Thursday, January 26

January TUSAL

Wow I am so late with this update.  I just didn't find the time to be able to come to the internet cafe so alas it had to wait.  I like the colours that are in my jar for this month and it's been fun watching it fill up.

I worked on Mythical Muse and I am happy with the progress I have made.  Unfortunately I seem to have been fast asleep when I cut the fabric to size as I seem to have forgotten to add extra fabric on the sides and so the stitching is right up to the sides.  I hope that I can cut and sew on fabric to all sides so that it can still be framed.

Thursday, January 19

Doors Are Finally Finished.

I cannot believe that they are all four finally done.  Wow it has been awhile since I started them.  I finally have the complete set and they are really pretty.  Please excuse the picture as I know it's not straight inside the frame.  I may fix it or I may leave it like that... depends on how much it bugs me:-)

Before the Door I also worked on Lady and I am pleased with how much progress was made.  Granted she happend to be in the rotation over a weekend and I do get alot more stitching time then but I think another two rotations and she might just be a FO.  I am pleased with how much more progress I get to show you since I lengthened the days I work on a project from 3 to 5.

We have been with our ISP for just over two years now.  They are a private company that does wireless internet but for the two years now they have had alot more bad times than good and the interenet has always been faulty.  After two years the husband finally lost patience and has cancelled our subscription to them.  So now we are sitting without internet at home and hubby hasn't mentioned whether he plans on gettting another company to get us back online.  Not that we have much of a selection in this small town.  I feel so lost without it.  Last night I made a cup of coffee and was thinking to sit down and read a few blogs before I remembered that I can't.  So my blogging will not be as much as it was previously.  I hope to at least come online once a week so I can catch up on everyones stitching but I don't know how well that will work all the time.

This is the view I saw from our front yard the other day... havn't seen a rainbow in a long time.

Today I start working on my Mermaid for the next five days and next week I start a new project.  I must say I am looking forward to that start.  It's not a project that I usually would do but I found myself keeping on coming back to it and just looking at it.  So I figure what the heck and just make it before it drives me nuts.

Sunday, January 15

Questions And Answers

I saw this on threadbear's blog ( and thought it would be interesting to do.

1. What was your first finished project?
It was a Disney Pocohontas design.  It was far from perfect but I was so proud of it.  Due to family conflict etc I lost my FO and unf I didn't know about making a copy of the design so I could never work off the original again as it was pretty damaged in the end.

2.  What is your current stitching project?
For today it is a Lesley Teare design called Art Nouveau and I am loving it.

3.  Do you have any other WIPs?
Yes I do but I already have the list on my side bar so I won't give the list again.

4.  How did you learn how to stitch?
It was my fifteenth or sixteenth birthday and I think my one aunt didn't know what to get me, so she got me a cross stitch kit that were suppossed to be two butterfly cards.  I didn't have any instructions other than what came with the kit and lets just say that I never completed either one of them and they ended up in the dustbin after I messed them up terribly.  My other aunt saw how much I enjoyed working on them though and for Christmas that year she bought me the Pocohontas design that was my first FO.

5.  How long did it take from the time you learned how to stitch, to finish your first project?
Oh my as it was about fourteen years ago I really can't recall... but I am sure it was a few months as I had school and a weekend job that kept me busy.

6.  What is your favourite piece that you've stitched?
This is difficult as I like every piece that I finish.  But there is not one that I absolutely love as of yet so maybe in the future I will have one that is a favourite.

7.  Your least favourite?
I think the table numbers I did for the school dance.  I loved how they looked and I got huge compliments at the dance about them but nothing and I mean NOTHING should ever have to be stiched 36 times.

8.  What is/was your most challenging project?
There is a definate winner to this answer.  Its a TW design of a castle and dragon.  I have tried to stitch it 3 times and every time it has kicked my butt.  But one day (and soon) I will kick it right back and have it hanging up in a place of honour in my house.  I read a comment in a magazine once and I remember reading it to my husband and laughing because I thought it was crazy but after trying this design I can see why the lady did it.  The comment was a husband writing in about a piece his wife stitched and he didn't mention the name of the design but he said it was a castle and dragon with alot of blended colours, and this just screams this design, but anyway his wife took a long time to finish stitching the design and she didn't enjoy the process but she persevered and finally finished it and then burnt it.  I will never do it but honestly I can see why she did it:-)  And after knowing all of this I also know that there are at least three TW designs I want to stitch so I must be mad.

