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The title of this post says it all. This year I will mostly be finishing my list of W.I.P.s! I’ve created a schedule and I aim to keep my creative ideas well organised in the future to stop this madness of starting multiple projects when it feels just as good to get stuff done as it does to start something new! So to begin . . .

 

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I finally finished my kitty cushion that I’d started probably a couple of years ago. Its all cross-stitched and once I’d gotten into the swing of it, I really enjoyed it and think its turned out just marvellous. I can see myself doing another one in the future once the W.I.P. list is complete.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’ve got myself organised using a planner and am very pleased to say it is still in use! I’m usually a little flaky when it comes to things like this, it could be the use of stickers and brightly coloured felt tips or perhaps the decorative washi tape but I am enjoying the use of the life planner and all its vibrant delight . .

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My planner is a Mid-year one so it will be running out this July. I’ve already begun to wonder what to do when it runs out as the one I’m using at the moment doesn’t have the capacity to refill with blank pages. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting an Erin Condren life planner but using my simple one from Paperchase I’m just wondering if I can’t customise one all by myself! It would be nice to really use my own ideas for the covers and inserts .Hmm.

The next project I have on the go is a woven friendship bracelet/bookmark which I was supposed to finish last July for my friends graduation, alas, I got side-tracked, probably with all my other W.I.Ps so this is the one I’ve been concentrating on next. . .

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It’s quite a complex pattern (found on Pinterest) so there’s no wonder its taken me this long! but this is one of those little hobbies I’ve picked up and could be quite addictive. I’ve also recently started using Instagram you can find me at anji85 where I’ll be posting regular doings from my little corner of the world. I’ve also invested in a new computer and hopefully will find blogging more accessible.

Since joining the world of Instagram I came across a hashtag which immediately caught my attention #1yearofstitches. This is where you take a blank canvas and sew something on each day of the year. What a brilliant idea! and what a brilliant way to catalogue and exhibit ones day to day life! so naturally I had to start one! I was dubious at first because I’ve been strict with myself about starting new projects, but as it was the end of the year I decided to go for it so here’s a little snap shot of my year so far . . .

 

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As I’m sure all the other stitchers out there know it is almost impossible to sit down every single day to get one done, so I’m a couple of days behind but I have done a picture for every day. I must say its jolly good fun thinking up things to put on. My life isn’t what you would call exciting! but I’ve got a lot of interest in different things. The elephant represents the new babys at Chester Zoo, which me and the bf were fortunate enough to visit last year which I desperately need to post about but it will be a monster of a post so it will have to wait just a little longer. Tilikum the Orca from SeaWorld is also featured after he passed away this year (If you haven’t watched the documentary Blackfish I urge you to do so, though it isn’t for the faint hearted).

I suppose I’ve made a mistake putting my year of stitches on this post as it quite obviously wont be finished until the end of the year but I kind of like knowing its just one day at a time. I feel more driven, more motivated than ever to get myself moving, and if I stick to the plan I know I can achieve, perhaps not great things, but damn good things. 🙂

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Blankety goodness.

Hi guys and gals! I’ve been deep in the blankety goodness just recently, the air is starting to turn chill and I’ve been hooking away at the old popcorn stitch in the top left corner, and its been nice to see the other two put to good use again as the nights turn chilly. With summer fading away and another glorious season just beginning the garden was perked up a bit by my washing line wonders…

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They look so pretty hanging there and wash remarkably well and I can’t wait to add to the collection. Summer was great for me and though I didn’t take my camera with me to Whitby this year we did take the niblings (nieces and nephews) to the seaside at Bridlington, which in the heat was almost like being abroad. The sky was cloudless and the sea was caribbean  blue and it was such a wonderful day.

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The little ones played on the beach and in the surf and little toes felt the North Sea for the first time.

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As anyone who reads this blog will know I love the sea and I was having the time of my life with the little ones taking buckets of water to our little moat and sand castles, jumping the waves with them, playing football and picnicking on fish and chips. What a memorable day it was.

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One of my friends kindly loaned me her camera as I am in between devices at the moment but as you can see the zoom on hers is quite something, this pirate ship was quite far out to sea, we had quite a bit of fun waving at the passengers! I’m hoping to get to the coast again before winter so watch this space!

Back home I’ve been busy trying to complete my list of jobs to do and have managed to finally complete another baby blanket I was working on, the nautical coloured stripes remind me of the seaside so much I’m thinking of making a single bed sized one for our spare room.

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As I said, I’ve been deep in the blankety goodness and hope to continue whilst Autumn sets in.

