Thursday, 20 March 2014

Winter themed......

I have tried a million times - yes, I counted - a million times, to post on Blogpress this morning but as soon as I get more than a dozen well-chosen (!) words written, it just crashes.

So I'll show you, Blogpress - ha ha - I will use Blogger and serves you right!

So, as I was saying, my unofficial resolve to post more often has gone by the board. But here I am, finally, with a bit of stitching to show.

If I can remind you ( I think I mentioned it on my previous post, but I daren't leave this page to check!) I was going to make some Winter themed ornament smalls which would replace the Christmas themed ornaments on display.

Well I did a few, which I will share with you.

You can't wait can you?

Bet you recognise this one? It's from this year's JCS ornament special and it is SnowBirds by CCN stitched over one on 30 ct Tin Roof. I gave it a beaded edge and hanger. I wrote all this down on a little card. It's called 'keeping a record' and although I have tried it in the past, I usually lose the card.

I love this one, again stitched over one on 32 count, using DMC not-quite-white and ecru. It is 'Winter Tyme' by Not forgotten Farm.

These are snowdrops.

Oh alright. So I lost the card! 

I do know it's stitched over one and I added teeny tiny iridescent sequin things which had a greeny hue which matched the snowdrops. 

This amazing co-ordination of theme and colour doesn't happen by accident you know.

Well actually this did. The little box full of thousands of sequins fell off the shelf so I used them. I could have done more stitching, but it took hours to pick the rest up off the floor!

Another snowdrop.

Fooled you!! 

I have the card - this is stitched over one again and it's a freebie by The Little Stitcher.

I have a few more to show you, but I'll keep those for next time.

To finish here I wanted to share a sweet pin pillow given to me by my friend Anne. 

I'll tell you the little story behind it, but you are a stitcher anyway so you will understand.

Anne and I stitch together every Thursday evening and we will often look up across the table to see one or the other of us threading and re-threading a needle with a minute end of floss trying to stitch the final couple of cross stitches in that colour. We care not a jot that we have yards of the stuff in front of us, we are determined not to start a new thread. You do it too, right? 

Well, Anne found herself at home doing the same thing but finally gave up saying 'This is a stitch too far'. And those very words inspired the pin pillow.

If you look carefully you can see a tiny thread coming from the unfinished motif and another in the little stitched needle. Clever eh?

Sorry it is such a poor photo. I am lazy and use my iPad camera instead of firing up my 'proper' camera and doing all the transferring of images thing.

It's lovely to be back. Thank you if you waited for my return and read the drivel thus far. 
I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Now, onto Spring themed ornaments. Slow down world, I need to catch up.

Lots of love
Irene xxx

Monday, 20 January 2014

What we do for our art!

Alternatively titled 'Acorns on a Dead Rose Bush'

So . . . .

I was browsing my way through the many and varied items on the internet and saw something that I liked. 'I can do that' was my first thought, as indeed it is the first thought of many such idlers. But on this occasion - I actually could do it!

I rang my country-dwelling sister and ordered her to 'Gather me acorns aplenty' so of course she did. I am older than her and pulled her hair when she was little. The fear lingers on.

I gathered together the necessary supplies. This unfortunately involved throwing away the acorn nuts which my sister had painstakingly gathered and keeping only the caps (maybe I should have told her that?) I used the caps, a head pin and a variety of beads and set to work.

Anyway, after an hour I produced these.

Oh alright, after several hours on several days.

Today I fiddled about, checking Pinterest boards, reading blogs and generally squandering my time as if it was a unending resource. Eventually I decided it was a good day to take some photos and write my blog.

Back to the title.

I had hoped to show you these acorns in sunshiny glory, but after the aforesaid time-wasting the sun was only visible in one small corner of the garden - you know - that corner over there, where the dead nettles are?

I threaded up a selection of the acorns on beading cords and began to hang them artistically on the ivy. Sadly, the knots on the shiny cord kept slipping open, sending the acorns plummeting downward. By the time I had re-threaded, re-hung and replaced them and applied soothing balm to my nettle-stung fingers, the sun had moved relentlessly on, heeding not my artistic endeavours.

I stood on tippy toes, up to my knees in nettles and took this photo.

You can just see the sun disappearing in the corner.

So... Acorns on a Dead Rose Bush.

Taken by me with nettle-stung, thorn-pricked, cold fingers.
But so worth it, n'est pas?

I have some stitching to show you too. I have decided to go for a Winter theme to replace the Christmas one, but need to stitch a few more to have anything like a display. I have also resolved to keep a note of the name, designer and linen used. I have given up on my goldfish memory.

