#41 I do believe in fairies

You may have noticed a recurring theme in my last couple of posts: Christmas.

Now, I love the combination of cross stitch and Christmas as much as the next gal, but there’s a reason for me starting my projects a little early this year – aside from the gift of time, that is.

This year I plan on making as many cross-stitched Christmas cards as I can – fifty being my goal – and selling them for charity.

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In my short 25 years living on this planet I’ve lost too many people I love and adore to a horrible, crippling, heartbreaking disease – Cancer.

I’ve seen the best of the best battle with all the weapons and will they can muster and sadly still it not being enough.

I’ve seen 51-year-old mothers lose out on seeing their young sons get married and have children, grandmothers miss out on witnessing their grandchildren’s milestone moments, grandfathers failing to see what legacy they’ve left behind in their handy, gardening-loving grandsons and granddaughters pine for the grandpas they will never meet.

But rather than think of all the bad, I want to do good, which is why I’ve pledged to use my hobby to give back to the causes fighting hard to prevent others going through the same loss that I, and so many others have, this Christmas.

And so I’ve set myself a target, started buying my patterns and magazines in the hope of finding the Christmas characters who’ll help me in my quest, organised embellishments and ribbons, all in enough time to do all my – and everybody else’s – angels proud.

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I’ll be documenting my journey along the way with positive posts detailing the cards I’ve made and the cross stitches I’ve created.

Perhaps, if you’re in the mood to make your own cards this year, too, take what left over stitches you have and spread a little Christmas joy, too. Let’s help give more families the gift of life.

Eight stitches down, 42 to go…

J x

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#39 Just another reason why I love cross stitch…

…It’s the beginning of September and already my mind is swimming with Christmas.

Cards, decorations, presents, gift tags – you name it, I want to stitch it.

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So thanks, Cross Stitch, for bringing me another source of joy in this world.

Stage one: stitch 50 miniature designs.

Stage two: use left-over creativity to put together 50 original cards.

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More on this project to follow in due course…

J x

#37 She sells seashells…

Delicious cotton colours, a variety of stitches & knots and a cross stitch pattern that’s just the right level of complicated, can you think of a better way to spend a leisurely Friday morning.

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Aren’t the colours magic?

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J x

#36 Channelling my inner Bree Van Der Kamp*

Anyone who really knows me knows that I have few passions in my life, but passions they are.

Cross stitching, of course, is one of them. Baking is another.

With that in mind it may shock you to hear I don’t actually eat deserts. I just love the precision and decorating that comes with the territory.

Lucky for me I have a willing tester for all my creations, Mr XStitch.

On today’s menu is homemade spaghetti bolognese and fresh orange flapjack slices.

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A perfect Friday morning in the kitchen as I come down from my latest cross stitch completion high.

Wisteria Lane here I come.*

J x

*reference to Desperate Housewives, the TV programme.

#35 Beads & embellishments

Stitched, sewn and embellished, my wise owl is all done.

I decided to sew little beads onto his belly, scarf and wing for a little extra ‘bling’ and even a line of beads down the side of the pocket itself to change the shape of the outline to fit better.

A top tip for anyone working on a similar project: use the stitching on the back of the canvas from the cross stitch design to hem the material. It’s secure and neat, and  will allow for hemming while avoiding any unsightly stitching showing on the front of the design.

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All he’s missing is a name.

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Does anyone have any suggestions?

J x

#34 What a hoot

From being as little as I can remember, I’ve loved a freebie.

I’m talking rooting to the bottom of a freshly opened box of cereal or eating crisp flavours I didn’t even like, just to be in with a chance of winning a prize. I even used to choose comics I wasn’t remotely interested in just because there was a free gift winking seductively at me through the cellophane.

Fast forward 20-something years and why should I be any different?

Cross stitching is, after all, my greatest hobby, I actually enjoy reading my cross stitch magazines and, the cherry on the cake: they all come with a freebie. JACKPOT!

For my personal taste and pattern preference, I find Crosstitcher to have the best monthly gifts, and I thought I’d share the current mini WIP I’m working on at the moment.

A wise owl scissor case and keeper set.

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I particularly love the design and colours. It’s bold, bright and fun. I also like that you’re left to do some of the difficult stuff for yourself, namely the cutting and hemming the aida. You’re also expected to back the pattern with the felt provided too.

imageThough I’ve not got that far yet, I’m hoping to have a little fun with mine and dig some of the many embellishments I’ve got tucked away in my craft cave.

My advice to anyone unsure of starting a mini-craft project such as this: make it your own – that way you can’t ever go wrong and it’s a piece that’s personable to you and one of a kind.

Give this one a go – it’s a hoot!

J x

#33 My Everest Part V: The Summit

I did it.

I finally did it.

Yes, I might have been shattered and broken, I might have had to pull a cross stitch all-nighter – well, up until 2am, up again at 6am – not to mention stitching the full five-hour car journey on the way just to make sure I did it – but that’s not the point.

The point is, I did it.

Perfect Penelope Rose has her Tiny Tatty afghan blanket and I could not be happier to have presented it to her.

And here it is – tassels and all.

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For those of you who have followed my journey you’ll know that this has not been the easiest project I’ve ever undertaken. It’s been challenging, draining and down-right nerve-wracking at times.

As I started to pull away at the afghan material to make the tassels I had my heart in my mouth *what if I’ve put all these hours in and I mess it up now* but it went better than expected (finger blisters and rope burns aside).

It sounds like I don’t have anything positive to say about this blanket, but in actuality I’m lost without it.

Mummy, Daddy and Penelope were all delighted with it, which of course, is all that matters, but I have to say I’m really going to miss looking down at those little bears, pastel shades and the excitement I got every time I got to French knot those little eyes onto the faces of each bear – bringing them to life.

Though I won’t be rushing into another blanket anytime soon, it was a real pleasure to make something I know my friend will keep forever and I can tell Penelope about one day when she’s old enough to understand.

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I feel like a better cross stitcher for it too, knowing I not only have the skill to complete such a large project, but the confidence and determination to start it and, more importantly, see it through to the end no matter how steep the incline.

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So, thanks P, for being a part of my life tapestry.

My empty tension hoop won’t be empty for long as I’ve already hit the craft barns and cross stitch magazines in earnest looking for my next projects.

That can only mean one thing: watch out world, the blogger is back.

J x