Upcoming SALs & design choices

This is more for my own benefit, to come back and remind myself of my choices for the SALs – these are the ones I need to whittle down once I work out what I can kit up and what needs extra items … I want to stitch from stash as much as possible, so that’s a big deciding factor for me.

25 September 2015 – Heaven and Earth Designs SAL:

This one is easy, as I’ve already started it, but nothing worth photographing yet.  My chosen design is QS Iris.
HAED - QS Iris

3 October 2015 – Mill Hill Kit SAL:

I hate stitching on perforated paper, so my design choices will be made if I have some alternative fabric to substitute for the paper.  So far I have two already kitted ready to go, so that’ll probably be the decision factor, especially as the SAL starts really really soon.  The kitted up ones are Cappuccino and Haunted Hotel.

15 October 2015 – Holiday Ornaments Galore SAL:

No need to add piccies here, I’ll just be dipping into my kit box and dragging out any ornies that already have the fabric ready to go :)

20 October 2015 – ‘Tis the Season to be Challenged SAL:

This one is to stitch anything related to the four elements (Water, Fire, Air, Earth).  Here my choices are either Deco Spirits by Mirabilia or a freebie series of dragons by Dragon Dreams.  I always thought I’d do the dragons as a round robin, but seeing as I haven’t done a round robin for a couple of years, I think I might as well just do them myself.

1 November 2015 – Brooke’s Books Advent Animal Freebies SAL:

Once again, no decisions on the charts as they’re defined in the SAL.  This should be a fun one – just need to make sure I’ve got enough of a fabric to stitch the whole set!

5 November 2015 – Chatelaine Designs SAL:

This is probably one of the two hardest SALs to choose for me – once again, though, it will probably come down to which design I have the most items for it kitted up.  I’m not too keen on starting another really big mandala until my Egyptian Garden Mandala has been finished, so I’m thinking one of the smaller designs may be wiser for this SAL … but never say never … High up on my list, though, are the castle banners, the Paris ones, and the Greek Mandala … not to mention the peacock mandala and beaded tiles … see what I mean, I want to stitch everything!!! ;)

7 November 2015 – Rosewood Manor SAL:

This one is easy, I’m going to be stitching Quaker Diamonds.  I’ve been trawling through my fabric stash, though, and can’t decide on a decent replacement fabric, so I’ve just put in an order to Picture This Plus fabrics to get a piece of the fabric that it was designed for.  Yes, it’ll turn out bigger than I originally wanted (I was going to use a smaller count and use less strands of thread), but I adore the look of the stitched model.

12 November 2015 – L&L Celtic Ladies Series SAL:

My choices here are either Celtic Summer or a conversion of Celtic Autumn in blues.

20 November 2015 – UFO SAL:

I have oodles of UFOs still outstanding, so this one is going to be relatively easy – and it depends whether the UFO has to be cross stitch or not as to which I’ll be working on.  My main choice at this stage is the following:

24 November 2015 – Christmas Themed SAL:

My preference here is probably the Lizzie*Kate flip-its, however this is one of the few SALs that have a deadline, and I’m not too sure I’ll be able to meet it.  Will decide closer to the time, though …

1 January 2016 – Mirabilia SAL:

My 2nd hardest choice will be this group … I have so many Mirabilia designs that I really want to stitch, that it’ll be hard whittling it down.  Once again, I’ll have to see what I have the supplies for and work back from there …

7 February 2016 – Country Cottage Needleworks SAL:

I have oodles of their designs in my stash, but I’ve managed to whittle it down to the following eight:

Even though it seems really overwhelming, it’s not too bad … all of these can be started by just a few stitches on the given start dates, then they can be inserted into a rotation throughout the year to continue working on them.  Some will be quite quick stitches or will only take 2-3 rotations before they’re completed, others will take longer.  Either way, I’m looking forward to getting some of my stash kitted up and started … I need a few fun designs to keep my motivation with stitching up and running! :D

Latest stitching efforts (picture heavy)

