Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A pile of finishes - and then some! (Edited)

Edit - Cathi kindly pointed out that none of the photos were showing. I have had hassle with Blogger trying to post at all this time but I've had another fiddle and hope the pictures are there now.

I have been so busy.
I have, literally, a pile of finishes to show you.
And then some.

So, seeing as this posting is going to be long and full of photos, I will keep my chatter down to a minimum.
You will have seen some of these in their 'raw' state anyway, so I probably don't need to say much more about them

This is LHN 'Summer' from their monochromatic seasons finished as a little box/lid/thing.
Do they have a name?

This and the following project you may recognise as the results of my feeble attempts at primitiving!
They are both freebies from Pineberry Lane finished as small cushions.
On this one I have used a couple of my Victorian pins.

Actually when I showed the whole pile of  projects to my mum, this is the one she liked most.

In spite of the fact that this says 'Mother'.
No accounting for it is there?

This is an old freebie 'Brite Birds designed by Kathy Barrick Dieter at Barrick Samplers

I had an idea for a new hanger and tried it here.
I used Nymo thread with needles on both ends and threaded them from each end of the bead, crossing through it - if you follow my fumbling explanation.
I like it and will probably use it again.
It is substantial without being heavy.
But T E D I U S !

Waiting for the Harvest, stitched over one on 32 count.

This took much longer than I had anticipated.

Now that Winter is fast approaching it is dark so early here in the Northern hemisphere and I much prefer to stitch over one on this count linen in natural light

Another LHN, this time from the 2011 JCS Christmas issue magazine.
Again stitched over one and quite tiny.

The old silver thimble is added to give an idea of scale.

LHN ornament of the month.
(I hadn't realised how many of their designs I had chosen 'til now)
This one artistically photographed
and looking hairy for some reason?

And then some?
From the blog title.
These freebies from Daffycat for Toby's girlfriend Victoria's niece.
The larger one stitched over two to give away, and the smaller one stitched over one
to maybe hang on the Christmas tree?

Behind is a little book found at an antique fair called
'Daisy's visit to Uncle Jack'.
This book was presented to Miss Elizabeth Robinson as a reward for her efforts in collecting for the Foreign Missionary Society in 1897.

Ta da!!
My latest effort from the stained glass class.
Not perfect, but at least I dare show you it a little closer than the box.
I am just loving this class and have already signed up for next year.

I know - a lot to plough through, but thank you if you did.
Welcome new followers and thank you again longer serving ones.
Love Irene xxx

Monday, 24 October 2011

More interesting stuff!

Well, obviously I am overwhelmed by the interestingness of all this, but I can see that for some readers - maybe not so much.

So, in deference to those who actually like to see a bit of sewing, I have started there.
With Dandy Dreams by Silver Creek.
This was a really nice stitch. I like words anyway so this suited me fine. I used a 28 ct Jobelan linen and the suggested DMC threads.

This was bought to be given as a Christmas gift.

Yeh! Right!!
If you knew me in real life you would know that I am NOT a cake-baking sort of person. 
I quite like making pastry and have sessions when I make enough pies and pasties to feed the whole neighbourhood, so this little cake stand will probably not be used for its rightful purpose.
But - I care not a jot.
Just look at the pretty English wild flower design etched on the top.
It would be a shame to cover it with fancy cup-cakey things.
We went to a small Antique fair locally on Saturday and I found these little desirables.
(The fair was in Thirsk, Carmen!!)
I spotted a card with Mother of Pearl buttons, it's tricky to see here but they quite irregular shapes - it would be hard to find a matching pair.
Some are not quite round, others have their holes drilled haphazardly - nice!!
Then there are three bone thread winders.
These are quite difficult to find now so I was lucky to spot them.
And finally a length of hand made lace.
Have you remembered that I am going to classes to make stained glass?
Last time I showed a little bird I had made.
I showed it in close-up because I was really quite proud of it.
Well, after the pride cometh the fall.
The next practice piece?
A small box.
And this is as close as you are going to get to it!
I have a spare copy of this year's Halloween issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine.
If you are in the UK and would like it, the cost is £3.95 for the book and £1-15 postage.
(This is the actual cost, I don't want to make money on the deal.)
If you are quick, and I am quick and you are quick, you could easily make a little ornament
before the kids come a-knocking.
(I am saying UK because it is more widely available in the US)

Thank you so much to the new followers who have joined me here, and for your lovely comments.

Love Irene xxx

Friday, 7 October 2011

A pot pourri of really interesting stuff!!!!

