Last of the Crazy 7 starts

Oh my goodness I’ve had so much fun starting all these new projects, it’s been great – I almost wish I’d signed up for a crazy 15 somewhere (not sure if anyone is doing those anymore)! Oh well there are still a bunch of new starts yet to come so I’ll probably end up with lots more starts before the month is up!!  In the meantime here are the final two of my Crazy 7 starts:

   
 

Back to work again

And along with going back to work means back to minimal stitching time again … but I’ve forced myself to keep up with my Crazy 7 starts and other SALs so far – it feels great, and I’m going to have some awesome projects to work on this year! :D  My latest updates, of which there are very few stitches in each one are as follows:

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Only two more projects of the Crazy 7 left to go, but still about 5-6 more SALs due before the end of the month – then I get to choose a couple of projects to focus on for a while … I wonder which ones will get stitched soon?  I’ve already got an inkling of at least one of the projects, as I didn’t want to put it down the day I was stitching it – but then again, I know I change my stitching mind like the weather, so I’ll wait and see how I feel at the end of all the new starts!  I can’t wait!! :D

Crazy 7 Challenge & First finish of 2016

Well so far the year has started really well – I had a last minute invitation to a New Year’s Eve party very close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge with friends up from Melbourne. It gave a great chance to get up close and personal with the awesome fireworks display … Sadly the friends are moving shortly so it’ll be the last time – but it was a really great way to kick off the new year getting to bed finally at 4.30am!

   
 
I was feeling decidedly seedy on the morning trip home so opted to walk a couple of extra kilometres instead of catching the bus – it gave me some much needed fresh air and exercise and I enjoyed the beach walk immensely :)

   
 
Then in between sleeping the day away I managed to kick start my stitching plans and achieved very small starts on all my projects:

First up the Mirabilia SAL:

  
Then the first 3 days of the Crazy 7 (7 new starts in 7 days):

   
   
I also started my first Christmas ornament for an ornie SAL on 1 Jan then finished it off today for my first finish of the year. 

  
“Beyond Cross Stitch – Level Three – Blackwork” by The Victoria Sampler

Sadly it’s back to work again tomorrow so my stitching will no doubt slow up again – but I want to get back into the habit of stitching most days/nights even if it’s just for a few minutes. Having some gorgeous new projects to work on will keep the motivation up I think :)

2015 Recap & 2016 Stitching Goals

Well my stitching finishes in 2015 were pretty paltry in comparison to other years, but I’m still proud that I managed as much as I did considering the exhausting year I’ve had at work etc.  Here they are all together (with the exception of one last finish coming tomorrow!):

I have a HUGE list of stitch-a-longs and challenges I want to join in 2016 – I have no real intention of actually FINISHING any of the SAL projects during 2016, but I hope to get a decent rotation happening again where I can give each piece a bit of love and dedication throughout the year.  Here is the planned list:

