Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat

I'm still feeling pretty tired this week and the sleeping fiasco last weekend hasn't helped matters so I decided to take a mid week day off work yesterday and have some me time. Of course me time means stitching time :)

I decided to try and make inroads on another of the postcards swaps that I owe in. So I took some of this fabulous fabric.Some of these kitty heads (I'd cut them off a larger piece of fabric a while ago and saved them even though they weren't full heads, knowing that I'd find a use for them someday!)And some of this ribbon. After I had put these ingredients together they were still crying out for something else. I was stumped for a while until a couple of the kitties started purring and convinced me that they were feeling ever so slightly Bollywood. So a bucket load of beads and sequins later here are the finished cards.

Now it was only a couple of posts ago that I took the less is more approach to my orange postcards. These are definitely from the school of 'the more the better', lol! Ok so they might be a bit over the top but I had the most fun putting them together :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Watch the Birdies

With the Tigger cushion coming together in super quick time I'm thinking that I might have time to fit in one more smaller project from Mum's collection before I tackle something a bit more challenging.

The vast majority of Mum's UFOs are Tigers, but there are a few exceptions and it's one of these that I am going to tackle next. Actually Paula asked on the last post how many Tiger's there are, sorry I can't reply direct Paula as your email address doesn't come across with your comments, but I'll answer here. There are 21 UFOs altogether 11 Tigers, 4 Winnie the Pooh kits which of course feature Tigger and 5 others, so yes there will be a lot of Tigers to come :)

Anyhow the next kit is called Parakeet's Date.

Here is how Mum left it.
I have a vague recollection that this one was meant for my Aunt (the one who just received the Owl wall hanging) but that before she had barely got going someone else had presented my Aunt with a similar picture so Mum decided not to carry on.

There are four more birds to add to this one so it should be a good one to sink my teeth into without being too huge a commitment. I'm not going to set myself an 'in the next week I want to add' type goal but I think I'll just post in a week's time with whatever progress I happen to have made.

Now I am feeling more inclined to stretch my creative wings I think the cross stitch production will slow down a little but I am going to set myself an informal goal of stitching on it for at least 20 mins a day just to keep it ticking over.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tigger the Finale

Another one bites the dust.

Tigger is done
Who could resist this cutie?
I will make him into a pillow sometime in the next few weeks. Not straight away though as I need some time to figure out whether to make him a centrepiece by adding a fabric border to the front or just to leave as is and add a backing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Something Beginning with O

OK so the orange postcards are done, and I had a lot of fun with them.

I scattered the tiny squares on the painted backgrounds and stitched them down using a free motion spiral movement. Here is one of the cards before embellishment.
I'm a little disappointed that the painted backgrounds faded so much but they are a lot more orange in reality than shows in the picture, even in close up I can't quite get the camera to show you the colour that the eye sees.
It was a glorious day today, so check this out; Orange flip flops, orange sunbed and orange stitching project, really this could only be Angelcat's Arbour! (ok so technically no trees around but I couldn't think of another garden type word beginning with A)
I made four cards altogether for the swap and although they are all slightly different they are all along the same line so here is one of the finished cards. I had intended to embellish them to death but when I found these lovely sequins in the box I came round to the idea that less is sometimes more.Now I'm feeling back in the groove and can't wait to get started on my something beginning with P cards.

Apart from housework, sunbathing and orange stitching I have been trying to tackle one more thing today. Years ago I cross stitched this Bagpuss picture and knitted a stripey pink backing to make a small cushion. One day this cushion ended up on the floor and got trod on by a muddy boot. I've tried once already to get the staining out but it didn't work, so today it got another wash. If the stain doesn't come out this time I think I will have to think of a way to recycle Bagpuss. Luckily it's the background rather than the stitching that is stained. Here he is drying in the sun. (please ignore the shadow in the corner created by a giant weed which met it's demise shortly after this shot was taken,lol!)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tigger Part Three

So much for a weekend full of a lot of sleep! Friday night we went to see a friends band and didn't get to bed until 2am and now here we are on Sunday morning it's 5:45am and I've been awake since 3:30 I just can't sleep.

Anyway as a consequence the next part of Tigger is already done! I'm fascinated by this whole stitching with wool thing. These chunky stitches are just so different from the delicate little cross stitches that I'm used to.
Only the dark green strips to do and this one is done :)

One good thing about being up this early is sunrise. Sadly from here I only have a view of the tops of other houses but the pre-dawn colours are beautiful none the less. Yesterday we went to see the new Batman movie which was amazing, best film of the year so far. We also went for a beautiful walk in the Cotswold countryside near the beautiful village of Bibury. Sadly I forgot to take my camera but if you are interested you can see some images of the village here. Will definitely go back and take my camera next time!

Today I'm hoping to get my orange postcards embellished and done, it's looking like it will be another beautiful day so the sun lounger will probably be aking an appearance as well, maybe I'll even get to catch up on some sleep in the garden!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tigger Part Two

Just as I had hoped this one is stitching up really quickly. After only an hour in front of the TV watching my favourite program of the moment, The Ghost Whisperer, Tigger's face was done.This is the overall shot.