Now I'm not that keen on ivy, because it is slowly taking over my garden.
However, right now I am more than happy to have it creeping over the garden wall because it is attracting these beautiful butterflies. I counted at least twenty enjoying the early Autumn warmth.
Are they Red Admirals, or Peacocks?
Mmmm - don't know but they are a joy.
I recently told you of my lucky win from Marly over at Samplers and Santas. She generously gave away some bundles of fabric and I won one.
As a small thank you I stitched her this, one of my favourite small designs and personalised it for her by stitching her initial in red. It is a La D Dah freebie, Alphabet and Hare.
It is edged in beads along with a bead hanger but they are tricky to see here.
OK, this little birdie doesn't look much - a bit wobbly - a bit uneven - a bit crude.
But I made it.
I have started classes for making stained leaded glass and after two weeks (4 hours) of lessons I produced this.
Because newbies are notoriously clumsy and coloured glass is ridiculously expensive, we had to make this first project from clear glass and it was difficult to photograph (I think that is my bosom encased in white on the wing!) but here she is.
Another craft now - knitting. You can tell I am retired can't you?
When I was teaching I barely had the energy to crawl upstairs to bed, but now - stitching with one hand, glass making with other, knitting with the ......... er feet???
Anyway, one pair of socks completed, one sock from another pair also completed.
Cool colours eh?
For a little variation, I ribbed all the way down the front of the blue sock.
As you can see, they are knitted on four needles using Regia wool and their free easy peasy pattern

Now - not quite so successful was my foray into ageing pieces for a primitive look.
Carmen at Cardan antiques and Needlework sent me lots of stuff to get me started and last night Anne, my stitching friend, and I, had a go. We made up different strength solutions of walnut crystals and coffee and experimented with various types and colours of linen.

As you can see.

But, mostly it just looked as though we had mistakenly spilt coffee on it.

It did not have that 'I was used by your great great grandmother during the long hard snow-bound winters in that single room log cabin. On the mountain top. Cut off from all hope of rescue.
Isolated. Making do and mending.
Wondering what her husband would say when he returned from hunting to find all his clothes had been patch worked during idle moments.

Oh for goodness sake, get a grip Irene!

I'm sorry, back to the sewing.
In the end we aged the stitching we had prepared and this is the result
We were only sort of satisfied as this only worked when we followed this somewhat time-consuming procedure.
We crumpled, we dipped, we squeezed, we held.
We dipped, we squeezed, we held, we baked.
We ironed on the right side ( hush my mouth!)
And we got this faint crackling finish.
I am sure Carmen will take me in hand soon and success will be mine.

Finally, as a reward for those who ploughed through this nonsense, here is my lovely Meghan.

Oh - I forgot to mention something.
Have you ever googled your own name?
I did, ages ago.
I googled my single name and discovered that there was a pioneer woman, with my name, who traveled West across America in a wagon train and taught English in a pioneer settlement.
She wrote a book about her experiences and I have the book!
By the way, I was a teacher with responsibility for the teaching of English in my school.

Bet that's why I know about log cabins and stay-away 'I was on a hunting trip, honest' husbands.

Love to all, Irene xxx
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Thursday, 15 September 2011

A posting - finally!

I honestly don't know where the time goes to. I just don't know. It is a month since my last posting.
What have I done in that time?
Not a lot.
Acquired stash?
Well, obviously that goes without saying.
Here is some of it.
I have kitted up BBD Enchanted Raven and Silver Creek's Dandy Dreams.
I think I may start with Dandy Dreams as it could become a Christmas present.
If I can bare to part with it.
Which I won't!
So maybe it will be bath salts again this year!
(Pretending it might be a Chrissy present just eased my conscience as I pressed the 'Proceed with order' button)
Then a generous blogger was having a little stash sale and I bought this variety of small linen pieces which will be yummy for ornaments, which I may well give as gifts.
(Conscience eased again)
And also, from the web, three pairs of spotty scissors.

One in pink, one in blue
and one in green
which I gave away to Anne.
Ah ah, you thought I couldn't count didn't you?

And whilst on holiday I found a little needlework shop and bought the bobbin box which is just right for holding my spools of Nymo thread.
Nymo is a beading thread which is perfect when making up ornaments. I use it to stitch the back stitch border, to whip the sides together and then to attach the beads. It is very strong and doesn't easily fray or break.