  • 1 Jan – Mirabilia SAL – my choice is Bluebeard’s Princess, which I’ve had kitted up for a couple of years now, the only problem is I can’t decide on the fabric … I guess I’d better make a decision over the next 24 hours or so!
  • 1 Jan – Ornament SAL (12 months) – my choice to kick this SAL off is Victoria Sampler’s Blackwork #3-4 … other ones throughout the year are ones that I already have the fabric cut up and ready for stitching.
  • 1 Jan – JCS 2015 Ornament Issue SAL (12 months) – The chosen design will be the most voted for design from each double page spread throughout the year.
  • 1 Jan to 7 Jan – Crazy 7 SAL – I haven’t decided 100% on all of my choices yet (or even if I’ll definitely do this challenge).  I have a couple of large projects I definitely want to include, but also wanted to have some smaller ones too, which would give me more of a chance to actually finish one of them during the year!  So far my choices aren’t looking too small though!:
    1 Jan – Lizzie*Kate’s Christmas flip-its
    2 Jan – Rosewood Manor’s Quaker Diamonds
    3 Jan – Shepherd’s Bush’s Here We Go A Haunting
    4 Jan – Mirabilia’s Christmas Elf Fairy
    5 Jan – CCN’s The Tea Room
    6 Jan – Shepherd’s Bush’s Finch Song
    7 Jan – Either Country Threads’ Paris kit, or Mill Hill’s Haunted Hotel
  • 10 Jan – Dimensions SAL – my choice is Weekend a Paris
  • 10 Jan – Teatime Stitchers SAL – we have a choice of 3 freebies charts, so I’ll be stitching on of the pansy freebies for this round
  • 12 Jan – Christmas Stocking SAL – I have a Dimensions kit Enchanted Ornament Christmas Stocking that I’ll be starting, but don’t hold out much hope of having it in use for 2016, maybe 2017 all going well!
  • 13 Jan – HAED SAL – I’m still dithering over which one to stitch – I have a choice of three (originally it was two, but I just recently splurged on a piece that I’m totally in love with … and had to choose the maximum colours, so I think I’m a bit insane with that one!!).  My choices are either QS Iris, Blue Daisy, or His Way Home.
  • 14 Jan – Valentine’s Day SAL – Still deciding on a chart to use, but it’s like to be Bent Creek’s Bliss or the Drawn Thread’s Love fob.
  • 15 Jan – 2016 Hallowe’en Ornie SAL – There’s no actual start date for this one, but I figure the first two weeks of the year are horrendous for new starts, so I’ll start my ornie in the middle of the month!  The theme for January is Winged Creatures (bats, owls, crows, ravens etc), so I’m really looking forward to that one :)
  • 7 Feb – Country Cottage Needleworks SAL – No idea which one I’m going to decide on in the end, but it’s likely to be one of the beach/seaside designs.
  • 17 Feb – St Patrick’s Day SAL – A nice small one for me this time round, I think I’ll be stitching Bent Creek’s Leprechaun, or Victoria Sampler’s Ireland from the International Hearts series.
  • 27 Feb – Easter SAL – Another nice small one, I’m going to be stitching Bent Creek’s Happy Easter.
  • 26 Jul – Specialty Stitch SAL – I have so many projects to choose from, and this is so far in the future, I’ll see what I’m in the mood for closer to the time.

And just for my own amusement, here are the planned new starts in visual format (and means I’ll have a truckload of WIPs/UFOs for 2017 LOL):

November visit home & stitching finishes

In November it was my best friend’s birthday – she’d begged me to fly over for the occasion, and after selling my shares and having a wee bit of a windfall I managed to get there for the big day.  It was wonderful hanging out for a few days with my bestie at her home just outside Nelson – we’ve been best friends since we were 10 years old, and even though we rarely stay in touch these days with visits and phone calls, it feels like the years disappear when we do manage to catch up again.  I love her dearly.  Here’s a photo of the two of us with her (and my adopted) Mum, Doreen.  That’s one huge piece of my childhood history in that one photo! :D

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In November I also FINALLY finished my wedding gift for my dear friend Elie and his bride Caroline … their wedding was in 2012, so it was only three years {{cough}} overdue!! ;)  While I’m not 100% happy with it, Elie adored it when I gave it to him (but unfortunately forgot to snap a photo of it framed).  This was a very personal gift, as Elie’s favourite author is Kahlil Gibran, so I chose some pieces of his work for the top two quotes.  The colour of the roses was to match the wedding invitation, and the bottom quote is directly from their wedding invite as well.  The Arabic wording means “a thousand blessings”, and as they are both Lebanese it was another bit of personalisation (I charted that up myself).  I have to admit, though, that I’m really glad this is one is finished now, and even more so that all the effort was appreciated by the groom :D  Sorry for the poor photos, for love nor money I couldn’t get a decent shot of it!

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Finally, I joined in a “Winter/Fall” Exchange with a Facebook group.  Following is the item them I sent to my exchange partner.  It’s been on my wishlist to stitch for myself, so I’ll definitely be doing this one again for me some time in the near future while the chart is still out … just need to decide on the fabric to use for my one.

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“Winter Needle Roll” by Heart in Hand Needleart
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Countrystitch (colour TBC)
using mostly recommended threads

A male work colleague flew home to NZ for a flying visit, and ended up in a charity shop of some sort – he came home with a couple of little treats for me as he knows I love to stitch … I was a bit gobsmacked at his kind thought, and think I’ll leave these in the desk drawer to do a spot of lunchtime stitching in the office in the New Year :)

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Over the last month or so I’ve also been taking part in a Facebook ingredient cooking challenge – it’s been great fun trying to find recipes for the weekly main ingredient, and it’s been giving me a lot more confidence getting back into cooking again.  That’s something I want to do a lot more of in 2016 – cooking from scratch!  I’ve always enjoyed cooking when I’m in the mood, and oh my goodness food tastes SO much better when it’s cooked from scratch … so 2016 will see my cooking progress continue as I do the weekly challenges, if nothing else!