This is, she said with some confidence, LHN's Saltbox Christmas, stitched with recommended colours over two on 32ct Tin Roof. ( oh, for goodness sake, I forgot to write down the colours and linen and count, so I just guessed. I'm not perfect)

This is the Snowman Quaker freebie stitched over one on something count something. I hung little shiny crystals from the bottom. To look like ice?
( my new recording system is having teething problems )

And this is a wooden Red Cardinal which I've had for ages from those clever people who make the little sledges, stitched on perforated paper.

Well, I have tons more to show you, but this is enough for today.

Fell free to make acorns.

If you need any caps, let me know. I'm sure my sis would be happy to go a-gathering, she's hardly busy at all.

Thank you for your comments. Always read and very much appreciated.

Love, Irene xxx

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The return!

Bet you thought I'd given up this blog-writing business eh?

Nope, just sort of lost the urge for a while. I have really enjoyed reading other blogs but was just too - well - lazy I suppose, to pick up the metaphorical pen and paper.

Pen and paper - who can remember that??

Anyway I have resolved, not in the big New Year Resolution way at all, but in a personal 'let's make a bit of an effort here' way to write up my blog a little more often.

I will try not to be so wordy, try not to wait until I have a finished piece to show, and try to be worthy of the many friends who started to follow me and who have, no doubt, given up in disgust.

So, to begin again, Happy New Year. Let's hope we all have one free from major health issues spent with the people we care about.

And if we could all win a lot of money, well, that would be nice too.

I have been stitching steadily all year, but didn't photograph everything. I just forget.

So here is Diligence, the Scarlet Letter sampler I finished from the challenge. I finished it quite quickly but didn't even trouble to post it on the main blog. Don't know why.

I can't find the full image of the finished piece but I am going to press on and not wait another seven months. This proves I finished it as it's the bottom. And those are my initials (IH). And I started at the top.

I did quite a few Halloween and Autumn themed ornaments. I'll just show the pics, it's weeks since Halloween, but if anyone wants details 'spect I can find them.

Just so as you don't have to tell me, I know this Halloween is a bit wobbly.
A witch made me do it wrong.

I love this little Cherie Wheeler rabbit.
I know its not Autumn but it's nice.

I stitched loads more.


I just can't remember what they were.

But this time next year I will know because I will have kept a record here on my blog of every single stitch and then I too can do clever little montages of my year's work. Interspersed with flying pigs.

I crashed my car on Boxing Day!
First accident in almost fifty years of driving. Nobody hurt but a sad little car sitting outside my house for a week. It's gone off to hospital now. The garage provided me with a courtesy car. I will be lucky to get my right foot in it. I may well need a second car for my left foot.

Well, there we go.

The first post of 2014.

The first post of many.

Those of you who have been holding your breath for my return can now exhale - in fact I think you should. Nice and easy now, it's been a while.

Love Irene xxx
Oh and don't even get me started on Pinterest. That......that.....thief of time!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Fish are jumpin' .........

I found myself in the garden today warbling 'Summertime' in a voice not unlike the famed Kiri te Kanawa. Well OK, not that much like her, but the sun was shining, my step was light, the neighbours were out and the fish were jumping! No high-growing cotton - this the the north of England, after all.

I decided about 5 years ago that although I loved the idea of myself as a gardener, you know - worn old straw hat, tanned healthy features, sensible shoes, in fact I hated gardening, so I invested a small sum of money and had my little corner of England landscaped into an accessible, peaceful, stress free zone.
Here it is.....

See - the fish were actually jumpin'!

I have quite a bit of  'show and tell'  for you. Mostly stitch related, a bit of dog, some stained glass and some amazing maths. I know!!! What can that be?

                  (Not sure what Blogger is doing this morning. This post might be problematic!)

Anyway, I am very enamoured of Stacy Nash designs at the moment and this is her Butternut Tavern.
I used the recommended GAST but linen from stock which was a little paler so needed to change Lexington Green which didn't show at all to Endive - which did.

My lovely friend Carmen Sutton made me a gift of My Name is Lidya, Stacy's latest book and if you haven't seen it, it is delicious and I am sorely tempted to begin something from it. I have always fancied  a drum pincushion....... 

Carmen also sent two of her unused projects by Lauren Sauer in the hope that my friend Anne and I might actually make them. Let me tell you Carmen, Secret Garden is on its way.

Then we have 

                                        H is for Honey by Prairie Schooler.  

My sister Karen's friend lives in a cottage called Beehive and Karen asked me to make a door hanger for her so I chose this and adapted it for the purpose. I stitched it over one using DMC on a darkish 30 (I think) linen. It is quite small as you can see, only 7 cms ( just under 3 inches wide).

Had you forgotten about the amazing maths?

Well, here we go. 

The little bee on the back measures 1 1/2 cms x 2 cms. 

 Stitch count 17 x 22. Therefore there are 374 cross stitches in it. 