9.  What fabric and thread do you love working with?
I have not had chance to experiment with this as there is a bit of difficulty with supplies in SA but hopefully soon I will be able to try silk threads.  I work on Aida as anything linen or evenweave is on the higher counts and my eyes are too bad that I can't work on such small detail.

10.  Do you have a favourite pattern or designer?
I love both Joan Elliott and Lesley Teare

11.  Do you have a "Stitching Hero" or someone that is just way too awesome for their own good?  Do Share?
Honestly I love all stitching that people do.  Every one I have on my blog list is there because I love their work but I must say I do have one or two who I get excited about when I see that they have updated their blogs.
Just go look at the workmanship that that man does.  I want to be him when I grow up.
Once again the workmanship is just breathtaking plus she gives us hunky men to drool over every once in awhile.

12.  Where do you keep your stash?  Post Pictures!
Stash?  I honestly don't have any.  It costs me R200.00 to buy a metre of fabric, it costs me R100.00 for a cross stitch magazine if I buy it at CNA but usually I troll bidorbuy and pick up some really nice mags for alot less.  I spent 2011 buying DMC threads and it was expensive and slow going but now I have all the colours (except the variations and metallics).  Whereby 1 kit costs about R400.00.  So basically I have plain white fabric, four boxes of DMC threads, alot of magazines and some Dimensions patterns that a friend gave me as she no longer stitches.

 13.  Have you ever taught anyone to stitch?
 Nobody has ever asked me to teach them except my sister.  Unfortunately when we lived in Cape Town and were near to her she wasn't interested and now that she is, we are on the other side of the country and it will have to wait for when one of us can afford to visit the other one.

14.  What's the worst threads or fabric that you've worked with and why?
My answer would have to be metallics.  Luckily for the metallics that they make a design go from pretty to stunning otherwise I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot barge pole.

15.  What was your least favourite pattern and why?
I don't stitch for other people other than my daughter and so all the patterns I stitch are ones I chose because I liked the look of them.  Some patterns are not so fun to stitch at one point or the other but I like them all.  My doors so far have been the hardest to stitch on because I just grew tired of them but once I framed the  first two and realised just how pretty they looked I saw them differently and am eager once again to finish the set.

16.  Have you ever had a stitching related injury?
Thank goodness no.  But I had to stitch so much in December to get a christmas present finished, that I actually had a sore wrist at the end of a few nights.

17.  Have you ever had a project that you loved become ruined?  What's the story behind it?
Once again luckily not.  I love having my project frames and so they are protected.  There is one design I stitched years ago and just havn't gotten framed yet due to there always being more to have framed than I have money for and so sadly the fabric had discoloured and looks ecru now instead of the original white.

18.  Do you have a favourite stitching magazine? 
I love both Cross Stitch Collection and Cross Stitch Gold. 

19.  Do you watch television or listen to music whilst you stitch?  What are your favourite things to stitch to?
We have only one tv in the house so not much chance of watching TV but I do buy TV Series on DVD and I like to watch those while stitching.  Although really great programmes like Merlin are bad for stitching as I find I watch more than I stitch.  When I am not watching something I listen to books on my ipod while stitching.

20.  Do you stitch in public?  Was anyone offended/incredibly happy/curios that you were doing so?
I do stitch in public if I know that I am going to be waiting for something to start etc.  I have gotten all different reactions.  One older man was excited to see me doing it and said he was going home to tell his wife how he saw someone young stitching.  I have also been told that I must of thought the conversation boring at a social gathering when one woman took offence that I was stitching as she felt it meant I couldn't be stitching and listening at the same time.  I have also been told that I act like an old lady because of my stitching but I don't care.

21.  Do you stitch gifts for friends and family for the holidays or birthdays?
Not usually because I don't want to chance giving someone a gift that took me ages to do and then be upset because they didn't appreciate it.  But I did do a pillow for my niece for Christmas last year and I plan on doing something for my MIL's birthday this year.  Just need to find the perfect pattern.

22.  Have you ever stricked someone off your to-stitch-for list because they didn't appreciate take care of your last stitched gift to them?