And the last photo I’ll finish this post with is me dressed up for a bit of fun in the office – I dressed up in my old Christmas tree dress outfit and handed out sweets/lollies at work … including calling into my favourite coffee shop where I have a great laugh with one of the baristas (who’s in the photo – and the photo is his, so you can blame him for the caption on it! LOL).

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Where did the time go … again?

Life got in the way yet again … what with some longer working hours with unexpected projects, and just a general malaise really.  I certainly haven’t been spending my time stitching, although I have a few random spurts of stitching activity every now and then.

So much for my big SAL plans, I ended up foregoing most of my plans as I missed the starting dates … some because I didn’t have the right fabric (my own fault for not checking earlier), and some just because I didn’t get my act together to start on the given date.  I could’ve told porkies and posted a piccie in the group later and pretended I’d started on time, but that’s just not me.  Anyway out of all the SAL plans I actually managed to start two of them (oops) … it’s good to give myself a little chuckle, if nothing else, so here’s my progress!

25 Sep – HAED SAL – Didn’t start because life got in the way, even though it was all kitted up and ready to go, I just had to cut out the fabric and overlock the edges … never mind, there’s a new SAL starting in 2016 that I’ve signed up for instead :)

3 Oct – Mill Hill SAL – YIPPEE, this one I actually managed to start!! It’s been my stitching project for the last 3 months – only one more colour of beads to go and I’ll have a finish, my last finish for the year.  I stitched “Cappuccino” as my choice of project in the end.  Here’s a very blurry photo of what it looked like a couple of days ago, just as the beads were starting to get added.  This has been my stitching project while staying with friends over Christmas and Boxing Days … it’s oh so close to being finished now! :D

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15 Oct – Holiday Ornaments Galore SAL – Yep, another other I didn’t get organised for in time … but another one that is starting up again in the New Year that I’ve signed up for yippee :)

20 Oct – ‘Tis the Season to be Challenged (any of the 4 elements) – Sadly I didn’t have a big enough piece of fabric to stitch Mirabilia’s Deco Spirits, which is what I had my heart set on, and I couldn’t decide on fabric for the alternative choice, Dragon Dreams’ elemental dragons … so this one was another epic fail for me.  Oh well, I’ll stitch them one day.

1 Nov – Brooke’s Books Advent Animal Freebies SAL – Another one where I just didn’t get my act together, so didn’t start.

5 Nov – Chatelaine SAL – I didn’t have anything kitted up in the end, and couldn’t afford to do so, so just gave this one up as a bad job – maybe next year I’ll be able to splurge on a kit or two from European XS so I can start a couple of these later next year.  I have a major birthday coming up in February, so I just might treat myself for my birthday if I can :D

7 Nov – Rosewood Manor SAL – I had fabric ordered early for this one, but it got caught up at the Post Office with a mail mix-up – it’s still on my list to stitch this year, it just won’t be as part of a SAL.

12 Nov – L&L Celtic Ladies Series SAL – I flew to NZ for a holiday and forgot to kit this one up to take with me and start … but once again there’s another L&L SAL starting in the New Year, so I’ll have another attempt at starting her.

20 Nov – UFO SAL – As per the above, I wasn’t organised enough to take anything with me on holiday.

24 Nov – Christmas themed SAL – This one I managed to do, but keep forgetting to post a piccie in the group.  This is how it looked after a couple of stitching sessions:

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The rest of my SALs are yet to take place in the New Year … and there are LOTS of stitching starts planned for 2016 … let’s just hope I can do better than I’ve done in the latter part of 2015!!  I have to say I noticed that the odd night that I stitched for a few minutes in the evenings I slept like a log afterwards, so I need to continue doing that this year – even just 20 stitches a night is better than nothing, I reckon, and it’ll get be back into a good stitching habit again :)

So, what’s the stitching plans for 2016 – well, I think I’ll put those into a separate post, so I can refer back to it when I need reminding!!

 

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.
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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