I don't think I will bore you showing the before and after shots one this project as it's going to come together so quickly the progression will be pretty obvious.

The next stage for the coming few days is to finish the tiny bit of Tigger's hand in the corner and complete all the light green stitching including the lettering.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Orange Orgy

Well it's been a while since I made any postcards. And I am still outstanding on a few of the swaps I signed up for before my hospital stay. I was almost up to date before this but since then as you know I have been struggling to do much.

I had a look through my list and realised that I am owing on 5 swaps and this reality check has finally shamed me into hitting the sewing room. I don't have any finished product to show yet but I painted these backgroundsAnd cut some of my scraps into these tiny squares Now I am ready with this beautiful rayon thread from Madeira
And my trusty box of embellishmentsHopefully I will have some finished cards to share soon :) I have been feeling pretty exhausted this week, and when I sat and thought about it I've been busy for the last 5 weekends running and have hardly had a moments breathing space. So this weekend I plan to sleep (a lot), stitch, go for a long walk and take myself to see the new batman movie.

Before I sign off today I just have to share a picture of my sewing room companion. Pip has become the guardian of orange :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Introducing ............

Now that Silent Vigil is complete it is time to pick another of Mum's projects to work on. Believe me when I say there is a whole lot to choose from!

It feels good to have gotten one finished and although it took me a while before I felt able to make a start on these I am really pleased that I made the decision to get them finished for her. Whenever I open up the box the smell just reminds me of Mum and when I'm holding the cloth it's a comfort to think that she worked on the same piece.
I think there are about 20 projects in total for me to work on. They are all at various stages some, like Silent Vigil, are almost complete while others are barely started so this is definitely going to be something which takes me years rather than months. My goal for the remainder of the year is to get at least one maybe two of Mum's almost finished projects complete and also to start on one which hasn't had so much done. I think it will be good to have a bigger challenge to work on for the winter months when there is more opportunity for stitching in front of the TV.

So anyway back to the point of this post, to introduce the new project that I will be working on. It's a cushion kit stitched in wool. Are you starting to notice a theme yet? My Mum loved tigers and although Tigger is a totally different character to the cute white cub in Silent Vigil Mum just couldn't resist a Tiger kit.
As this is printed canvas it's more difficult to see what's done but I think you can probably just make it out. As you can also see the finished image then it might be less interesting to follow the progress, but if you do visit regularly I'm gonna make you sit through it anyway, lol!

This will be another first for me as I've never cross stitched in wool over canvas. Over half of this is already done and given the size of the stitches I know this is going to be another quick complete. My goal for this week is to get the rest of Tigger's face done.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Silent Vigil - The Finale

I can hardly believe that I'm saying this but the first of Mum's cross stitch UFOs is done already. Now I know she had already done most of the hard work but compared to the time it took to complete the kitty Cross stitch this one seems to have come together in a flash.
Just as a reminder this is how Mum had left it...
Of course I find myself wondering why she never finished even though she was so close to the end. I know that she found stitching on dark backgrounds more difficult even with her glasses, and I also figure that given the amount of unfinished she was easily distracted by a new challenge, lol. I'll guess I'll never know the reason but it's fun to speculate.
This is the finished piece.
I really like how it turned out. I think Mum's decision to use beads instead of french knots for the stars has really added something extra to it, and the cross stitch and beading combo made it more interesting for me to stitch too.
Sometime in the next couple of weeks I will look for a nice frame for it.
And of course now I have to pick another UFO from the pile. Hmmm so many to choose from decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Super Nerd

As well as the wedding at the weekend we found time to take a couple of trips to the movies. On Friday we took my nephew to see Wall-e which was wonderful.

On Sunday we decided to just turn up at the cinema and pick something at Random. We ended up watching Journey to the Centre of the Earth and were lucky enough to be at a cinema with a 3D screen. Our local cinema does not have this so my last memories of trying to watch 3D were having to wear those paper glasses with the co,oured lenses, and somehow I could never quite get the 3D effect. Thankfully technology has moved on and I was amazed at the effects and the realism of things jumping at you from the screen. Unfortunately the glasses are still rather nerdy!
They are only missing the sticking plaster in the middle for the total nerd effect!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Wedding

I'm just popping in for a quick post. I'm feeling totally exhausted but super happy for my little sis Emily who got married yesterday. Here she is looking totally stunning.
I'm super proud of her as she was responsible for the majority of the organisation and she did it all on a limited budget. I know everyone had a great day.

I'm also super proud of my Mark who was the principal photographer on the day. His first wedding so it was extra nerve wracking for him, I know there are things that he would liked to have done differently but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I think overall he's done a great job and I'm sure the happy couple will be pleased with their wedding album.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Silent Vigil Part 5

Thanks to my extra afternoon this week I actually had some time to work on Silent Vigil which I thought would go by the wayside this week in the effort to finish the wall hanging.

I haven't made a huge amount of progress but I have added a lot of back stitch detail to the edge of the tiger and also outlined the facial details. I didn't realise until I went to add the whiskers that Mum hadn't quite finished all of the black stitching in the tiger so I had a bit of extra work that I wasn't expecting there too.