23.  If you had the supplies (and pateince) for it, what project would you start today?
There isn't a specif project that comes to mind but I want to do the Joan Elliott series of fairies and goddesses and if I had the money I would love to buy the fabrics that the designs are stitched on in the magazines instead of one the white fabric that I will be making them on.  Once again the Rand Versus The Dollar sucks but luckily the designs will still look beautiful either way.

24.  Have you ever made your own pattern?  How did it turn out?
No... I have the mind that there are such wonderful designers out there that I will have more than enough to stitch for the rest of my life.

25.  Do you have a book or a place where you keep patterns, ideas, wish lists?  Post a picture of it!
I have my To Do list in an excel document but I do have a book that I use to write info about projects in and also a picure of the project once it is finished.

(Photo To Come)

26.  Have you ever been a part, or wanted to be a part of a stitch-a-long?  What was it?  If not, why?
No.  I love stitch-a-long's and I always dream about doing one but I just havn't found one that suits my wants/needs at the right time.  But I am thinking about doing one on a yuku board that seems to be geared towards technique.

27.  How do you acquire most of your stash?  Online retailers, local shops, swaps or large chain craft stores?  What's your favourite?
My DMC threads I buy from a craft shop in my town.  There is a shop that does postal orders and they are cheaper but I like to support the craft shop because it would be sad if he didn't stock them anymore for that odd time when one just needs that one colour and you don't want to wait for days to get it.  Otherwise I buy my fabric from a online shop and most of the designs I want to make are out of magazines.

28.  Do you do any other crafts besides stitching?  What are they, and did learning to cross stitch come before or after learning these other crafts?
I learnt to cross stitch first when I was a teenager but in my 20's a friend taught me to knit and when I was 26 I taught myself to spin but I have come back to my first love and plan on doing it for the rest of my days.

29.  What kind of designs do you like to stitch?
I do seem to be drawn to fantasy a bit more than anything else but I always just make whatever grabs my attention at that time.  I do so love the Doll House I made for my daughter and I have another "Doll House" type of design that Joan Elliott did in a magazine and wish I could find a few more designs like this.  I also love cute cats and humorous designs.

30.  Do you have any tips, or things that you've learned from stitching?  Share them!
I find that with reading all the wondeful blogs out there that one sort of feels like it's a competition.  Oh my that person finishes things so quickly... or that person does such difficult work... or that ones back's are perfect and mine looks ok but not perfect.  Just remember that stitching is for fun and that you are doing it for yourself and not everybody else.  Do not try to push yourself so hard that you are no longer enjoying the process.  Just have fun and relax.

Thursday, January 12

Forgotten Photo's

I was wanting to take the pictures of my daughter at her first day of school off the camera when I came across photo's that I had forgotten about.  We are lucky enough to live near a game reserve and we sometimes drive down there on a Sunday to go have lunch and drive around the park.  This is what we were lucky enough to see on our last visit:

We go away once a year to spend a week in Drakensberg and in 2011 we visited Falcon Ridge where they have a wide assortment of birds of prey that they rehabilitate.  They train them and then put on shows of the birds as a way to make money to cover the costs of running the facility and taking care of the birds.  These were my two favs:

Also on the same trip we decided to splurge and go for our first helicopter ride.  We were all extremely excited.  I know the following pic is a bit personal but I figure that it was about time you saw who I am considering that you are interested in reading my words.  I personally like reading blogs where you get to see/read a bit about a persons life and you get to feel like they are a friend that you comment to once in awhile and maybe sometimes they comment back:-)

And here is the photo that started it all:  My daughter at her first day of school:

And lastly for what you are actually here for.  This is my progress on Perfect Pets and as you will see alot of progress was made:



To Thoeria

Sadly havn't heard from my friend yet and havn't phoned her as I don't want to pester her into an answer.  Although I might phone tomorrow as the excitement is killing me.  I forgot that Joburg has a different start to the school year compared to KZN.  Although I know how excited my daughter was to start school so I am sure your boy can't wait for next week.
I am a cat person but due to hubby having allergies to cat hair, I cannot have a cat.  So I figure the next best thing is to plaster the house with lots of cats even if they are just stitched.  First it will be this one and then the one you so generously gave me, which will be hanging in my kitchen.  And then I am wanting to do the dimensions one of the wild cat in the tree and I think it sais something like "too pooped" and then also if I can find the chart of the cat hanging off a branch with the words "Hanging in there".  Then I have a few Catitudes to do and mmmm that is as far as I have planned.  So long answer short... I am only stitching the Cat and not the dog.