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I absolutely loved these bright colours and the wool was beautiful to work with, it was Milla Mia for you yarn lovers and I just did the stripes randomly. I can’t believe I’m about to say it but I actually didn’t mind sewing in the ends for this one, whether because I was just determined to get it finished or I loved the colours that much I can’t say. It was a joy to hook up.

In between the happy hooky I did a little baking and made for the first time ever, my own homemade Quiche!

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The one on the left is bacon and mushroom and the one on the right is cheese and broccoli and I didn’t think they were too bad for my first attempt. Also culinary herbs have been a focus in my house recently as I’m sad to report all my little bonsai saplings failed 😦 Feeling like a total green fingered failure I planted some herbs, knowing that I’ve grown them before and being more determined than ever. The result is pleasing.

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It took two attempts for me to get the coriander and parsley to grow, I probably tried planting them too late in the year but they are coming along, and the beauteous basil already needs re-potting, something high on my to-do list. I think once they’re in bigger pots I can start to use them for cooking. I am quite pleased with the way they’ve taken off. I may attempt not to kill another houseplant soon.

Other goings on in my house have been craft related. I had been trawling the internet and once you see something that catches your eye you can’t seem to get it out of your head. I had spotted the soap making community! and oh those gorgeous pictures of stacks and stacks of chunky pretty soap that looked good enough to eat! Here’s just a taste of the things that got me inspired.

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I defy anyone to look up homemade soap and not want to give it a try. For my attempt I started with a simple glycerine soap base and followed the instructions.

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Chopping up the soap was quite satisfying, and your left with lovely icecube-like blocks of meltable soap. As it was my first attempt I wanted to start with something simple and natural to mix it with so I chose oatmeal and honey.

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I didn’t add any perfumes or colourants as I just wanted to make something wholesome and natural. I melted the soap base at first on a bain-marie which seemed to be taking ages so I resorted to the microwave which worked a lot like melting chocolate, short bursts with stirring  and the residual heat melts the last few lumps.

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I did find there was a little bit of vapour whilst it was heating which was probably the alcohol in the soap mix to help it melt. I tried not to breath it in and carried on. I mixed my oatmeal with honey and a bit of water and blended it, strained a couple of times and it was ready to mix with the melted soap base. If you are thinking of trying this yourself be warned the oatmeal mixture didn’t mix in easily, but after a few minutes stirring I put the mixture into a silicone loaf mould and left it to set. It’s probably best to leave it overnight but mine seemed set before I went to bed and I couldn’t resist chopping it up into soap-sized pieces.

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To be sure the colour is 70’s beige and all my oatmeal sunk to the bottom and it didn’t really smell of anything, but for a first attempt I was quite pleased. As it was just for home use and not for gifts or anything I wrapped the soaps up in clingfilm with fears of mould in the back of my mind.

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but I’m glad to say the soap, despite its natural ingredients has lasted really well and is quite lovely to use. I have a second tub of melt and pour soap and hope to make a scented soap next, again trying to keep it as natural as possible I’m thinking lavender!

Though my soap was a success the 70’s beige counteracted my blanket pics at the beginning so for another pop of colour I can proudly announce that I finally completed my Morrocan cushion, complete with pom pom border.

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It didn’t turn out as big as I expected but I do love the colours, not sure how long my pom poms will stay on for. I backed it with a bright colour to try to keep it vibrant and added the pom poms last.

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It felt good to get it finished and hopefully the completed projects will start coming thick and fast so I can share them with you next time. Cheerio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, well, well. That wasn’t much of a return was it? Six months have passed since my last post! Firstly I should mention that this was partly due to my lack of organisation, I am a massively cluttered person! mentally, environmentally and craftily. I have too many thoughts, ideas and plans that I can’t keep track of, and like most people this stresses me out to no end. I used to write lists, but then there was lists everywhere some with the same tasks some with impossible taks.So this year I decided to do something about it. I imagine most people get their inspiration these days reading other people’s blogs and I am no exception. I was merrily reading one of Lucy’s posts from attic24 and she happened to mention the Erin Condren Life Planner, what is this Life Planner? I asked myself, and why does it sound like the answer to all my organisational problems? simply because it is!! it mashes together the boredom of scheduling ones mental clutter with crafty goodness thereby making the structuring of your daily tasks and household drudgery a pleasure to do knowing you can tick off the objectives with a brightly coloured pen! Checking out the beautiful Erin Condren Life Planners was wonderful but I soon realised they were a little too costly for the likes of a thrifty Yorkshire lass like myself and my eyes wondered slowly over to my dressing table where a £10 voucher for House of Fraser had sat since Christmas. I then made it my mission to find a mid year planner in order to start my own version of the Erin Condren Planner. In fact, I spent more money on the stickers and washi tape than I did the actual planner. which is just a simple mid year 12 month diary. I had a couple of weeks left in june which I used as experimental weeks, and then started my full structured week at the beginning of this week. This is my current lay out . . .