As I mentioned in my first ‘return from the dead’ post last week, I’ve managed to do a spot of sporadic stitching here and there over recent months – often the sessions were weeks apart, and each spurt of stitching energy was short-lived.  Anyhow, here are the updates and the WIPs and finishes that happened while I’ve been away …

It seems I never showed the final finish of this piece, which I finished back at the end of January:

Autumn Leaves by The Prairie Schooler

“Autumn Leaves” by The Prairie Schooler
Finished 25 January 2015
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

Here’s one I managed to finish in June – which now means I’ve stitched everything in that particular leaflet.  I was going to on-sell it or use it as a trade chart, but think it may come in handy for any future exchanges that I do, I think some of these squares are really cute:


“Autumn Leaves” by The Prairie Schooler
Finished around 14 June 2015
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

At some point I decided a change of pace was in order, and I picked up a canvaswork project to stitch on.  This was my next finished piece, finishing it in early July – and one of the first times in ages I truly enjoyed my stitching experience, even with all the metallic ribbons!  Unfortunately I had run out of the turquoise ribbon, or it would have been finished much sooner!

Navajo by Northern Pine Designs

“Navajo by Northern Pine Designs”
Finished on 5 July 2015
Stitched on 18ct eggshell mono canvas
with recommended threads

Next up are all the current works in progress … I’ve just signed up to a bunch of other stitch-alongs in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, so there will soon be a pile more WIPs added to the pile – I’ve chosen SALs where I already have a project that is high up on my to-do list, so it’s motivating me to start stitching them.  Anyway, in the meantime here are the current WIPs:

“Flight of the Bumblebees” by Ruth Schmuff – this one is a very old UFO that I’ve started making a conscious effort to get finished.  Unfortunately, as per my normal luck, I’ve run out of one of the gold metallic braids, so I’m waiting for a stash parcel to arrive with the replacement (I had a splurge a month ago to finish kitting up some other charts that were missing threads).  I”m pretty pleased with how this one is going, though, and it doesn’t have too much more to go before it’s finished.

Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff

“Blue Birds” by Laura J Perin – While I was on a ‘canvaswork roll’, I decided to drag out a freebie from Laura J Perin I’ve had sitting in my stash for many years.  Sadly, though, I ran out of the navy Pebbly Perle that was used around the border, so once again another design sits unfinished.  A wonderful fellow stitcher, though, came to my rescue quickly and sent me a card of the thread I need.  As soon as I find my card of blue Tiara thread, which has apparently gone into hiding, I’ll be able to finish this one off pretty quickly.  I just LOVE the colours of this one!  If anyone is interested, the chart is still available for download at the Rainbow Gallery site.

Blue Birds by Laura J Perin

Wedding Sampler for Elie – This is a self-designed wedding sampler that I’m stitching for a close male friend.  I struggled the whole way with this one, so I haven’t pulled my finger out and started it, and the wedding was nearly 3 years ago!!  I’m still not 100% with the fabric and thread choice, but I’ve decided in this case I’m my own worst critic, and I should just continue on with it.  I think the groom will love it regardless of how it looks – the contents of the sampler are very personal to him, so hopefully it will be treasured.  I’ve shown a picture of what the whole thing will look like once it’s finished.  The photo isn’t very good at all, the fabric is a buttery creamy colour.

Elie's wedding sampler

Elie's wedding sampler

“Halloween Mystery Sampler” by Lizzie*Kate – This one was a gift from my Mum for Christmas when the designs were first released.  I also purchased the Tin Roof fabric that was recommended for this one, but really didn’t like it at all, so it sat in a box for ages while I found something else.  I’m still not 100% with this choice either, but I certainly like it a lot better than the Tin Roof one!  I started this one as part of a Sampler SAL, and really enjoying stitching it!