Tuesday, January 10

Fickle Mind

There has been much excitement in the house today.

Tomorrow is my daughters first day of "big" school as she will be going to Grade 1.  I wish that the excitement would last for more than just the first year or two.  She kept saying to me that she can't believe that she has finally made it and that she is becoming such a big girl now. 

And I have been trying to think of a way to ask hubby if I could place an international order as I would like a smaller q-snap frame.  I bought a big one from a supplier here in SA and it's just too big for me.  I like the size of the embroidery hoops but it don't like how it damages stitches so I wanted a small one and then I could just buy one of those sewn elastic thingies to put around it to hold the excess fabric.  I asked my daughters swimming teacher what she uses and she told me that she doesn't use a frame.  But she has a frame that she has had for years and she will loan it to me until I can get myself sorted out.  She came out of the house with something that looks like the same as a q-snap frame but it has an added piece that is like a wooden lap frame.  So it sits on your lap and you work with both hands free.  I asked hubby if there is any chance he can make me one and luckily he said that it is just made out of pvc pipes and the joins are water pipe bend or something like that.  He has given me the okay to go look at the hardware store and if I can get the supplies he will make me one.

But my bff came for a quick visit to give my daughter a gift for starting school and I showed her the frame.  She told me that when her and her sisters were young they used to do the embroidery that you use french knots on.  This means that that as far as she can remember her mom has about four wooden frames and two stands that havn't been used in years.  She will ask her mom tomorrow if she would be interested in me purchasing them.  I have no idea what they look like or what sizes they are but I am super excited at the thought of being able to purchase them.

I can't wait for tomorrow...

I have once again been fiddling with my rotation.  I got a bit depressed with my stitching as I felt like little progress was made on each piece before I was packing it away.  So I have extended my rotation per project so instead of 3 days I now work on one design for 5 days.  So I started my rotation from the start again.

I have been working on Perfect Pets by Joan Elliott for the last 4 days so at least I will be able to post a pic tomorrow night.  I am much happier now as I can be satisfied in knowing that much progress has been made on it.

Friday, January 6

Start Of Mythical Muse

Considering that I have had three days to work on it, I havn't got much to show:

I havn't stitched as much on this as I have spent more of my free time reading but it is still a bit scary that that little bit took me 5.5 hours to do.  Out of curiosity I did a google image search on Mythical Muse before I started her and there were only two showing.  Now at least I understand why not many people have made this.  There are no large amounts of one colour and I found myself constantly threading my needle.  I think the technical term in the stitching world is "confetti" and this design is all confetti.  And on top of that I am a slow stitcher so this will probably end up being a long term WIP but I have no doubt that she will be soooo worth it in the end.

I am starting another Joan Elliott today, and seeing as this one also has alot of colour changes,  I will try out the pre-threaded needles idea and see if it helps me not be too much like a snail.

I also need to learn how to take good pics of my work as I am not pleased with how the above pic turned out.

I have replaced the kreinik threads with DMC:

Kreinik 3533 - DMC E3837
Kreinik 3250 - DMC E168 or 677 (havn't decided yet)

Wednesday, January 4

2012 Reading Challenge

I love reading but found that I actually read very little last year.  I am not sure what a good goal would be as I don't know how much reading time I have atm but I think 80 sounds like a good number.  Not too hectic so it won't be impossible and not too small an amount that it won't be a challenge anymore.  I will be adding a section to my side bar as soon as I found a counter thingy that I like to keep track of the amount and I will be adding a page to add the books to as I finish them.

Edited:  The challenge has a fantastic button of their own to keep track of progress so I am using that.

Tuesday, January 3

First FO of 2012

I have found it difficult to find a balance with my stitching.  I get overwhelmed easily but I think I have finally manged a rotation that I can stick to.  If I only have one or two projects on the go then I drive myself nuts thinking about all the other ones I would rather be stitching but if I have alot on the go then I get antsy when I don't actually have a FO for a long time.