And I did a titchy, titchy, tiny amount of stitching.
This little sampler is again for my mum's friend and comes from a book I have had for ages
by Brenda Keyes.
I promised her three and this is the third, but I may do just one more.
This is the first of this year's Christmas ornaments.
Not that I am late starting!
What happened to all those one a month promises?
It is from 2002 JCS Christmas Ornaments issue (recently acquired) and is called Chloe's First Christmas by Homespun Elegance.
This one, when finished (!!!) will be for my mum.
This is freebie by Pineberry Lane.
Carmen from is encouraging me to try some primitive finishing.
She is very kindly sending me some walnut crystals and advice about sprinkling and spraying and baking.
Scary stuff!
So I have stitched this little pinkeep-to-be in preparation.
Don't ask me why the letter 'R' is a different blue. It came from the same skein and didn't look any different as I stitched. is my thinking.
A pioneer woman, bumping along on her conestoga, journeying along the Wyoming trail, in search if a better life for her and her family, deserted by her gun-toting husband, could EASILY have run out of one blue, and not having a LNS close by, and desperate to have a receptacle for her pins which are scattered around the wagon in danger of falling into the sourdough, would have stitched with the closest blue thread she had.
Well, it works for me.
I'm leaving it!!
Thank you to my followers old and new. I really enjoy your comments.
Love Irene xxx

Friday, 19 August 2011

Mary Garry - A Milkpaint sampler

Well...this started off as Mary Garry's Milkpaint Sampler, but then, like Topsy 'it just growed'
I am sorry the pictures are so faint and pathetic. The original was not exactly Sunset Strip, but it was a bit brighter than this.
The original was one of a series called 'Remember the Ladies' and should have been stitched in Kreinik silk Mori milkpaint colours - but I didn't have any of those so I just picked from what I had - this is a mixture of GAST, WDW and HDF ( times were when a list of initials like this would have meant nothing to me, but hey - look at me now!)

Also the two designs - the alphabet and the Quaker bit were side by side to be finished as a thread / needle keep, but I sat them above each other.

And - there was a little lady stitching - but I missed her out and a house and a couple of trees - but I didn't do those either!
Instead I charted this cottage - which is so like the real one you wouldn't believe and is where the recipient of the sampler lives. It is an ancient cottage in a small North Yorkshire village next to a very pretty river. Lucky her!

It is the same friend of my mum's that I gave the little sampler to in the previous post. I have decided to stitch a small group for her to hang together in the hall of this lovely place.

I left a light on too. I like to do that.

Not such a marathon to read this time. 

My computer has recently upgraded and now works on steam power
rather than the small and easily tired animals running on a wheel which I had previously.

However there was no water in the boiler this morning and posting has taken an age and quite a lot of money has dropped into the swear box.

Love Irene xxx
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Friday, 5 August 2011

Such generosity is astounding.

Sometimes I am honestly amazed at the generosity of cross stitch bloggers.
They do Random Acts of Kindness, Pay it Forwards, Give-aways, competitions.

And the support I have seen for people going through difficult times is second to none.
Hundreds of bloggers respond with kind words and hugs and prayers.

A couple of weeks ago, I put my name down on a couple of blogs that had give-aways.
In fact they were two blogs I had found in my meanderings and had liked and chosen to follow anyway.
You know how it is, you never expect to win, but you check back anyway.

Marly was offering some stash for the cost of postage.
I know!!!
She had 4 or 5 bundles of linen with extras.

And I won a bundle!!
I know!!!

How she managed to pack so much stuff into one small box is beyond me, but she did, she packed it to the gunnels and this is what arrived - across the mighty ocean- to me.

 Big, beautiful pieces of 28 count linen in lovely shades, ribbon, threads, beads and a Mill Hill kit with perforated paper and lovely strawberry buttons.
She did all that, gave all that away, to me - a total stranger.
Tell her how wonderful she is!
And then look at this little sweetie!!
Again another new-found blog.
Carmen ( was offering one of these luscious little velveteen carrots
( for a velveteen rabbit?)
and I won.
Well, actually, that might not be strictly true. Because Carmen, in her amazedness, decided that as only 10 people had entered, she would make carrots for everyone.
Again, she happily shipped here to me in the UK

I know!!!

You see - the generosity of people is truly astounding.

I thought I would share with you a bit stitching!
Do you remember the Ellen Chester needleroll from my last blog?
Well this is the inner piece.

It was a nightmare!

It involved counting.

Beyond 4.

Up to 33 sometimes!

The border is Nun's Stitch as it will be trimmed back to there.
The dividing lines are herringbone and over one cross stitch for the words.
And finally......

(well done if you got this far)

..........and finally

A small sampler for a friend of my mum's.
Those are her initials at the bottom.
I am going to stitch another couple of small samplers for her to hang as a group in her cottage.

This one I saw on Marlene's blog (the above Samplers and Santas)
and when I asked her about it she attached it to an e-mail for me.
As kind as ever.

It is, I think, a shop freebie, from Margaret and Margaret Inc.
I changed the verse to 'reap' and 'sow'
rather than 'rend' and 'sew'

Well - even I have had enough of this now!