Halloween Mystery Sampler by Lizzie*Kate

“Quaker Christmas II – Songs of the Season” by ByGone Stitches – This is another one I’m really struggling with, as I can’t stand the fabric I chose to stitch it on.  It’s on a 35ct Weeks Dye Works fabric, and it’s just dreadful – it feels like I’m stitching on an old rag!  Anyway, the chart itself is at least enjoyable to work on, I just need to forget about the immense size of this one and keep focusing on one motif at a time.  I haven’t worked on it for well over a year, then when Mum came to visit a month or so ago I sat and stitched on it while we were both sick and watching TV all day.  It was a good design to work on when you didn’t have to concentrate too much!  I actually managed to do a lot more than I thought I had … I’m now almost 3 pages down, and only about 12 left to go … haha.

Quaker Christmas II - Songs of the Season by ByGone Stitches

As to what’s coming up next, there are a lot of decisions to be made … lots of SALs and lots of designs to choose from that will fit within each SAL – some decisions are going to be easier than others, that’s for sure!  I’ll do a separate post for my own sake so that I can refer back to it and help myself choose closer to the start times!  But I’ll also be continuing to work on these as well, as all my SALs chosen don’t have set finish dates … that means I can easily slot them into my rotation along with these other projects as well :)

2017 Travel Plans & a Windfall

All my hard work this last year seems to have paid off and I received a small wee windfall as a bonus this week.  It’s actually enough to pay the remainder of my car loan off, which is absolutely amazing!  It’s also let me have a couple of decent treats … one of them stitching related.

My TiVo has been playing up something terrible over recent months, and I’ve spent a bit of money on it trying to replace the WiFi connector etc … I’ve almost missed lots of shows over the month or two because it hasn’t taped them … so my first treat to myself is to buy a new Panasonic DVR.  As the TiVo doesn’t appear to be greatly supported anymore (I couldn’t even replace the remote when it broke the other month), I’ve decided not to spend any more money on it.  So, DVR is now ordered and will hopefully be ready for pick-up when I get to work on Monday.  That means when my TiVo packs a sad again next time I’ll be prepared with a back-up!  Plus in the meantime while it’s still working it means I can tape extra shows that I would normally have to miss out on – woohoo!

Treat number two is a trip home to NZ to fly to Nelson for my best friend’s 50th birthday.  She pretty much begged me recently on FB to come over, so that was the first thing the money is going on (even before the car loan).  I was already thinking of surprising her by turning up on the doorstep on her birthday, but I’ve ended up letting the cat out of the bag and telling her I’m coming.  She’s been so down lately, I thought that news would help spur her on and pick her spirits up a bit.

That leaves the final big treat … I’ve put down a deposit on the 2017 Victoria Sampler Retreat in Victoria, BC.  It’s great that I get to save up over the next year for the remainder of the retreat costs, and really have a full 18 months to get some spending money together for the trip.  I received ‘airline tickets’ from work for my 15 years of services last month, which means I can use that to get to Los Angeles – I just have to pay for the airport and service fees/taxes.  It means I’ll also get to meet up with some family and friends.  I haven’t met many of my Canadian family (which is Dad’s side of the family – they emigrated to Canada before we emigrated to NZ) so it would be great to meet them – plus I would also get to meet my Northern Twin, one of my closest pals here in the stitching community.

Sadly that has now spent all my wee bonus even without a stitching stash splurge … but seeing as I’ll now be just over $600 better off every month with the car loan paid off, I think I just may have to splurge on a big order when my next pay day rolls around :D  I’ve got plenty of charts etc, so I’m thinking a bit thread order would be awesome to get some of my wonderful projects kitted up and ready to be stitched … especially my canvaswork charts and perhaps a Chatelaine!  Ooooh, bring on payday!! :D

Hallowe’en Ornie SAL catch-up (well halfway, anyway)

Halloween ornie SAL

I’ve been absent without leave for quite some time yet again – work pressures finally got to me to the point I wasn’t stitching, or even living well if truth be told.  Some changes at work have seen the last few weeks a lot more stress-free, so much so that I’ve been back stitching once again … and finally enjoying it.  The thing that has got me back into loving stitching (aside from being stress-free) has been doing some Halloween stitching … and catching up a bit on my ornie stitching backlog.  Following are the results of my endeavours until now (I still have to do the June and July ones yet).