Here it is as was at the time of last posting.
And this is the now.I know it doesn't look hugely different but here is a close up of some of the detail I've added (sorry about the pics it's really overcast here today so had to take with flash).
I only have the area of background to finish on the left side and the star beading and this one will be done. I should be there sometime in the next few days.
It's my Baby sis's wedding this weekend, hopefully I'll have some photos of the gorgeous bride to share when I get back :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Home Grown

Well anyone who knows me will know that far from having green fingers I actually have black fingers and manage to kill anything I try to grow.

Our garden has been a bit of a mess for a while but this year we have finally found a bit of time and money to start tidying things up a bit. We only have a small garden (which is probably a good job given our track record) and have a small border running part of the way down one side. On a whim we decided to buy a few seeds and lo and behold we have actually managed to keep somethings alive.
We have some radishes, beetroot, lettuce and spring onions. Actually the onions don't look as though they are doing too well but everything else is coming along. Here are our first pickings.
They taste good too (and this coming from a girl who isn't overly keen on radish!). I think really some of these are planted a bit too close together but we only have a small space and TBH we didn't think we'd have much hope of growing anything anyway so not a bad first effort. I'm looking forward to sampling the rest.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Twit Twoo

As predicted I managed to get my mini wall hanging finished last night. Good job it was such a small project otherwise I wouldn't have had any hope of getting it done in time for delivering it at the weekend.
I hope my Aunt likes it. It was a lot of fun to make and I enjoyed the fact that there was a mixture of hand and machine stitching to do. It's definitely what I needed to get my juices flowing again, I can't wait to get started on some new projects and get caught up on some of the swaps that I'm lagging behind in.

It was also a great feeling to finally have something else to add to my list of completed projects for 2008 in my side bar, it's been way too long.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An unexpected gift

Yesterday I got an unexpected gift, the best gift of all, some time. I had planned to work from home for the day but away from the constant ringing of the telephones and all the other general office distractions I got my work done in half the time I thought it would take so took a couple of hours off in the afternoon.

It was a beautiful afternoon, with blue skies, a few fluffy clouds and a nice light breeze. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get the sun lounger out and sat in the garden for a couple of hours stitching. As a result I managed to get all of the blanket stitch added to my owls. In the evening I also added the borders and most of the binding, but by the time I had got to that the light wasn't very good for pictures so I'll wait until the hanging is completely finished before I share.

I think I definitely had too much sun as at one point as I found myself wondering whether it is possible to get a thimble tan. You know just like one of those sunglasses tans that you often see where someone has been wearing their glasses all day and get the white panda rings around the eyes! So I'll be on the look out now for anyone with a white finger tip as I'll know they are a sun worshipping stitcher :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What a hoot!

Well as hinted at in my last post this week I have started a new project. Not a big one it needs to be quick as it's a birthday present for my Aunt and I've run out of time for making.

But with the help of these fabrics from the stash ....And a beautiful pattern by Maria Saunderson from this magazine ......Here are my beginnings ............Yes you guessed it my Aunt loves owls. Now I really will have to get a move on I only have 3 evenings to get this done. It is small though at only 14" x 14" so hopefully it will come together quickly.

Next step is to blanket stitch around the applique shapes by hand, hopefully I will get this done today. I have plenty of stranded embroidery threads which I inherited from colour matching shouldn't be too much of an issue :)

Even though I'm just following a pattern I have really enjoyed the process of picking and cutting the fabrics, hopefully this will be just the things to get me back to my own projects again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

GWE Workshops

I don't have much to chat about today. My baby sis is getting married next weekend so this Friday was the hen night and I spent most of yesterday recovering so not much productive going on!
However I did want to do a quick post about a new group which is going to be starting, this is a branch out from the Great Western Embroiderers. Read all about it here on Maggies blog. If you live anywhere in the Wilts/Glos/Oxon area and are looking for some space to work on textiles with like minded artists get in touch with Maggie this is for you :)
And as I don't like to post without a picture here are a few fabrics which I have pulled out of the stash which may feature in my next project to be started which is a small wall hanging for my Aunt's birthday. I'm following a pattern as I need something which will come together quick as her birthday is in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Clean freaks look away now

I love to see photos of where other people work. I'm sure many of you read Quilt Pixie's blog and saw the well organised collection of books, threads and embellishments that were posted recently. Suddenly inspired I thought maybe I would share some pictures of my work room.

Sadly my pictures tell a woeful tale.......

....somewhere under this pile of cross stitch kits a chair is buried ...........
............. if it wasn't so totally covered in stuff this chest would open to reveal some lovely fabrics......................................................................................
.....................Who would be able to find anything in this cupboard (except of course the cat which sticks out like a sore thumb!)......................
................I'm sure my muse would come darting back if only I could get to these books and magazines for some inspiration ....................................................
........................A layer of dust forming on top of my sewing machine I think that says it all ......................................................................................................

If anyone knows of any willing cleaning fairies who would like to pay my workroom a visit please send them my way!!! I have never been a particularly tidy person but this is getting to melt down point! I just need an extra few days a week and I'm sure I'd be able to keep on top of it all!