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Life Planner

As you can see from the fuzzy picture my schedule as such doesn’t look too full, but I do work full-time and so most of my week is simply being at work. What I wanted to achieve with my planner is to make time and schedule those out of office things that I wanted to complete around my work life. So far it’s not going too bad. I’ve seen a significant increase in my motivation and in my productivity. My decorative skills are still in their early stages but just the simply joy of colour coordinating the page and using my pretty stickers is enough to keep my determination up. I was so overjoyed to have found a use for washi tape! I’m sure there are hundreds of uses for the stuff, but for me, this seemed right. So here’s a few pictures of my little stash I’ve managed to build, purely for planner purposes.

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I particularly like the carrots!

I also got some stickers . . .

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Plates with faces, for meal planning!

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Cute date night stickers.

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These are from the Esty store theickleblogger.

The lady at the ickle blogger sent me such a lovely note with the pizza stickers, saying how she’d love to see how I’m using them, so here’s a shout out to Zoe and her wonderful stickers. I haven’t had my takeaway night just yet but I can’t wait to use these sticker slices.

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Yoga (more about that later)

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There are many more but I figure I’ll run out of space before I get to the end. Suffice to say I’m big on the stickers! As for the Yoga, I may or may not have mentioned that I got a fitbit for Christmas. In 6 months I’ve lost about 10lbs, it’s not a great amount but I’m only 2lbs off my current target which isn’t bad. Feeling a lot better about my physical self, I wanted to improve on it. As a child I had severe scoliosis and had two major surgeries as an 11-year-old to correct it. Despite undergoing these surgeries I was still left with deformed ribs and this I feel has limited my movement causing stiffness and aches. So to try to improve upon this I thought about Yoga classes. With time preciously limited outside of work I’ve postponed the idea of classes and started a home routine, within two weeks I felt a difference. My back didn’t click every morning and the persistent ache in my lower back dissipated, my posture has improved and confidence. I encourage anyone who’s been thinking about yoga to go ahead and try it. I only wish I’d have known about its benefits as a child. Side by side with my basic yoga routine I’ve added a little meditation to my day. I tried it at the suggestion of one of my Buddhist friends and couldn’t quite concentrate, so I read up on it, (the internet really is a marvel!) and found something called Mala beads, prayer beads used in lots of different religions but all do the same thing, to help repeat and count mantras or prayers or anything one wants to concentrate on. So being a bit crafty I made my own . .

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Mala Beads

They were quite simple to make, there are 108 beads and a guru bead to time the meditation. I’ve found a reduction in anxiety and noticed a positivity in my moods. Altogether I take about 20 minutes to do a quick stretching bit of Yoga and a few minutes meditation in a morning and on an evening and it works wonders! My body and mind are now on track to be as healthy as ever and I was determined to get every other aspect of my life together too. Readers of the past may remember that in no way can I get green things to live, year after year of dried up flowers and crispy plants on the windowsill have been my shame. However the bf recently bought me a miniature bonsai kit, and knowing how many plants he’d bought me that I’d killed I was determined to raise a bonsai tree! and was happy to see out of 5 seeds I had not one shoot but two!

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Jack Pines

The second shoot is only just visible in this shot and I know they’re delicately small but you can’t imagine how pleased I am. They’re still indoors at the moment and I’m going to be very nervous about putting them outside when they’re ready but they’re doing so well I was recently considering growing a few herbs, so watch this space.

It’s all thanks to the planner though that I’ve kept these little ones alive. Coming full circle here’s a couple of the pages I’ve done in order to keep organised, hopefully if your thinking about doing your own life planner you might find them interesting.

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Keeping track of tasks.

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Monthly Budget, incoming and outgoing.

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Project lists (all in one place)

I even made myself some pom-pom paperclips, supercute don’t you think?

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Pom pom paperclips

The planner has allowed me and driven me to complete some tasks that I’ve had on the go for a while, I’ve nearly finished this Moroccan x-stitch cushion which I started many moons ago.

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Pattern from cross stitcher magazine.