Each cross stitch requires 4 passes with the needle, making 1,496 stabs. 

What do you think the recipient will say?
" Aw look. There's a bee on the back"

Oh, little do they know!

I have just discovered why Blogger is so different today. I normally use Blogpress, not Blogger. 
Is that the men in white coats I hear marching purposefully up the path?

So, to press quickly on.

This is a very crumpled 'Diligence' by Scarlet letter. The border is finished as is all the lettering and I have just started the house. Then an urn with flowers and initials et finis!
Mmm better not celebrate just yet.

You haven't seen much of my dogs lately, but here here they are now.

                                 I am calling this 'A Settee Full of Setters.'

Shush, quiet, or we will get nothing done!

Almost there now.    A relief to a lot of you, I know. 

After it took so very long to make the stained glass panel for my shower room, I decided to make some smaller items, like this dragonfly.
I gave this one to Anne for her birthday. I used to give her stitched things, but her stitching is so much better than mine now. Hey ho!

I am making butterflies to hang from the trees in my garden. They are simple and quick to make and I have about 5 foiled and ready to solder. Stained glass can be leaded or foiled. For smaller items, foiling is easier and is just as weatherproof as leading. You just wrap thin copper tape around each piece of glass and solder them together.

One last picture. In the garden of the house next door to me is a cherry tree. It is far too near to my house. The roots are probably snaking through the foundations as we speak, but for a few short days, my son opens his bedroom curtains to this.

The blossoms are there, in fingertip reach. Absolutely glorious. We'll worry about the foundations another time.

After all, tomorrow is another day.

I hope yours is beautiful.

Irene xxx



Monday, 8 April 2013

Stained glass finish


I know this is a stitching blog, but if you had worked on something for as long as this has taken me, you would want to have a teeny tiny 'Ta Da' moment and maybe even a discreet unhurried two-step around the kitchen too.

This is my stained glass panel. I based it on a patchwork quilt pattern.
Maybe 'Flying Geese', may not be!

I am sure passing quilters would know, I knew once, but this (insert swear word) thing has taken so long that I am not sure I have a working brain cell left now.

A closer look.

I did actually crop this to eliminate that white bit at the top which is a piece of frosted glass with light shining through it, but my iPad refused to accept any alterations.

So.....what did I learn from this very long encounter with glass, copper foil, lead and solder?

Cut carefully!!!

That's it really.

Cut carefully.

Then all the little shapes will fit together and you will not have to un-peel all the copper foil you laboriously stuck around each little triangle and you will not have spend hours on a grinder cutting millimetres of glass away.

I did discover that although a millimetre, in itself, is not very big, when you have an extra millimetre on two sides of 160 pieces of glass - that adds up to quite a bit.

Well - enough to make the panel too big to fit the hole for which it was designated.

It fits now.

Because of the afore-mentioned hours spent on the grinder, chewing up my nails, removing small but painful lumps of skin, being splattered by glass-dust laden spray.

Oh yes it fits now.

It is in the shower room.

Where it can be seen at it's very best by male visitors to the loo.

So worth it then.

Bitter and twisted - moi?

Irene xxx

Male visitors - just ignore the panel and concentrate on your aim - that's all I'm saying.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Talking to myself......

Do you do it too?

Talk to yourself?

Not in general life, although there is time for that too, but when stitching?

I say to myself things like ' to the end and one more' and 'up in one steps' and 'three the same'

No doubt any non-stitcher listening to these muttered ramblings would be quietly backing out of the room whilst phoning for those white-coated men, but I bet stitchers know what I mean.

I look at the chart and think I know what I'm doing, but during that split second as I transfer my gaze back to the linen, unless I have actually said the words out loud, so that I can hear them, I have forgotten what I am supposed to do.

I know!

It's bad, really bad.

Anyway, I did manage to concentrate long enough to actually finish something.

I would like to thank Ms Stacy Nash for this pretty thing. It is her 'Tribute to Summer' sampler and I just love it. I loved to stitch it and I love it now. That's a lot of love!

The sun, a rare object in our Northern skies, is shining today but the wooden window things are casting shadows. Some people are never happy!

I have this thing about leaving a light on in any houses I sew, so I have here too.

Stacy's instructions recommend using two threads for the white flowers - but hey - she's just the designer, I know better than her so I'll just use one!!


I did actually like the damask look of one thread, but then thought 'Well, OK, I'll try it her way' and stitched the next one using two threads.

Mmm again. Quite like the crunchy look of two threads too.

So rather than frog out one flower, I decided to mix the flowers, using one and two threads randomly.

And I love it.

Did I say that before?

Now a quick update on my Scarlet Letter Challenge sampler Diligence.

These colours are so vibrant and the words are so hard!!

