn Spring Sampler and this is what 46 hrs of stitching looks like

Other than this I worked on two other projects. I did a little on Lady of Shalott and this is where I am  now
This is progress after 7 days of stitching in total since starting the project and represents just under 25 hrs stitching.

And what would a  month be if I did not start something new and as my stitchy bug was not really present I wanted something small that I could pick up and put down so I started Sheena Rogers Art Deco Daydream mini cushion, which had been one of my Stitch Maynia choices although I did not start it for Maynia
This is where I got to I only worked on it for a couple of evenings, but it is a good project for when you want to do a bit but not much.

Finally in May I was contacted by Riolis the Russian Cross Stitch company about trying a couple of their small kits and letting them know what I thought of them.

I received two kits
These kits are small under 4 x 4 inches total design area and use Safil thread on Aida fabric. Safil is a single strand thread made from Wool and Acrylic, I had not used it before but I do have a larger Riolis kit ( see below ) which uses it so it was a great opportunity to try it before embarking on a larger project
So how did I get on, both projects took me only a couple of hours to stitch. On the whole I enjoyed doing them and I love the vibrancy of the colours in the thread. Safil is fine to work with I think its coverage over the fabric is excellent and my only real advice when using it would be to cut your lengths slightly shorter than what you would do if using Stranded Cotton. It is slightly fluffly  and if the thread cut is too long it has a tendancy to get fluffier. Also I am a person who has quite rough hands even though I moisturise regularly, my skin still tends to hatch against thread, so shorter lengths is  a good idea.

Below are the results - they were fun stitches and I look forward to working on my larger project at some stage in the future - it no longer daunts me in any way.
The birthday cake was straight forward cross stitching and back stitching and the wreath was cross stitching with French Knots that were 2 strands of Safil wrapped three times around the needle which gives the lovely raised effect, plus a little ribbon embroidery which I have only done once in the past and could have done with  more care but I wanted to get the project completed.

My experience of Riolis is that I would have no hesitation in recommending them the instructions included in the kits were very clear and  in several languages. I have seen quite a few of their kits varying from the straight forward to a lot more complex. I would not be put off purchasing any of these in the  future. They are well packaged and I had plenty of spare thread particularly in the birthday cake kit.

I also got a few things in May
I first saw this on a Floss Tube posting and as I am entering that stage of life it humoured me.
In early May we went to Cirencester for the day and this town does still have a needlework store which I have not visited in years and they had all four of this series. I picked the Kingfisher, it is a DMC kit designed by Lesley Teare.

I have wanted some grime guards for my 11 x 17 inch  q snap and also for my 8 inch hoop which is the one I use most frequently. I saw these on another Floss Tube video and went to the Etsy store to check them out. They are from a store on Etsy called Mae Designs based in Croatia. Maja the shop owner conversed with me about exactly what I wanted and sent photos of fabrics so I could choose what I wanted. Bearing in mind she told me that she had a few orders to deal with before getting to mine I still received them in under 2 weeks and as a thank you she included a little needlebook in the same fabric as the grime guards and a little ladybird needleminder. I would not hesitate to order from her again. The hoop cover I think might also work on my 10 inch hoop as it is very generous with the fabric.
Finally on the last day of May I received the latest design from Joan Elliott called Enchanted Aurora. This design was created for a retreat she attended in Canada. I purchased mine from Jo Critchley at Polstitches along with a piece of Secrets 28ct Opal Lugana which is part of her Artists range of fabrics. These are artworks created by her and are printed onto the fabric. They have a design area of 16.5 x 23.4 inches with a white border. The reverse of the fabric is white. I have not used this before so it will be a new experience for me but I see no issues with them I believe also that these fabrics are washable which the regular hand dyed are not.

I am looking forward to starting this project, the Aurora is one thing I would love to see in my life time and the colours in this design from Joan are superb, she never fails as far as I am concerned. As for the fabric you may be thinking why have I not gone for a lovely night sky fabric, the simple answer is I do not enjoy working on dark fabrics very much and as this project will take me anywhere from 100 - 200 hrs to stitch I want to enjoy the process. I think it will look just as lovely on this piece. The only thing stopping me from starting this is I do not yet have the floss needed but it will be with me soon and so you can expect to see this started sometime in June.

So that was it for May in regards to my stitching. But May did see a resurgence of my reading bug. In May I read 15 books of which 4 were Audio, 1 was Non Fiction and 3 were Childrens books. I am amazed at the amount I got through. To start the month at bedtime I decided to read Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone but also listen to the audio book narrated by Stephen Fry. To say this was a joy is an understatement, I got so much more from both reading and listening and intend each month to go through the rest of the series, this will take me to November as I will start each on the 1st of the Month and make sure I complete it within the given month. I know some of the later books audios are quite long but I do tend to read for 45 minutes - 1 hr before sleep so even the largest which I think is book 5 Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix will still be able to be completed within a month. I also now own all of the lovely 2014 paperbacks and they look really good in my book case. I also love the feel of the slightly waxy covers, below is an image of the edition I am referring to.
I also read my first Stephen King book which was Mr Mercedes (library loan) which is the first of a trilogy I have the second in my book case and the third I have on reserve at the library but it has not been published yet. Thankfully this was more a crime than a horror story (this has been what has always put me off his books I do not like being scared) and I intend to complete the trilogy.
The above photos ars some of the books I either purchased or got from my library in May. Of the above I have read The Butcher's Hook, The Last Queen of India (Library Loan), How to be a Victorian, The Constant Queen and Frost Hollow Hall (all from Library). I am currently reading Uprooted.  Of these although the Butcher's Hook has a really fantastic cover and I had heard wonderful things about it, it was only an OK read for me which is a shame. The writing was fine just the storyline did not grab me enough. That said I would read future books by Janet Ellis.

Finally, finally, finally and I expect your all thinking about time. I also got myself a left handed pen by Stabilo which also has a stylus so you can use it on your iPad or other devices and when we were on a day out in Gloucester I got myself a Harry Potter Gryffindor journal as I love journals and this one had the back pocket the ribbon marker and the piece of elastic to keep it closed - my basic requirements. If my husband had not bought it for me I probably would not have got it as it was a bit pricey at £13
So in June I intend to do my final Pin Cushion, get Prarie Schooler Alphabet Letter F done and start my Summer Sampler from Janlynn. These are my musts get done.

I have also joined a monthly long SAL on Stitch Maynia Facebook group called Whine and Wip's for this I am working on
Jane Greenoff's Elizabethan Sampler which is currently my oldest unfinished project. I am aiming at 30 minutes a day and I am hopeful that I will be close to a finish come the end of June.

Other stiching will include starting Enchanted Aurora and whatever else I can get done.

Reading wise my overall aim is for 4 fiction books, 1 Audio (excluding my HP book) and 1 Non Fiction, if I do more brilliant. Of the fiction books I will be reading Jane Eyre, this will be a re-read but I have not read a classic is a while and thought this would be a good one to start with. I also have it in the lovely Knickerbox Classics edition

So that's it folks I think I may go back to doing weekly updates as this has taken me forever to type up.

Bye for now

Take care

Lisa x

19th March 2018 Update

Hi Blogger Friends, Well here is my first report since changing to my new plan on the 12th March 2018 Joan Elliott - Enchanting Auro...