It’s a bit further along than the picture now and not far off finished so hopefully in my next post I’ll have a completed project to show you. Til next time.x

 

 

 

Hey guys, just want to quickly apologise for my absence. We have over the past three weeks done a very fast and hectic house move which stressed us out no end. But finally were in and settled and I can resume my blogging. I’m happy to add that we now have a garden to enjoy and as the weather seems to be getting better I hope to get outdoors a bit more.

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I’ve even had a bit of time to finally get my cut-thru’s up on the wall.

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I think they look rather nice next to each other, so much so I couldn’t help but start my next one. Anyhow, hope to be clicking away on my little ipad typewriter a lot more now were connected, I’ve missed it terribly. Bye for now.x

Hi guys! It’s been a while since my last post but I just wanted to update you quickly about my Easter anticipation. I’ve done a little bits here and there these last few weeks but nothing substantial. However I hope to use the upcoming Easter break to indulge in my hobbies and hopefully finish a few things. Speaking of which I finally framed my haberdashers from the bothy threads cut-thru range by Amanda Loverseed. I’m quite pleased with the result.

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This was a joy to stitch and I just loved the dinky little beads and buttons to sew on.

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I’ve many more Amanda Loverseed patterns in my collection and I’ve already chosen the next one I’d like to start, the cut-thru narrowboat.

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A couple of other things I’ve been up to these last few weeks, I made another tea light holder but in a smaller jar and tied a new ribbon round, I like the way the glass shimmers with the candlelight. It may sound perculiar but I find the elements somewhat comforting, water, fire, wind, earth that kind of thing, a little bit of raw nature indoors.

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I’ve also been tinkering with a few ideas and I purchased these gorgeous stripey buttons from www.littlehoundalesknits.com a while ago and their stirring up all kinds of ides.

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I’ve also been doing some crochet with the Milla Mia I bought from Kath at little houndales but I’m not ready to show that yet as its a gift, but rest assured it will get a bit of airtime, I’m already quite proud of it. My crocheting also brought me across my lovely spun wood crochet hook which I just adore, I love it when tools can be practical and pretty.

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I was also persuaded (rather easily I must admit) by the bf to purchase these lovely ribbons which were quite a bargain, and such lovely colours and patterns, not quite sure what to do with them yet apart from adorn my new tea light holder but they are just nice to look at for now

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I also purchased what we thought were buttons at the time but were in fact split pins or brads (never heard the brad version but heyho) though not sewy goodies, they are pretty and were also quite cheap.

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I love the little bee, and though I don’t go in much for paper crafts these little beauties might encourage me to try my hand at something different.
If your a regular reader you’ll know that I’ve done some amateur twitching now and then and after the waxwings visited my back yard I couldn’t help but don my walking boots and scout out the local wild spots to see what other little beauties were hiding in the hedges. Me and the bf took our usual route one weekend down the little grove where the big trees grow (I actually got a picture this time)

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I still haven’t found out what this little grove used to be or in fact is, but I’ll endeavour to learn more. So while we were strolling, (through the mud, as it happens) we did in fact see some goldfinches. I was quite enthusiastic about getting a photo but the little mites were just too quick for me that day. Along another hedge I saw a Bluetit, (one of my favourite species), and many many sparrows. Some of you might be thinking that sparrows are quite boring compared with other species. They are just a dull brown and grey colour granted but I recently learnt that sparrows are in decline here in the U.K. This saddened me greatly. As a child there was no shortage of tiny grey and brown sparrows zooming in and out of our garden, it seemed like nothing else lived around our gardens than these delightful little birds. So the common garden sparrow has quite a special place in my heart.

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My camera got a great shot and ill endeavour to bring you some images of the goldfinches, now I know where they live. So after our very muddy cold walk, we washed our boots in a puddle and giggled as we realised there was a car waiting for us to get out the lane, then headed home. Another satisfying stroll in the very brisk air.

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I’ve a few days off for Easter and have every intention of filling them with wonderful crafty and outdoorsy things to share with you, as we tuck into our Easter eggs. Bye for now. P.s. how do you like the new title banner? 🙂

Hi guys, this past two weeks have just flown by and I’ve had little time to concentrate on anything crafty, however I’ve put a few pics together. I’ve been thinking about my trip to Sherwood and remembered something I made a while ago that reminded me of my visit.

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I made this ages ago but was totally surprised how it reminded me of the Eagle Owl at Sherwood Forest. Although this little character is fun and fuzzy in his own delightful way, he is very practical, apart from his felt feathers which feel lovely . . .