Well the words themselves are not hard, as such, no - its the spacings in-between the letters that are hard.

It takes me ages and an awful awful lot of the above mentioned out-loud mutterings to decide where to start the next letter. I finished the word 'Diligence' - I know - the very first word - and immediately had to adjust the position of my second word to make it fit!

This is not good.

There are many words still to go. This is going to be sore-throat-makingly tedious.

But hey, it's not a race. Is it??

Just to finish, a quick photo of Bronte, caught whilst almost sleeping in the sun this morning.

She will cheer your day. She cheers every day for me.

Thank you so much for your comments and welcome again new followers.

It's lovely to have you here.

Irene xxx

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Scarlet Letter sampler Diligence.

Thought I would start with a little splash of colour.

The daffodils are out in the shops and are so inexpensive and pretty that they can be a little glow of Spring in every corner.

I am really enjoying working on the sampler I chose for the Scarlet Letter challenge. I was a little too late to join the original one hundred, but am part of the second group on Blog 2.

After much deliberation I chose Diligence and this is my progress so far.

The colours are bright and beautiful and the AVAS thread so lovely to work with.

A close up of the corner. The thread for the daisy petals was a little too yellow I thought, so I substituted AVAS creme which is a little lighter without being bright white.

I have used rice stitch, double running ( or in my world - back stitch ) and the dreaded queen stitch. I was going to ask my friend Anne to do all those for me, but seeing as she is stitching the same sampler on our Thursday night SAL it did seem a little unfair. I am just doing them and trying not to worry about it. They are the pink blobs in the middle of the green diagonal border, so - who knows if they are good or bad?

I also recently finished stitching Parson Brown, although he is not 'finished' in the true sense of the word.

He was a lovely stitch, started when the snow was falling outside.

But now we have daffodils.

Hey ho.

Lots of love and thank you for reading.

Irene xxx

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


I've filled my little basket!

A new year affects people in different ways. Just read a few blogs and you'll see.

Some look back, often in wonder, at what they have achieved. How many promises made and kept. How many projects finished.

Some look forward in anticipation, lists of new projects, penned with determined strokes, stretching far out into the future.

I do none of this.

I can't remember what I stitched in 2012. If I had kept up with my blogging I would have some idea, but I did not, so I do not.

I have one project on order for 2013, but aside from that I shall blow with the wind! I will see where my whims and fancies take me. I will dilly and dally along the way. I will care not a jot!

The changing of 12 to13 did have an unexpected affect on me though. I felt an overwhelming need to finish things. So I did and will show you some now.

These are four of the pears designed and freely offered by Marly from Samplers and Santas. I had five, but gave one away as a Christmas gift. It had to be forcibly removed from my clutching fingers. But I will stitch it again and try to keep up to date with her monthly designs. ( not a promise, more a pleasure)

This is a set of Prairie Schooler patriotic strawberries. I used a slightly faded variegated red and blue and really liked the effect. The red is WDW Brick, but I can't remember the blue! I finished these with little stalks of rolled felt rather than hangers.

It's too late in the year to go on about Christmas ornaments, but I thought I would show a few - just for the record!

This is quite tiny, stitched over one. I showed it to my son who thought it was a postage stamp!

This one is really pretty. Quaker Birds by LHN, again stitched over one and finished with little iridescent droplets. I gave this to a favourite aunt - she would have needed to be a favourite! I am sooooo mean!

Now a project that is started and will be ongoing this year. I am just loving doing it and would have been further on if I had not been distracted by the need to produce Christmas ornaments. It is Tall Year Square by Betsy Morgan.

It is a tall box with seasonal sides and the cube, which was our class pre-stitching, sits inside the box. Here you can see the Autumn side finished and the Winter side begun with the matching sides of the cube showing.

This is a luscious project to work on.

The linen is so beautiful and the threads are - well - luscious! They are Gloriana and if I could, I would have them all for my stash. The colours are so beautifully dyed and the thread never, NEVER, catches or knots. The sheen on the finished stitching, especially the long stitches is just amazing.

My one definite new start this year is a Scarlet Letter sampler. My friend Anne and I are taking part in the challenge and after much discussion we have chosen 'Diligence' to stitch in the silks. It is ordered and we are desperate to start. It will be our Thursday evening stitch-along. We will encourage each other, but hopefully we will stitch diligently to the end.

See what I did there???

I don't seem to blog often, but when I do, I try to give value for money, so thank you if you got this far.

I see I have crept over the 100 followers mark, so welcome my friends, I hope you find something to interest you here.

I will give news of the two dogs, Bronte and Meghan, next time, suffice to say Bronte just careered from one misdeed to another yesterday and was in trouble all day. One of the very bad things she did concerns one of Marly's lovely sampler boxes!


Lots of love
Irene xxx