So heres what I have worked out.  I get to work on a project for three days before I put it away and work on the next one.  This gives me enough time to make a decent amount of progress on said project but be able to put it away when I am still enjoying working on it.  This allows me to remember how much I enjoyed it and not feel like I don't want to work on it next time it comes up in the rotation.  I will only allow myself to have at most 7 project on my WIP list at any given time.  When a project is finished I will not add a new start in it's place but will then just wittle down the WIP's until one or two remains and then I will start a whole bunch until my total is back to 7.
For the new year this means I carried over 3 WIP's.  Perfect Pets, Art Nouvea Lady and my 2 doors (I count it as one on my list).  It also means four new starts so this makes me very happy.

So far the rotation is doing well and I havn't skipped any days and have stuck to my schedule.  This also means that I have my first FO of 2012.  I have been working on my Doors for the last three days and Door 3 is now complete:

As you can see I celebrated the important moment with a bowl of ice cream covered with chocolate sauce, yummy.

I finished this early yesterday afternoon so last night I stayed up (way to late) and got started on Door 4.  Hopefully I will get it done when it comes up in the rotation again.


My daughter has put in a special request to please have her stitching update be on my blog too so allow a mother her moment:-)  My daughter has tried cross stitch before but never gotten further than a few stitches on a design.  The next time she feels in the mood to stitch it always has to be a new design and not the one she started.  So once again this past weekend she got the idea to stitch.  She chose her design and two colours and this is how she wanted to show off her work:

We just don't speak about the fact that it has been lying on the lounge table untouched for two days.  She insisted on putting her age and number into the picture so let me just mention that she didn't spell her name wrong.  It is Silke...  It is a German name and as best I can describe it is you pronounce the S as a Z and you don't say the e like in "see" but rather like in "the" so sort of like Zilker.

Today I get to start my first new project of 2012.  I am excited but also a bit worried.  It is one of Joan Elliott designs and it used Kreinik thread (of course).  Okay this is going to be a bit of a rant about customer service so please either skip or just bear with me.

I live in a small town where nothing but the basics are.  We do have one or two "hobby" shops but one is beading and the one I do go to is a mix between wool, beads, cross stitch and natural herbal medicines.  So the only thing I can get here is the normal DMC threads and anything else I need to order online.  There is a shop (I won't mention names) that is specifically cross stitch and unfortunately it would be a two day drive to get to them.  Two years ago I went onto their site and decided to try them out.  I phoned and the lady who owns the shop as you can't order directly off the website.  She was extremely friendly and we ended up just chattining and she said she would email me pics of some mill hill christmas kits that she has in stock.  So gave her my email addie and then waited, and waited, and waited.  I never did get an email and I decided to just leave it and not make a fuss.  Then a few months ago I came across Joan Elliott when a friend gave me a bunch of magazines and I just knew that I had to make all of her flower fairies, the elements collection and since then, the Medieval ladies, never mind the bunch of her other stuff I have on my list.  I did a search for mill hill beads to see if I can get them in SA and low and behold the only place was the same shop I had gotten such wonderful telephone service but nothing else.  And suprisingly she also has the Kreinik threads too.  It was my birthday coming up and I knew that I would get a bit of cash to spend, so I decided to stock up on as much beads and kreinik that I had cash for.  So this order would of been worth a bit of money.  Okay so I phone them again (but don't mention the lack of email from the previous time) and we have another wonderful chat and she tells me to email all that I need and she will then email me back with prices and whether they have it all in stock or not.  Okay so I send of my list and once again wait, and wait and wait.  I really wanted these items so a week later I phoned the shop and get told that they do not have a list of what stock they have in the shop so they have to check everything individually and she is working on it right now and it will be emailed to me by the end of the day.  To this day I never did receive the email and it is so frustrating and probably more expensive in the long run because everytime I see beads been sold I grab a bunch of beads just in case they will work right for the designs.  And now I find out that the kreinik used in the design I am going to start today has no substitution in DMC and so I will just have to figure it out.  Now my frustration isn't with the beautiful designs but rather with the shop that just can't be bothered.  It would of been a win win situation.  I would of given them alot of money for their product and I would of had exactly the right things for stitching right from the start instead of winging it and hoping that all will still look pretty in the end instead of a dog breakfast of mish mash when I am done.