Thank you so much again for your comments and hello to new followers.
I don't post often, but when I do I try to give you your money's worth!!

Irene xxx

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Oooo - lots of pictures

Mmmm - lots of pictures of UNFINISHED projects!

In fact the the little box above is the only finished project in this whole posting
- and I didn't stitch it!
Anne ( my stitching buddy) was wanting to make a top for a wooden box and tried this out first.
It was just a bit too small so she made it up into this little tusal box
and gave it me. Yeh!!!
It sits wobble-free on the arm of my chair and graciously accepts the trifles I offer.
Thank you again Anne.
Now for my unfinished stuff.

This is the needle roll from the 'Fruits of the Vine' huswif I took as a class with Ellen Chester at Fobbles this year.
The path to hell is paved with good intentions - as we know - so in spite of determining to just get on with it, for some reason I didn't pick it up again until last week.

At the class, we were taught the speciality stitches that make up the beige bars that divide up the roll, and I managed to count and complete all of mine at the time.
They are difficult to see, but I stitched plaited cross, barrier, zigzag, Belgian cross, closed herringbone, Montenegrin, queen,mosaic, Smyrna, Rhodes octagon etc etc.

So all I needed to do was to fill the intervening spaces with alphabets and birds and grapes.

As I worked it, it was so pleasurable that I couldn't imagine why I hadn't done it before.
Again there was just enough variety in the stitches and colours and design to drive me on to the next band each time.
Ellen's instructions are so thorough and her stitch diagrams so clear that it was like having her there next to me.
Now I need to complete the needle roll by lining it!!!

This is another part of the huswif. It is one side of the scissor weight and it's tiny as you can see - just over an inch.
The bird's breast and the grapes are finished over one with tent stitch and the border is closed herringbone and then a line of back stitch.
This is my final unfinished piece.
It is from the monochromatic seasons series by Little House Needleworks.
I worked it over one with a variegated thread the name of which I can't remember - maybe Ocean Breeze??
I thnk I might take inspiration from Anne and finish this as a little box for mu mum to pop her rings into before bed.i

Anyway - that's it - almost.

I just want to congratulate my nephews on their academic achievements this year. Well, I say this year, but they have both worked very hard for several years. The whole family are so proud of then.

Toby gained his Masters degree this year following his Bachelor's degree in Linguistics at Lancaster University. He is now a journalist.
His girlfriend Victoria has graduated with a Master's degree too.
She has just started a new post in Public Relations after being a magazine features writer.

Perry graduates tomorrow with a First Class degree in Mathematics.
He begins work in September with a highly regarded global accountancy firm.

Personally I think they are changeling children and one day a professor is going to come and claim them back.
But until then - very many congratulations to you all.
You deserve the very best things life can offer you.

Thanks for getting through this long post, and welcome to my new followers, I am honoured that you have added your name to my blog.

Love Irene xxx

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

It arrived. Yay!!!!

Obviously, all my peevish wittering and admonishments yesterday worked, as the parcel finally arrived with April.

She e-mailed to say how pleased she was with it and will post on her blog as soon as she is able.

What a relief.

Thank you so much for all your encouraging comments. I felt so much better knowing you felt my pain!!!

Honestly - I am so grateful that at the moment the worst of my worries is whether a bit of sewing arrived at its destination. Other people have so much more on their minds.

Irene xxx

Monday, 11 July 2011

Publish and be damned!!

I know, too dramatic.

But I mailed off my Blackbird Designs exchange gift to America on June 16th - that was 25 days ago - and it seems not to have arrived with its intended recipient.

I wrote to her a week ago but as yet have received no reply so I have decided to post the project here anyway,
if only to prove that I did keep my end of the bargain.
I have always wanted to make one of these little pumpkin style pin cushions so chose this one, BBD 'Summer House' as my project.  
I really, really liked it when finished and was reluctant to part with it anyway - oh alright - it had to be prised from my sticky little fingers -but then it doesn't even arrive!!
I used a 32 count linen and two HDF colours of my own choosing.
I finished the back with this checked cotton fabric and pulled in the cushion with perle thread, using two vintage mother-of-pearl button to finish.

I even left a light on in the window of the work room!

Perhaps this lonely little light is shining still in a dim corner of some distant post room.
If  so, come on Postie, get it sorted!

I have some other stitching to share, especially my Ellen Chester needle roll which is one part of the major Fruits of the Vine project, stitched but not yet finished.
(The needle roll is stitched, not the whole huswif!)
I'll do that soon.

I am off to lunch today with an old friend who is here from her home in Qatar. We will talk so much the food may well go cold.

Happy days,
Love Irene xxx