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. . .he is in fact a pin cushion and needle case, he flips down and has storage in his moon for pins and needles.

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This got me rummaging around in my piles of felt for other fuzzy flying felts I made and I found a long lost fuzzy. . .

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This little fella is not quite finished, and rather than becoming a needle case he is purely decorative, he was of course going to be hanging on my Xmas tree at the festive time of year until I put him down somewhere and forgot he even existed! He has the same little feathers as Mr.Owl but obviously with a red breast instead.

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I also thought you should see a little piece of memorabilia that I picked up at Sherwood; as I mentioned I fell in love with the little blue tits and couldn’t resist this lovely little china mug.

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I think it’s quite obvious what my next flying fuzzy is going to be.
On a similar note, as well as Mr.Owl, I thought I’d show you something else that I have actually completed, or rather should I say, some-one . . .

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. . .allow me to introduce Minnie! She was the first knitted doll I ever made and I needed a lot of guidance and tutoring to make her, but the end result made me ever more confident with myself and what I could achieve, she even had her own personal jewellery made for her.

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I could have cut the loops in her hair to make it long, but I kind of liked the retro curls the loops gave, even if it does remind me slightly of Sigourney Weavers hair in aliens.
Speaking of aliens, we have recently seen a ten ton asteroid hit the earth, something I think I should mention seen as it is unlikely to happen again in our lifetime. A truly unworldly sight as ever we saw, however the beautiful sunshine we’ve had the last two weekends had left me wanting more, and I couldn’t help but take a few snaps at the beautiful sky right outside my window.

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Everything seems better when bathed in a soft afternoon sunlight, and I love the way it illuminates my windowsill plants.

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One of my sisters works at a very large flower company and she brought me these lovely hyacinths which have simply shot up over the past week, here they were snuggled in their long leaves and now their just cresting the top stems.

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There’s not much colour on them yet but they almost have a tinge of blue to them, I can’t wait til they open fully.
As I previously mentioned in one of my posts, I aim to give cross stitch the attention it deserves and have taken some pics of things I’ve finished and have yet to finish. Firstly a pin cushion (I think it must have been a phase, I seem to make a lot of them) a distinctly Victorian pattern I think, from a book which I can’t quite remember the name of, but it was originally a design for a fabric Xmas cracker. . .(not entirely sure how that works?!?!)

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I had to adapt the pattern slightly at the edges to continue the stripes and I backed it with a yellowy golden felt which went perfectly with the yellow roses.

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I also recently finished a Bothy Threads kit in the Cut-Thru series by Amanda Loverseed, the Cut-Thru Haberdashers.

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It was a joy to stitch as are all of the Cut-Thru series, not only are they quirky but bright fun and colourful, needless to say I have many in my collection awaiting my needle. The first I ever completed was the Cut-Thru pirate ship, which sits in a frame which will one day be on a wall with all my other completed Cut-Thru’s.

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Unquestionably I failed to iron it before I framed it, this I will remedy when I get a frame for the haberdashers. And now I must tell you of my Cross-Stitching guilty pleasure, I am totally addicted to a website called Heaven and Earth Designs, I’d put in a link but I’m still not sure how to do it (for now you’ll just have to google it 🙂 ). I was looking for a place that had complex cross stitch patterns as I soon got used to the simple patterns supplied by magazines and bookmark kits, even the Cut-Thru series got easy. I’m not quite sure how I came across it but I know there are adverts in the back of Cross-Stitcher Magazine. I must admit, many of the fairy pictures, cat pictures and all the cutsie children and bunnies are not to my taste but the wonderful people at Heaven and Earth also transform many different paintings from many skilled artists into Cross-Stitch charts. So my first purchase was . . .

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The Astronomer by Myles Pinkney, possibly one of the most difficult charts I could have chosen. For those stitchers out there, this pattern is worked on 25 count (in laymans terms, absolutley tiny stitches!) and there are 120 colours. It’s a big job and I’m . . .

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. . . this far in. As you can see though the resolution at the end of it will be spectacular!
The reason why Heaven and Earth is my guilty pleasure is thus, I’ve already bought at least 4 more charts of this size. . . oops.

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It’s a good thing I’m so organised when it comes to bobbins. This is just one of the two boxes of bobbins for The Astronomer chart.

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Despite doing a few stitches today, night soon drew upon us and it was time to sit a bit in my rocking chair and admire the crescent glow of the moon . . . which was still there. . . Thankfully.

ayarnyrobin

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