September – “Spooky Words”:

Boo by Lizzie*Kate

“Boo” (from “Boo Hiss Eek”) by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast
with a mix of threads (GAST, Carrie’s Threads, DMC)

August – theme “Black Cats”:

Black Cat (Boo to You) by The Prairie Schooler

Black Cat (from “Boo to You”) by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 30ct Guacamole Weeks Dye Works linen
with recommended DMC threads

May – theme “Pumpkins”:

Eek by Lizzie*Kate

“Eek” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast
with recommended threads

I’ve done a few other bits and pieces since April as well, even though my stitching has been a bit sporadic – plus I see I forgot to schedule publish my last Smalls SAL piece, so I’ll create a new post later in the week to capture the rest of my stitching news.

Halloween SAL – April

Halloween ornie SAL

This is my choice for April’s theme of “tombstones”.  I didn’t have the recommended fabric or threads, so I substituted … well … basically, everything!  I think it turned out OK :)


“Not Forgotted” by Plum Street Samplers
Stitched on 36ct Moon Shadows hand-dyed linen by Stitches and Spice
with a mix of various brands of silk:
Belle Soie – Noir
Caron Collection Waterlilies – Gingersnap
Silk ‘n’ Colors – English Ironstone
Silk ‘n’ Colors – Olive Branch

Missing in action: 1 stitching mojo!

It seems my mojo has well and truly taken a hike over the last few months … since my last finish, I haven’t touched a needle for a few weeks … although I finally took a day out recently to remind myself how much fun stitching is when I attempt it!  I’ve been very behind with my Hallowe’en SAL, so I had the perfect designs put to one side to get up-to-date once again … and it was pretty simple stitching so I didn’t have to think too much!

Halloween ornie SAL

Anyway,without further ado here are my SAL pieces for February (skeletons theme) and March (owls theme) – both designs are by The Prairie Schooler.  The design states to stitch on Lambswool linen, but I found a piece of 30ct WDW Guacamole recently that I should would be good to use instead (it also meant I could be lazy and leave the background of the skeleton unfilled, win-win!!).


Then on the weekend I started my Smalls SAL piece, and managed to put the final stitches into it while watching TV tonight.  I’ll wait, though, and schedule a post with the finish piccie and details in it for the official SAL reveal day in a week’s time.

That’s the sum total of my stitching, though, for the last month or so … fingers crossed next month will see an improvement! :)

One really exciting thing that happened a couple of weeks ago, though, was that my Mum came to visit unexpectedly.  I won two tickets to the opening night of Les Misérables in Sydney – I found out on the morning of the show the people I’d invited to go with me had decided to turn down the offer … chatting to Mum she said she’d love to come.  I jokingly told her to jump on a plane and come over.  Well, she totally surprised me by saying OK what time do the flights go?  It turns out she had 15 minutes to leave home and get to the airport – and she totally blew me away by actually going through with it!  She pretty much rocked up in the clothes she was wearing and one change of clothes in her carry-on bag … I was in shock all weekend that she was actually in Sydney visiting me!  I took a day off work on the Monday and we had a lovely long weekend together.  I’m pretty much resigned to the fact it’s unlikely she’ll visit me in Aussie very often anymore (she even took her toilet bag home this visit, which she’s always left here, so that’s a sign in itself) … so it was very special to have her here, and I made sure to make the most of it.  She arrived in Sydney with about an hour to spare before having to leave for the show – we had a really wonderful night out, it was one of those nights that amazing memories are made of!

Les Mis

Then on the Sunday I dragged her out again and we drove over to the Hunter Valley for the day … then we finished the weekend travelling by having a lovely picnic out at Audley Village in the Royal National Park.  All-in-all it was an exceptional few days spent with my favourite person in the world … it really doesn’t get any better than that! :D